Corporate Communications (Feb 16-17)

This program provides senior leadership from the Communications function with an exceptional opportunity to build relationships with energy company peers and discuss the most effective communication methods needed to support their organizations’ strategic plans.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Bill Shawver, Director, Corporate Communications at Idaho Power

    • Program Location
    • Hotel Monaco
    • 506 S.W. Washington StreetPortland, OR 97204
    • Who Should Attend
    • Energy company senior leadership within the Corporate Communications function.  At most small and medium-sized utilities these will be Directors and Managers.  Large utilities may have executive positions.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $349 USD

    This ticket allows you access to all Corporate Communications agenda items. Registration includes a networking dinner, catered breakfast, lunch and light snacks at the meeting, and all meeting 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 Kevin Sullivan, Director of Member Engagement at (971) 255-4973.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Welcome and Introductions
Speaker(s): Bill Shawver, Director, Corporate Communications, Idaho Power Company

A welcome to the first Corporate Communications program followed by introductions. Attendees are encouraged to share their name, company overview, and general role within the organization as well as any successes and challenges that they are experiencing within their company.

1:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Bringing the Vision, Values and Strategic Priorities to Life for Employees
Speaker(s): Cynthia Dyson, Director of Marketing, Communications and Brand Strategy, BC Hydro

Corporate vision, value and priorities are an important part of an organizations strategy. But let’s admit it – a little on the boring side as a topic to communicate. How do you bring these important foundational pieces to life for your employees? BC Hydro undertook a communications planning process in 2015 to do just this: launching a plan to share our vision, values and objectives and more importantly, devising a plan to keep them alive in our communications monthly, and annually. Be ready to participate and share your own stories with the group.

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Networking Break

2:45 PM - 2:45 PM

Executive Communication Strategy
Speaker(s): Julie Dixon, Senior Manager, Employee Communications, FortisBC, Claudia Rapkoch, Director, Corporate Communications, NorthWestern Energy

Learn from FortisBC on their new strategy to supplement leaders’ ability to connect with employees in a consistent way with consistent messages on the company’s business priorities and results. Then we hear from NorthWestern Energy on an executive communications approach that has improved safety culture.

3:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Communicating with Employees in the Field
Moderator(s): Erica Erland, Corporate Communications Manager, Clark Public Utilities
Panelist(s): Mike Stephens, Manager, Corporate and Internet Communications, Salt River Project, Heather Allmain, Communication Services Manager, Clark Public Utilities, Karla Wingate, Manager, Internal and External Communications, ENMAX Corporation

Hear from ENMAX and Clark PUD on their new intranet projects. Then learn from Salt River Project on a new digital signage effort. The session will include a moderated panel discussion and participation from the group on other ways to communicate with employees in the field.

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

WEI Hosted Networking Dinner

Friday, February 17, 2017

7:30 AM - 7:30 AM

Hosted Breakfast

8:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Communications Made Clear for Everyone
Speaker(s): Patrick Buckley, Vice President, maslansky + partners

Attendees will hear from Patrick Buckley, an Executive with Maslansky + Partners. Maslansky is a leading communications firm and the company responsible for helping with the Lexicon Project, an effort in the energy industry to use language that customers will understand.

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Networking Break

9:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Stakeholder Engagement
Speaker(s): Suzanne Hartman, Communications Manager, Chelan County PUD, Chris Sandve, Director, Policy and Corporate Relations, BC Hydro

Hear from Chelan County PUD about their new strategic planning initiative as well as BC Hydro on their “seed” initiative; a plan to revitalize the downtown core of Vancouver while at the same time upgrading their system.

11:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Hot Topic Roundtable

Attendees will have a chance to ask questions directly to their peers for feedback. Topics so far include: Mutual aid network for communications professionals, social media presence, electric vehicles, grid modernization, lessons learned from high profile crisis, new sites in cities.

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch and Planning for Next Steps

Hotel + Travel

  • Hotel Monaco
  • 506 S.W. Washington Street
  • Portland, Oregon 97204
  • Phone: 800-711-2971

  • Click here to make your reservation now.
  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 711-2971 to reserve your room, or complete your reservation online. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $169/night. This rate is guaranteed until January 9, 2017 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Suzanne Hartman

Chelan County PUD

Communications Manager

Chris Sandve

BC Hydro

Director, Policy and Corporate Relations

Heather Allmain

Clark Public Utilities

Communication Services Manager
Learn More

Heather Allmain has led community outreach and employee communications efforts at Clark Public Utilities for more than 18 years. As the Senior Communications Manager, her top priority is to ensure employees are connected to each other in their work and invested in the communities we serve.

As a public utility with customer service at its core, Clark Public Utilities has a long history of employee and community engagement efforts. For example, Heather annually produces a full-scale Home and Garden trade show staffed throughout the weekend by hundreds of employee-volunteers. The Home & Garden Idea Fair will mark its 25th anniversary next year and attracts more than 20,000 customers who attend as an annual tradition. She also manages all internal communication including a weekly employee and retiree newsletter, the utility intranet, and ongoing employee and retiree engagement initiatives.

Heather attended the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon and received a B.S. in journalism and photojournalism during the days of floppy disks and darkrooms.

Mike Stephens

Salt River Project

Manager, Corporate and Internet Communications

Karla Wingate

ENMAX Corporation

Manager, Internal and External Communications

Erica Erland

Clark Public Utilities

Corporate Communications Manager

Cyntha Dyson

BC Hydro

Director of Marketing, Communications and Brand Strategy

Julie Dixon


Senior Manager, Employee Communications
Learn More

Julie is a strategist, a big-picture thinker and a creative mind. At FortisBC she leads the Employee Communications and Talent Development teams to deliver on the business’ communications, engagement and talent development needs. As a former athlete and swim coach, Julie’s passion to build strong teams begins with collaboration and team work.

Claudia Rapkoch

NorthWestern Energy

Director, Corporate Communications
Learn More

Claudia Rapkoch is the Director of Corporate Communications for NorthWestern Energy, an electric and natural gas transmission and distribution utility serving more than 650,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. In addition to all internal and external communication activities, she’s also responsible for community relations, corporate philanthropy and stakeholder engagement programs. Her marketing, advertising and public relations campaigns have received regional and national recognition.

Claudia grew up in Colorado and obtained a B.A. in Journalism from Colorado State University. After a brief stint as a reporter and television producer, she joined the “corporate world” in 1995 and subsequently obtained an M.B.A. from the University of Montana and accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). When not doing fun things outside, she’s hard at work in her office in Butte, Montana or traveling back and forth to her “other” office in Sioux Falls, S.D. She and her husband are the proud parents of a young son and share their home with a basset hound and a black cat.

Patrick Buckley

maslansky + partners

Vice President