Corporate Communications (Feb 15-16)

Internal and external communication professionals in the utility industry face a variety of challenges in supporting their organizations’ strategic plans, particularly as the utility workforce undergoes significant transformation, communication channels multiply, and utilities face increasing competition. This semiannual forum provides a unique, collaborative space for leaders in corporate communications to discuss these challenges and communications best practices. Recent topics of discussion include executive communications strategy, communicating with employees in the field, stakeholder engagement, crisis communication and communicating strategic plans.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Joe Salkowski, Director of Corporate Communications and Community Relations, Tucson Electric Power/UniSource Energy Services/UNS Energy

    • Program Location
    • Tucson Electric Power Headquarters
    • 88 E. Broadway Blvd
      Tucson, Arizona 85701
    • Who Should Attend
    • Energy company corporate communications senior leadership, including directors and managers.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $349 USD

    Registration price increases $50 after January 30, 2018. Registration includes a networking dinner, catered breakfast, lunch and light snacks at the meeting, and all meeting materials. Guest tickets are available for $80 and allows a personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event. Guest registration includes all meals and receptions, and all program materials.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations, cancellations received 15 business days prior to the program will receive a full refund. Cancellations received 6 to 14 business days prior to the event will receive a refund, less a $100 administrative fee. No shows and last minute cancellations, 5 business days prior to the event or less, will be responsible for the full registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the same event are always welcome.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public.
  • For more information contact Joshua Baker, Program Manager at (971) 255-4970.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Welcome and Opening Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Joe Salkowski, Director, Corporate Communications & Community Relations, TEP

TEP will provide a welcome followed by attendee introductions. Attendees are encouraged to share their name, company overview, general role within the organization and a recent win or current challenge.

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Networking Break

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Internal Safety Communications
Speaker(s): Erica Erland, Corporate Communications Manager, Clark Public Utilities, Jenn Hartman, Manager, Employee Communications, BC Hydro

Ensuring employees remain in-the-know plays a vital role in any industry, but can prove especially important in utility work where communications carry critical information on new and/or updated procedures and protocols. In the age of information overload, how do you cut through all the noise and provide critical safety communications? In this session, utilities will share their “ideas to steal” and lessons learned that they have uncovered as they work to keep safety communications content engaging and effective.

3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Networking Break

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Project Communications
Speaker(s): Lynette Standley, Manager, Corporate Communications, Idaho Power Company, Jenny Levesque, Community Outreach Manager, Seattle City Light

Engaging the right audience for all projects is key to creating and maintaining good relationships with your customers. With the variety of approaches and tools available, we will dive into two utilities’ strategies. First, we will explore how Seattle City Light is utilizing the neighborhood-based social networking service, Nextdoor, to communicate with specific neighborhoods on planned outages and scheduled work. Afterwards, will turn our attention to Idaho Power. The public participation process often begins well in advance of a project. But Idaho Power’s process backs it up years in advance in a coordinated effort between Planning, Projects and Corporate Communications. Idaho Power will share how they have found success in collaborating with community advisory committees. The CAC members help develop long-term electrical plans that include specific projects for their communities. And they can be called upon subsequently to help with public participation and advocate for those projects.

5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

WEI Hosted Networking Dinner

Charro Steak
188 E Broadway Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85701

Friday, February 16, 2018

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Networking Breakfast

Continental breakfast will be provided onsite at TEP.

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Corporate Social Responsibility
Speaker(s): Cory Beck, Sr. Manager, Communications & Digital Strategy, NW Natural, Mike Stephens, Manager, Corporate & Internet Communications, Salt River Project

Crafting messages that work across a variety of service territories and tailored for different customers can be tricky, particularly when it comes to communicating carbon reduction goals, sustainability issues, and other corporate social responsibility initiatives. In this session, Salt River Project will provide context for their 2035 Sustainability Goals, sharing clips from customer focus groups that were used to develop messaging. Additionally, NW Natural will present on their recently launched low-carbon pathway ad campaign, Less We Can. The session will wrap up with a conversation around your own utility’s carbon reduction goals and corporate social responsibility communication strategies and messaging. Be prepared to share what you are doing or ask questions to the group.

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Networking Break

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Internal Employee Engagement
Speaker(s): Bill Marks, Manager, Employee Communications, Arizona Public Service Company, Joel Scruggs, Supervisory Public Affairs Specialist, Bonneville Power Administration

What new tools and strategies are being used to increase employee engagement, particularly with a distributed workforce? In the session hear from utilities on their initiatives to launch mobile apps and develop executive communication strategies.

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Hot Topic Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Joe Salkowski, Director, Corporate Communications & Community Relations, TEP

Attendees will have a chance to ask questions directly to their peers for feedback.

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Lunch and Planning for Next Steps

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • The WEI room block for the AC Hotel Tuscon is now full; however, the hotel currently has a few rooms still available outside of the room block.  There are also additional hotels within a 10-15 minute drive of the TEP meeting location, including Tucson University Park Hotel and Aloft Tucson University, among others.

Meet The Speakers

Cory Beck

NW Natural

Sr. Manager, Communications & Digital Strategy

Mike Stephens

Salt River Project

Manager, Corporate & Internet Communications

Lynette Standley

Idaho Power Company

Manager, Corporate Communications

Joe Salkowski


Director, Corporate Communications & Community Relations

Bill Marks

Arizona Public Service Company

Manager, Employee Communications

Joel Scruggs

Bonneville Power Administration

Supervisory Public Affairs Specialist

Erica Erland

Clark Public Utilities

Corporate Communications Manager

Jenny Levesque

Seattle City Light

Community Outreach Manager

Jenn Hartman

BC Hydro

Manager, Employee Communications