Corporate Communications (Feb 20-22)

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, crisis communication, branding for employee recruitment and onboarding, environmental stewardship communications, and resource mix communication strategies.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Morgan Van Fleet, Clark Public Utilities

    • Program Location
    • Clark Public Utilities
    • 1200 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Washington 98663
    • Who Should Attend
    • Energy company corporate communications senior leadership, including directors and managers.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $499 USD

    Registration price increases $100 after February 6, 2024. Registration includes digital materials and access to all event sessions and meals listed on the agenda. Guest tickets are available for $100 and allow for 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.

  • 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. Recording is not permitted for any portion of the event.
  • For more information contact Cassie Leone, Program Manager at 9713031395.


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Networking Happy Hour

Join us for a no-host happy hour to catch up with your peers.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Registration + Networking

Arrive early to register and network with peers. Please note, breakfast is on your own.

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Welcome + Introductions

The Program Chair will welcome the group and kickoff roundtable introductions. Come prepared to share a recent success story and the biggest challenges you and your team are facing right now.

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Idaho Power Brand Refresh: Process, Challenges, and Lessons Learned
Speaker(s): Melissa Thom, Marketing Leader, Idaho Power Company

Learn about Idaho Power’s Brand Refresh Process- their challenges, successes, and lessons learned as they implemented their branding changes both internally and externally.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Networking Lunch

A catered lunch will be provided onsite.

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Travel to Tour Site

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Clark Public Utilities Education Engagement Initiative

Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders- Exploring Energy Science, Utility Careers, Environmental Engagement, and Safety Education for students in Clark County Washington

2:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Tour of Clark Public Utilities Education Engagement Center

Tour Clark Public Utilities Education Engagement Center.

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Travel Back to Clark Public Utilities or Hotel

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Hosted Networking Dinner

Join us for a WEI hosted networking dinner in downtown Vancouver. 

Twigs Bistro
801 Waterfront Way
Suite 103
Vancouver, WA 98660

Thursday, February 22, 2024

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Networking Breakfast

A catered breakfast will be provided onsite.

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

DEI and Bill Discount Programs
Speaker(s): Traci Trace, DEI Facilitator, NW Natural

Learn about NW Natural’s successes in developing and launching their bill discount programs with a focus on DEI. 

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Networking Break

9:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Field Staff Engagement and Communications Panel Discussion
Facilitator(s): Rebekah Anderson, Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing, Tacoma Public Utilities
Panelist(s): Heather Allmain, Sr. Manager of Communications, Clark Public Utilities, Robyn Smith, Communications Specialist III, Eugene Water & Electric Board, Dave Santen, Corporate Communications, NW Natural

Join our panelists to hear what utilities are doing to engage field staff in internal and external communications. What has worked and what hasn't? Time will be left at the end for open discussion, so bring your questions, success, and challenges to share!

11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Open Roundtable Discussion

This time is designated for an open roundtable discussion on top-of-mind issues. Topics will be guided based on the current challenges shared during introductions.

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM

Networking Lunch

A catered lunch will be provided onsite.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (360) 993-4500 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) to receive a special rate of $212 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until February 6, 2024 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Traci Trace

NW Natural

DEI Facilitator

Melissa Thom

Idaho Power Company

Marketing Leader

Heather Allmain

Clark Public Utilities

Sr. Manager of Communications

Robyn Smith

Eugene Water & Electric Board

Communications Specialist III

Dave Santen

NW Natural

Corporate Communications
Learn More

Dave Santen is a public information specialist at NW Natural, a natural gas utility headquartered in Portland, Oregon. As a member of the corporate communications team, he tracks key issues facing the company and industry and provides support for initiatives such as the Low Carbon Pathway and the company’s emerging water utility business. Dave’s background includes public relations, copywriting and journalism in the fields of energy, infrastructure, higher education and sustainability. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Portland State University.
Fun fact: Santen is co-author with Tom Liptan of Sustainable Stormwater Management: A Landscape-Driven Approach to Planning and Design (Timber Press, 2017).

Rebekah Anderson

Tacoma Public Utilities

Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing