Join over 250 energy professionals to discuss the latest industry trends and best practices in corporate and customer services. The diverse mix of presentations, Q&A panels, roundtable discussions and networking allow attendees to share their experiences and develop contacts throughout the industry. Expect to gain applicable insights on a variety of topics including customer experience; human resources; emerging technology, products and services; community engagement, data and cybersecurity. This program is an excellent professional development and organizational team-building opportunity. Vendors encouraged to display.
John Thurmond, Director, Customer Interaction, NorthWestern Energy
Jason Cameron, Manager, Sacramento Power Academy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Loews Hollywood Hotel
1755 N Highland Ave
Hollywood, California 90028
Who Should Attend
• Corporate and customer service senior management
• Customer experience and channel managers
• Service center managers
• Customer program managers
• Community outreach and public relations professionals
• Human resources professionals
• IT and technology professionals
• Cybersecurity experts
• Data analysts
• Service company providers
Conference Registration Member: $799 USD (speakers and delegates)
Conference Registration Regular: $1,749 USD
Prices for the conference registration increases $150 after February 22, 2019. Registration includes full conference access and materials. Guest tickets are available for $125 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, 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.
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.
11:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Optional Networking Activities
Hollywood Walking Food Tour: 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Hollywood Sign E-Bike Cruise: 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM
See Networking tab for more details and sign-up to attend during registration.
3:30 PM – 4:45 PM
Name Badge Pick-up
For guests who wish to pick up their name badges prior to the Welcome + Keynote session, we provide early registration check-in. After 5:00 PM, name badges will be available at the Welcome Reception at the Pool Terrace.
Lanyards sponsored by:
Conference WiFi access sponsored by:
3:30 PM – 4:15 PM
First-Time Attendee Meetup
If this is your first time attending a WEI event show up early to meet experienced WEI veterans and fellow first timers.
4:30 PM – 4:35 PM
4:35 PM – 5:30 PM
Positively Resilient: Strengthening the Essential Skills to Rebound, Recover & Thrive
Speaker: Buck Davis, CEO & Founder, Buck Davis & Company
Session Description: If there is one thing we can be certain of, it’s that change is constant—and inevitable. Yet whether it’s perceived as positive or negative, minor or monumental, change can be difficult on individuals and teams. The ability to overcome adversity, push through setbacks and adapt to new challenges on the job is essential. To do so in a confident way, can be life-changing. Buck Davis draws from evidence-based research on positive emotions and resiliency while sharing his own insights as to how to remain centered, retain perspective and practice self-compassion, even when anxiety, burnout, cynicism, self-doubt and exhaustion threaten to turn motivation on its ear.
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Registration + Breakfast
Breakfast sponsored by:
8:00 AM – 8:45 AM
Seeing the Unseen
Speaker: Dan Goods, Visual Strategist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
There are many things in the universe that exist, but cannot be seen with human eyes. This applies to the physical world as well as it does to politics, your business or your personal future. These thoughts have made an impact on Dan Goods life and work. Dan will share his remarkable artwork that brings you closer to an invisible world you never knew, while at the same time sharing his personal story of creating a career that did not formerly exist. With humor and grace, Dan distills complex and weighty concepts into stories that can be universally understood. Through his presentation, you will see that sometimes new technology is needed to see the invisible, but sometimes you just need a new perspective.
8:45 AM – 9:15 AM
Break with Vendors Displays
Pick up a scavenger hunt card and complete to win prizes at the evening reception.
9:15 AM – 10:30 AM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 1
Business Value – What Do I Do with My Data Scientists?
Community + Customer Engagement – Real Solutions for the Low Income Segment
Creating a Customer-Centered Workforce – Raising the Volume of the Customer’s Voice
Customer Insights – Facing the Storm with Improved Outage Communications
Data – Agile Data Strategy in an Age of Transformation
Delivering Customer Service Excellence – Unlocking the Value of AMI for Customers
Emerging Products + Services – Laying the Path for Decarbonization
Our People – Reflecting Diversity & Inclusion in Our Workforce
Technology + Innovation – De-“mist”-ifying the Cloud: Five Major Cloud Myths Debunked
10:30 AM – 10:45 AM
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 2
Business Value – Innovation Incubation
Community + Customer Engagement – Evolution of Prepay: Providing Customers More Control and Choice
Creating a Customer-Centered Workforce – From Analytics to Supervision: A Multi-Level Approach to Coaching
Customer Insights – “Get to Zero” – PSE’s Journey to drive CSAT & Self-Service through the Digital Channels
Data – Data Architecture for Non-Architects
Delivering Customer Service Excellence – Increasing Employee Recognition to Enhance Customer Experience
Emerging Products + Services – What Smart Cities means to the Community and Utilities
Our People – Ready or Not: Developing your Employees for What’s Ahead
Technology + Innovation – Scaling the Agile Wall: Opportunities and Challenges for Utilities Adopting Agile Practices
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
PDT Recognition and Vendor Showcase
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 3
Business Value – Strategies for Revenue Growth – Value that Builds Growth
Community + Customer Engagement – Can Renewables Save the World? Communicating Complex Green Energy Initiatives
Creating a Customer-Centered Workforce – Elevating the Customer Experience Through Service Excellence
Customer Insights – Community Choice Aggregation 101
Data – The Journey to Data Governance
Delivering Customer Service Excellence – Positively Impacting Customer Experience with Innovative Call Center Performance Management
Emerging Products + Services – The New Normal – Utility’s Role in Emergency Management & Building Resiliency
Our People – Imagine More: Optimizing your Employee Value Proposition
Technology + Innovation – Robotics and AI: The Next Generation of Labor
2:45 PM – 3:15 PM
Break with Vendor Displays
3:15 PM – 4:30 PM
Utility Executive Panel
Moderator: David Wright, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
Panelist: Gillian Wright, Chief HR & Administrative Officer, Southern California Gas Company
Chris Thompson, Vice President, Local Public Affairs, Southern California Edison
Gary King, Chief Workforce Officer, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Come listen to a dynamic panel of utility Executives up on the main stage as they address this year’s theme of “Imagine More. Energizing the Future”. Learn the challenges and opportunities they face with the changing landscape in the energy industry as they share their vision for the utility of the future. Take the opportunity to interact by asking your own questions.
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 4
Business Value – Budget and Planning: More than Numbers
Community + Customer Engagement – A Collaborative Approach to New Products, Services, and Customer’s Strategic Objectives
Creating a Customer-Centered Workforce – Turn the Ship Around: Empowering Employees with Metrics
Customer Insights – Back to the Future with AMI
Data – Back to the Future with AMI
Delivering Customer Service Excellence – Driving First Call Resolution Through CSR Empowerment: Evolving From Vision to Execution
Emerging Products + Services – A Collaborative Approach to New Products, Services, and Customer’s Strategic Objectives
Our People – Utilities’ Next Top Talent: Technology Changing the Workspace
Technology + Innovation – Utilities’ Next Top Talent: Technology Changing the Workspace
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
9:15 AM – 10:15 AM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session 5
Business Value – The Value of Innovation
Community + Customer Engagement – How Customer Engagement Leads to Loyalty and Why It Matters
Creating a Customer-Centered Workforce – Future Ready: Preparing for the Customer and Work of Tomorrow
Customer Insights – How Customer Engagement Leads to Loyalty and Why It Matters
Data – What Story is your Data Telling?
Delivering Customer Service Excellence – Delivering on the Promise of Channel of Choice: The Good, The Bad, + The Ugly
Emerging Products + Services – Delivering on the Promise of Channel of Choice: The Good, The Bad, + The Ugly
Our People – Future Ready: Preparing for the Customer and Work of Tomorrow
Technology + Innovation – The Value of Innovation
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM
10:30 AM – 11:10 AM
Understanding Unconscious Bias
Speaker: Victoria Person, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Southern California Gas Company
Unconscious bias (or implicit bias) may influence decisions in recruitment, staff development and employee recognition. They also affect a utility’s relationship with customers and stakeholders. In this session we will explore what unconscious bias is and strategies to overcome them.
11:10 AM – 11:15 AM
Save the date for next year’s Symposium in Portland, Oregon: March 9-11, 2020
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM
2019 Wrap Up Meeting
Open to all Symposium participants who are interested in joining the leadership teams or just want to provide your feedback, you’re invited to participate in the wrap-up as we set the stage for 2020. PDT encouraged to attend.
Loews Hollywood Hotel
1755 N Highland Ave
Hollywood, California 90028
Please contact the hotel directly at (855) 563-9749 to reserve your room, or complete your reservation online. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) to receive a special rate of $239 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until February 22, 2019 or until the WEI room block is full.
All networking events are scheduled for Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
Hollywood Walking Food Tour
11:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Registration Fee: Free
We will explore the Walk of Fame and hear fascinating stories about Hollywood -past and present- while enjoying diverse comfort food from local restaurants. This tour is not well-suited for a vegan or gluten-free diet, though we may be able to accommodate other dietary restrictions.
WEI reserves the right to cancel networking tours if a minimum number of participants is not met.
Hollywood Sign E-Bike Cruise
11:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Registration Fee: Free
There is maybe no landmark more recognizable than the Hollywood sign. Join us on a guided e-bike ride through the Hollywood Hills to see the iconic sign and to discover what lies above it. The winding route up to the Hollywood sign is full of gorgeous and eccentric architecture, and you’ll get the inside scoop on the celebrity homes we pass. We’ll stop by the best spots for pictures with the sign and see the 360° view from the top. Have a look at the whole city and the surrounding San Gabriel mountains before we head back down through the beautiful Hollywood Hills.
This tour is recommended for people who are comfortable riding a traditional bike. We’ll be using “pedal assist” electric bikes. While you will still have to pedal, the electric motor kicks in to make climbing hills a breeze. A brief tutorial and helmets will be provided.
WEI reserves the right to cancel networking tours if a minimum number of participants is not met.
Conference Registration + Vendor Display Member: $1,198 USD
Conference Registration + Vendor Display Regular: $2,149 USD
+ Vendor Assistant for $299 USD
+ Guest Pass for $125 USD
Prices increase $250 for the Conference Registration + Vendor Display options and $100 for Vendor Assistant option after February 22, 2019. The Conference Registration + Vendor Display registration includes full conference access and includes you as the main Vendor Display Representative with one skirted table in the Display area. Arrangements for power, audio visual equipment, or other supplies may be made by calling the hotel directly.
Vendor Assistants may be registered once the main Vendor Registration is complete and include vendor area access and vendor associated food functions.
The Guest ticket can be added to a conference registration 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.
Vendor Display Schedule
Wednesday, March 13
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Check-in and Vendor Set-up
Thursday, March 14
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM – Breakfast with Vendors Displays
8:45 AM – 9:15 AM – Break with Vendor Displays
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM – Lunch (Vendor Showcase at 12:15 pm)
2:45 PM – 3:15 PM – Break with Vendor Displays
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM – Reception with Vendor Displays
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM – Tear Down
Vendor Display Map
Yolanda G. France has been employed since 1995 in various capacities in customer services at the Salt River Project (SRP), a water and power utility serving approximately 1,000,000 customers in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Currently, Ms. France is the Director of Customer Contact Operations, a position she has held since July 2011. In this capacity she oversees operations of SRP’s two Residential Contact Centers, Business Contact Center, Water Contact Center, Construction Contact Center, workforce management and support group, and a Resource Counseling Group.
Her commitment to the Hispanic community is reflected by her active participation in SRP committees and in the community. Ms. France was a founding member for SRP’s Hispanic Employee Network, ¡Hablamos SRP! She has represented SRP in television public service announcements in Spanish and has acted as a Spanish language media relations representative. She also served six years as a board member of Valle del Sol, one of the largest behavioral health and social service organizations servicing Hispanics in Arizona. Ms. France served as Treasurer and Secretary of the Board during her tenure on the Board. Ms. France is currently serving on the Board of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. France began her career at SRP as a bilingual residential customer services representative. Her attention to detail and analytical skills led to her position as administrative analyst for the Associate General Manager of Commercial and Customer Services, coordinating the budgets and managing employee communications for all the areas in the department. She was a participant in the first analyst rotation program at SRP and worked in the Resource Planning, Pricing and Strategic Economic Services departments. She then became a supervisor in the residential call center which led to her assuming the role of Manager of Residential Customer Services Technical Support Services, and later Manager of Research and Communications Services.
Before joining SRP, Ms. France worked at the Arizona-Mexico Commission, in the Office of the Governor, as committee coordinator between the Commission and Sonora’s Comisión Sonora-Arizona.
She attended grade school and high school in Mesa, Arizona, holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and an International MBA from Western International University.
Carl Lepper is an Director in the Global Services and Emerging Industries Division, Utility practice at J.D. Power. His responsibilities include providing research and account management support, maintaining communication with clients and outside suppliers, and assisting in questionnaire design. Mr. Lepper also contributes to several of the company’s syndicated and proprietary studies in the utility practice, specifically studies relating to electric and gas utilities.
Juan is the Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives in the Business Customer Division of Southern California Edison. In this position, Juan leads a team of project managers responsible for projects in areas such as Microgrids, Customer Generation and Interconnection.
Over the past 26 years, Juan has held various leadership positions including Principal Manager of Smart Meter Deployment, Regional Manager of Meter Services and Manager of the Electric Vehicle Technical Center.
His education includes an MBA from the University of Southern California and a Mechanical Engineering degree from the California State University in Los Angeles.
Ryan is a Senior Key Account Manager at Tucson Electric Power. He serves as the point of contact and internal advocate for significant customers in the TEP service territory, including the military installations. Prior to joining TEP in 2017, Ryan was the Planning, Transportation, and Energy Policy Advisor to Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. Prior to working for the Mayor, Ryan practiced law.
Octavio is the Manager of Low Income & Assistance Programs for Southern California Gas Company, a natural gas utility serving over 20 million customers in the Greater Southern California area. Prior to his current role, he worked for various Advertising Agencies catering to the Hispanic market, working with Clients such as Ford, Honda, Staples and Albertsons. He is a native Southern Californian, something he points out is a rarity these days, and currently lives in the city of La Habra with his wife and two children.
Shawn Collins is the Director of the Energy Project at Opportunity Council. The Energy Project, a collaborative initiative between the Washington Community Action Partnership and the State of Washington Department of Commerce, strives to improve affordable access to energy services for low-income households across Washington State.
Shawn is also Adjunct Faculty at Western Washington University where he teaches energy policy and politics at the Institute for Energy Studies, a newly created interdisciplinary program. He has worked in the non-profit sector for the past seventeen years with a variety of organizations and on multiple issues including homelessness and housing, aniti-hunger programs, telecommunications, and energy. He is a 2002 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, where he received a BA in English Literature.
Danielle Vitoff, LEED AP, TRUE Advisor, is an Associate Director and part of the leadership of the Sustainability Solutions team within Navigant’s Energy Practice. In her role on the Sustainability Solutions team, Mrs. Vitoff has supported multiple Fortune 500 companies and large U.S. cities in developing their sustainability initiatives, particularly in calculating carbon footprints, setting Science-Based Targets, and developing mitigation strategies.
Mrs. Vitoff has a background in architecture and specific experience designing high-performance, whole-building solutions for both residential and commercial buildings. Prior to joining Navigant, Mrs. Vitoff was the Research Director for Maclay Architects, a small sustainable design firm. In this position she supported multiple Zero Net Energy (ZNE) projects and the writing of the book The New Net Zero. Mrs. Vitoff holds BAs in Environmental Design and Environmental Studies from Montana State University.
As Research Manager at Chartwell, Noah conducts research and analysis to aid utilities in understanding and improving their customer experience and engagement. Noah has a background in energy and market research, both in his academic and professional careers. Noah is a native of Atlanta, a Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University alumnus, and has worked in research roles for a variety of Atlanta-based institutions, including the Carter Center and the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
Rick Edwards is the Director of Community Connections at NorthWestern Energy. Rick has worked for NorthWestern (and formerly The Montana Power Company) for the past 38 years. Rick is currently the President of the Montana State Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Chair of Headwaters RC&D, and a board member of a variety of organizations including the Butte Local Development Corporation, the Montana Ambassadors, The Montana Economic Developers Association, the Montana Council on Economic Education and the Utility Economic Developers Association.
Rick and his wife Laurie have five children (Ashley, Bryan, Courtney, Karley, and Sean) and four grandchildren (Matt, Mike, Kade and Maddox). Rick graduated from Montana Tech with a degree in Technical Communications.
Jason Zyskowski, P.E. received his electrical engineering degree from the University of Washington in 2004. He has worked at the Snohomish County PUD since graduation in the Transmission, System Protection, and Substation Engineering departments. Currently he is the Senior Manager of Planning, Engineering and Technical Services. Jason has worked on several renewable generation projects, numerus automation upgrade projects and was the Project Manager for the District’s first Energy Storage System. He enjoys spending time with his family and the outdoors.
Buck Davis is widely regarded as a leading authority on diversity and inclusion. A frequent guest commentator on CNN on issues of diversity and an in-demand interactive speaker, Buck draws upon 18 years of experience with helping organizations identify and embrace differences in innovative ways. Driven by the belief that a culture of happiness and positivity leads to the highest levels of productivity, Buck and his team have developed a comprehensive multi-tier program of workshops, computer-based training and corporate inclusion videos to help companies spread positive change in the workplace. He has consulted with major corporations including Sodexo, DanoneWave, Ball Corporation, OxBlue, Pepsico, General Mills, Ecolab, US EPA, Frito Lay, Starbucks, The Home Depot, and The Walt Disney Company. Buck holds an MBA and an MS in Professional Counseling and lives in Atlanta, GA.
Amy Molano is a Performance Advisor for SoCalGas. She holds a Master of Science in Leadership and Management. Amy began her career at SoCalGas 19 years ago as a Customer Service Representative assisting customer’s with calls that varied from service to analyzing complex bills. She has held various positions within the Customer Contact Center such as Training Specialist and Supervisor. Amy had no idea that years later she would be analyzing data and trends to support the Customer Contact Centers coaching initiative.
Natalie Centeno is a Quality Assurance Specialist for Southern California Gas Co. She began her career in 2007 as a Customer Service Representative and has worked in several departments including High Bill Investigation and Advance Meter departments. Currently, Natalie supports the Customer Contact Center by analyzing call data, identifying call trends and providing insight and implementable ideas to improve daily operations. She recently passed her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt exam and is working on her first project.
Claudia Martinez is a Call Center Supervisor for Southern California Gas Company. Claudia began her career at SoCalGas 20 years ago. She has held various positions within the Customer Contact Center including Customer Service Representative and Quality Assurance Specialist. Claudia enjoys working with front-line employees to help maximize customer satisfaction.
Ivonne Meza is passionate about continuous process improvements, currently she works for SoCal Gas as a Technical Advisor on the Operations Support team. Her role involves writing policies and for 500+ employees to ensure governmental compliance, strategic goals, and excellent customer service is provided. Ivonne’s career spans 19 years in the Customer Operations organization, holding various positions including customer service representative, training instructor, supervisor, business systems analyst and performance advisor- all which help drive the passion to make things better for every layer of customer service involved.
Jeff is the Process and Performance Manager of BC Hydro’s Contact Centre and Billing Operations department. Jeff leads a team of managers and their support staff responsible for workforce planning, knowledge management, quality assurance, training and continuous improvement. Jeff has 19 years of Customer Service experience in the utility industry, holding various leadership positions while working with BC Hydro and Accenture Business Services. Preceding his current role Jeff was responsible for overseeing the delivery of customer services for BC Hydro by an outsourcing partner and was part of a team responsible for successfully transitioning those functions back in house to BC Hydro in May of 2018.
A 30-year veteran of SRP, Greg now manages the Information Management (IM) department within ITS. The Information Management department provides support for enterprise analytics, content and collaboration services, database administration, data quality and master data management, records management, eDiscovery, information governance, and integration services. The goal of information management at SRP is to optimize the value of its information assets by: managing those assets throughout their lifecycle; keeping them relevant, accurate, and easily accessible; and analyzing them to improve operations, provide better customer insights, and mitigate risk.
Murthy Vijjapu is a Data Governance expert who spent many years implementing innovative solutions to address complex demands of transforming Utility Industry Operations. He has a broad and diverse experience in developing Software based, data driven solutions to increase value for large enterprises, Information Governance and Compliance. He is currently heading SCE’s Information Governance department and is helping them in their pursuit to modernize their Information Governance Portfolio that also includes Information Protection and Data quality. Prior to SCE he was a Director and Technology Partner at Computer Sciences Corporation. During his time at CS he was involved in ideation, development and implementation of Energy Industry vertical solutions. He is a Mechanical Engineer who transitioned into software and information management writing software programs for automating large industrial machines. He is currently pursuing his Executive MBA from University of California, specializing in Digital Transformation.
Chris currently leads Data Management and Governance for Arizona Public Service (APS). This involves using a Data Governance System to inventory the data, create and track the traceability of data between systems of records, and work with the Enterprise to identify critical data elements that need to be governed. He has over 18 years of experience in the electrical utility space ranging from project management, design, geographical information systems, operation support, applications system testing, and data management. Chris has a Master’s Degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University. When he isn’t working, he enjoys gardening, running or going to Disneyland with his wife and 4 boys.
AJ Morales is the Program Manager for a Data Science team focused on the development and implementation of analytics tools supporting Public Safety initiatives at Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). In his previous role, AJ worked for the Corrective Action Program (CAP) department where he was responsible for the development and implementation of an enterprise Tableau dashboard used for tracking and reporting metrics to PG&Es senior leadership team.
Prior to PG&E, AJ worked for Southern California Edison (SCE) where he developed a database used to streamline underground asset inspections and risk based prioritization. Output of this database was used for ranking assets for replacement using weighted risk based measures as well as provided the objective evidence needed for the CPUC rate case filings. AJ has earned a Masters degree in business, a Bachelors in Project Management, and holds a Professional Certification in Project Management. He is also certified as a Professional Instructor, Root Cause Evaluator, and most recently became a Certified Scrum Master (CSM).
Dan joined Burbank Water and Power on April 2, 2018. He is responsible for the strategic direction, management, and the operation and maintenance of a division within the utility responsible for customer service, marketing, and public information for Burbank Water and Power. Dan holds a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree from California State University, Long Beach, and is a registered Professional Civil Engineer. He has been involved in the utility industry for over 27 years, including 22 years in the electric power industry. He has worked for utilities such as Orange County Sanitation District, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Southern California Edison. Dan’s previous experience involved managing customer care operations, providing strategic customer solutions, managing regulatory issues, and providing safety and environmental engineering expertise.
Aravind Yarlagadda joined Itron in September 2018 as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Outcomes Business. In this role, he is responsible for Itron’s software and services offerings, globally. He has more than 20 years of experience in product management, product development, sales, marketing and business development. Aravind has held senior management positions for Schneider Electric’s software business where he led cross-functional organizations contributing to the growth of a Software business servicing Industrial Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Utilities Customers. Aravind has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics & Instrumentation Engineering, from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. He also received a Master of Business Administration from University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Texas A&M University.
Chris Drake leads the Energy Efficiency and Energy Assistance implementation team at Avista. The efficiency effort includes design and delivery of demand side management programs for Avista’s residential, commercial and industrial customers. The team also serves Avista’s most vulnerable customers with energy assistance and outreach programs for low income and senior customers. Avista provides electric and natural gas service to about 400,000 customers in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Chris has been with Avista for 22 years working in Hydro Licensing & Safety, Marketing, Power Supply and Demand Side Management. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in communications and served as an Army Infantry officer before joining Avista. He lives in Spokane, WA with his wife and daughter and enjoys running, golfing and being an Irish dance dad.
Harluxsh is a Manager in KPMG’s People & Change practice, helping lead the firm’s Inclusion and Diversity offerings. Inclusion and Diversity influence every part of the organizations we work in. From how we recruit, train, and grow our employees to how we empower them to lead with confidence. The way in which leaders embrace this to interact with and enable their workforce can help spur innovation and create strategic advantages in the marketplace. The utilities industry in particular is witnessing a cultural shift that will forever redefine the way inclusion and diversity are engrained into the DNA of an organization. Harluxsh and KPMG are committed to leading the charge on inclusion and diversity and welcome the opportunity to discuss how it can benefit your organization.
Evelyn Cortez-Davis, P.E., BCEE is the Assistant Director of Water Resources at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the nation. She is a civil engineer with over 25 years of engineering experience in the water utility industry. She currently leads a team to plan the water supply for the 4 million people in the City of Los Angeles, including capturing more stormwater, conserving, and expanding the use of recycled water and groundwater. She serves on the Labor-Management Committee to expand engineering recruitment efforts to meet the organization’s gender equity, diversity, and inclusion goals. Ms. Cortez-Davis led the launch of the LADWP Society of Women Engineers Professional Affiliate Group in 2018 and serves as the group’s first Executive Advisor. She is a first-generation graduate of UCLA, a registered Civil Engineer in California, and is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer.
Susan Wheeler leads Workforce and Education Outreach for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). She manages internship and scholarship programs that increase student awareness about careers in the electric utility industry. SMUD’s education partners know they can count on Susan to build sustainable and scalable programs for students. Susan is passionate about education – she is currently adjunct faculty at American River College and co-director for a summer STEM camp held at UC Davis for rising 8th grade girls called Tech Trek. Susan holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Columbia University.
Ellecia is currently in the role of Diversity Program Advisor at Southern California Edison, responsible for driving the development and implementation of a company-wide Diversity & Inclusion strategic initiative for effectively leveraging Edison’s Employee Resource Groups. In this role, Ellecia has oversight of the ERG governance, and annual business planning process to ensure strategic alignment with Edison’s overall Diversity & Inclusion strategy and business outcomes, with a clear focus on people, culture and community. Ellecia is an experienced results-oriented business professional possessing an extensive range of experience in HR and Talent Acquisition with a proven ability to integrate effective strategies into organizational business solutions and expertise driving Diversity & Inclusion with a focus on culture change, consulting, strategic development, change management and program management.
Reagan currently leads the HR Workforce Insights team at Southern California Edison, which includes both HR Information Systems, Research & Analytics & Workforce Planning. He has been working in the HR Insights and Organizational Design space for about 12 years, previously at Hulu and the Walt Disney Company. Reagan’s areas of expertise include Workforce Planning, Data Research, Predictive Analytics, Survey Analysis & Storytelling. He is enjoying being a part of the utility industry and is eager to lend his voice to the future of Workforce Insights.
Heather Burns is the Director of Human Resources at NorthWestern Energy where she has worked for over 20 years. In her role she oversees organizational development, workforce planning including succession planning, performance management, employee relations, training and employee communication. Her passions include leadership and organizational culture, and developing strategies to enable both. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is a graduate of the University of Idaho’s Utility Executive Course.
Janos Kakuk is Head of People Strategy at Southern California Edison (SCE) where he leads an effort to identify the people implications and required strategy to successfully implement SCE’s vision to transform the electric power industry. Before joining SCE, Mr., Kakuk was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, Inc. Mr. Kakuk received an LL.M. Masters of Law degree from Harvard Law School.
Madison has a MA in Education (Instructional Design and Adult Learning), certifications in Change Management (Prosci), Computer Programming and Mediation and a BS in Microbiology. As a Senior HR Analyst in Learning and Development she facilitates leadership and team building workshops and supports employee development using job-specific competencies. She has over 20 years of training and facilitation experience in different functional areas (Technology, Organizational Change Management, Customer Services and Information Management) and finds learning is most valuable when it supports or advances business outcomes. In 2014 she published an article in Training Industry Magazine about the importance of learning application for behavior change that delivers business impact.
Lizeth Ruvalcaba, Senior Project Manager, leads HR Strategic Initiatives at Southern California Edison (SCE). Her most recent focus has been on creating efficiencies across various departments, developing SCE’s Employee Value Proposition, improving the Employee Experience, and leading ERP implementations. Lizeth possesses over five years of experience working on large scale projects, previously at Emerson Electric. Her areas of expertise include Project Management, Strategy & Innovation, and Customer Care. She is excited about being part of the utility industry and help shape the future of SCE’s Employee Experience.
Steven Eddy is the Manager of Government Relations for Tucson Electric Power (TEP) & UniSource Energy Services (UES) and is responsible for representing and advancing policies that pertain to the company and utility industry with federal, state and local elected officials, while also developing and maintaining relations with government agencies, trade associations and community stakeholders. He has been with TEP for 8 years. Prior to joining the utility industry, Steven has held positions in land use planning, real estate development and economic development. He is an active member of the Tucson community, serving on various community boards and philanthropic organizations. Steven and his wife, Missy, are both native Tucsonans and University of Arizona graduates and spend most free time raising their three young and energetic children.
Anthony Ogbeide is an Energy Management System (EMS) Engineer. He is also the Power Experience Entry-Level Rotational (PEER) Program Coordinator with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). As an EMS engineer, Anthony is responsible for managing SMUDs power grid, by providing control and visibility of SMUD’s substations from Generation, Transmission, Distribution facilities to Power System Operators, Distributed System Operators, and Energy Accountants. Anthony is a senior fellow of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP).
Darline Truong earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the California State University of Long Beach and is a California Licensed Professional Civil Engineer. She started her engineering career at the Walt Disney Company working as a Structural Quality Engineer. In 2014, Darline transitioned into the public sector. Currently, she is working in the Project Management Office at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) where she oversees various water infrastructure Capital Improvement Projects ranging from 20 million dollars to 160 million dollars. Darline is one of the co-founders of the LADWP-SWE Professional Affiliate Group ERG.
For more than five years, Lisa has served as the Director of Customer Service for Clark Public Utilities. In her role she nurtures an award-winning, customer-centric culture and leads two contact centers to meet the needs of 194,000 electric and 34,000 water utility customers. Prior to her work with Clark Public Utilities, Lisa spent 25 years with Marriott Hotels, serving in roles related to finance, customer services and executive leadership. Lisa holds an MBA from Washington State University-Vancouver, and a degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. Outside of work, she tends to a small ranch in the north part of Clark County where she rides her horses and enjoys the country lifestyle.
Philip R. McLemore, Director, PwC has over 20 years of talent management, leadership development, and finance experience, working for Fortune 100 and start-up companies. His expertise ranges from strategic change management, human capital and finance, including workforce effectiveness, HR effectiveness, workforce analytics, and talent management. Philip holds a MBA in finance and multinational management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a BA in economics from Vanderbilt University, and is a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM) and Senior Professional of HR (HRCI).
Matt is recognized thought leader in Talent, Organization Development and Employee Experience and a Managing Director in KPMG’s People & Change practice.
Matt is pragmatic, business savvy, builds collaborative relationships that influence and deliver results. He possesses broad-based industry exposure, global perspective and creative approach. His specialties include business strategy, identity and design; talent and HR strategy; employee experience strategy and design; talent risk profiling; culture definition and values alignment; capability planning, talent aquisition and workforce management; change management; program and project management; team building, skill and process development; and reward, compensation and benefits design.
Mike Diedesch received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Washington State University in 2008 and is a registered Professional Engineer in Washington. Since joining Avista Utilities in Spokane, WA, he has worked in various engineering roles including Generation Controls, SCADA, System Protection and Controls, and Metering. He is currently Avista’s Lead Smart Cities Engineer.
As director of Smart Cities Initiatives for Portland General Electric, Andy Macklin is responsible for leading the implementation of PGE’s Smart Cities strategy and related initiatives. These include the integration of a broad spectrum of solutions within customer projects including transportation electrification, energy storage, distributed energy resources, renewables integration and streetlights.
Macklin joined Portland General Electric in February of 2018, having previously worked with PGE in a consulting capacity on initiatives such as smart grid strategies and IT and cyber security programs. Prior to joining PGE, Macklin had a successful business management consulting career focusing primarily on clients in the energy and utilities industry. He also worked with transportation, manufacturing and nonprofit clients. Macklin started his career with GE Aircraft Engines.
Macklin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University. He is engaged in the community as a board member at Junior Achievement and Bonneville Environmental Foundation, and co-chairs the Placemaking Workgroup of the Portland Innovation Quadrant. Macklin resides in Portland with his wife, Sharon and two children.
Jason has been with FortisBC for 16 years, and is presently the Director of Energy Solutions responsible for the Marketing and Sales efforts of FortisBC including the residential sales team, commercial and industrial account management, the development of new energy products and services (including new energy technologies for customers), and renewable natural gas customer demand. In 2018 these efforts resulted in the largest number of annual new customer attachments to the FortisBC gas system in over two decades and the introduction of a commercial carbon capture pilot.
Previously, Jason oversaw the FortisBC Market Development team and was responsible for negotiating and working with the Province to develop the Orders in Council approving the Tilbury LNG facility upgrades and the pipeline to service the Woodfibre LNG. Jason also oversaw the forecasting and resource planning departments. Prior to that, Jason was responsible for launching the FortisBC thermal energy business efforts with large commercial and institutional customers including schools municipalities and health authorities. Jason also spent four years in the Regulatory Affairs Department. Jason holds a Masters of Business Administration from Royal Roads University, a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Calgary.
Mark Warren is Director, Business Innovation for FortisBC. In his current role, he leads corporate data analytics, gas and electric advanced metering, electric vehicle charging and a variety of corporate and employee innovative initiatives. He was previously in various operational and customer service roles within FortisBC. Mr. Warren is a registered professional engineer in British Columbia. He received a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Physics from the University of British Columbia and a Master’s in Business Administration from Queen’s University.
Jeremy Babcock is a Senior Applications Analyst at Snohomish County PUD in Everett, Washington. Jeremy has more than 20 years of experience working with public entities to bring about a more connected, integrated and ultimately successful technology landscape. He joined Snohomish County PUD in 2012 where he works in a variety of areas including development, integration, cloud and all things innovation. Previously, he has worked for the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of California – Davis.
Dr. Soorya Kuloor manages Landis+Gyr’s solution portfolio focused towards utility distribution operations. He has over 25 years of experience in development and management of power system simulation, analytics, analysis and optimization solutions with principal focus on planning and operations applications for T&D networks. He also has extensive experience with development of real-time distributed mission critical systems, and real-time databases. Dr. Kuloor has authored several publications in the areas of grid analytics, power flow, power system simulation, substation switching, and optimization of DER planning, integration, and dispatch. Dr. Kuloor has Ph.D. in Power System Optimization from the University of Calgary in Canada.
Jessica Lim is the Principal Manager of Product Management at Southern California Edison. She is responsible for product development and managing a portfolio of programs to enable customer choice from distributed generation to rate options. Prior to this role, Jessica advanced customer-focused initiatives through Marketing & Digital at SCE, grew the e-commerce division at Epson America, and launched new brands at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and Ketchum Communications.
April McAllaster is currently the Customer Contact Center Manager for Southern California Gas. April started her career with SoCalGas 18 years ago as a Customer Service Representative and has held various roles over the years related to customer service.
Wayne Calder is currently the Director of Customer Care with ENMAX in Calgary, Alberta, and is responsible for the delivery of customer-focused solutions for residential and small commercial segments including accounts receivable and collections. He is accountable for operations, training & development, and workforce management & reporting, along with driving a highly engaged performance culture. Prior to ENMAX, Wayne was with TELUS for nearly 14 years in various roles including field operations, sales support and loyalty & retention marketing. He earned his MBA from the University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy.
Kim Wagie serves as director of Digital Transformation at Arizona Public Service (APS), Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electric utility. She began her current role in January 2016 focusing on data management & advanced analytics. Her role has recently expanded to include Robotic Processing Automation, Mobility, Enterprise reporting and Business Intelligence. In this role at APS, Kim is focused on establishing an enterprise-wide information management discipline and organization, centering on data management and governance and digital solutions. She is leading the strategy for APS to become a digital utility. Kim began her APS career in 2013 as Director of IT Applications. She moved from IT into Operations where she assumed the role of Chief of Staff for Fossil Generation to gain operational knowledge of power generation.
Priya is a Managing Director in KPMG’s CIO Advisory Services. She leads the US practice for Cloud Strategy and Transformation and specializes in helping clients figure out how to best leverage cloud to enhance their digital transformation journey and get long-term value from moving to public cloud.
Andrew Storms is an Information Technology & Security executive with over 20 years of achievement delivering solutions that optimize performance, security, and efficiency for industry-leading companies. Andrew’s current work with New Context Services involves providing leadership in the areas of Information security and product development. He serves as a project lead for CES-21 – an initiative researching methods to perform automated cybersecurity threat detection and response within electrical utility operational networks. His past roles include Senior Director of DevOps at CloudPassage and Director of Information, Technology & Security at nCircle. He is a CISSP, a member of Infragard and a graduate of the FBI Citizens’ Academy and a member of the open standards technical committee for STIX,TAXII and OpenC2.
Ted Reguly is the Director of Portfolio and Project Management at San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). He is responsible for the leadership of large capital projects and Eclectic Distribution, Substation and Transmission Portfolio Management for SDG&E. These responsibilities include oversight and direction for project cash flows, licensing and approval coordination and support of project managers for construction activities.
Reguly’ s previous director positions were at SDG&E’s Growth and Technology Integration, Sempra’s Renewables Operations, SDG&E’s Substation and Transmission Operations and Maintenance, Customer Programs, Smart Meter, and Customer Services Organizations.
Reguly is a registered California Mechanical Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State, Long Beach and a master’s in business administration with an emphasis in Finance from San Diego State University.
Destiny is a Senior Associate in KPMG’s People & Change practice, helping lead the firm’s Employee Value Proposition offerings. With over 10 years of experience, Destiny knows that making the right decisions on attracting, motivating, and retaining employees can make the difference between a talent brand that draws diverse, high-performers with a strong value proposition, and an organization that experiences high turnover. She partners with clients to develop collaborative environments as they embark on transformational change, positioning them to stand out in today’s ever more competitive market for talent. As emerging technology has disrupted how we work, meeting the needs of an ever changing workforce can be challenging. The world is undefined and abstruse, today’s workforce is more diverse, more flexible, and more virtual. Organizations must be ready to rise to meet the needs of today’s workforce.
Andrew Braeger leads the analytics and data management program at Tacoma Public Utilities where he has served since 2017. Andrew holds an MBA in IT Management from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and has earned numerous technical certifications.
Mark is the Manager of Salt River Project’s Analytics Center of Excellence. In his role, he is responsible for formulating strategy and engaging with other business areas to ensure that the correct technology and solutions are in place to enable effective analytics across the enterprise. During his time at SRP, Mark has helped transform SRP’s reporting team into a true ACE with the creation of SRP’s Enterprise Data Warehouse, the adoption of new visualization and analytical tools, the implementation of SRP’s big data infrastructure, and the creation of a data science practice.
Mahendra serves as Director of Digital Transformation at KPMG. He is a thought leader with more than 20 years of advisory, enterprise transformation and operations experience with Fortune 500 companies. His core area of expertise is business transformation through target operating model re-design and strategic cost optimization from strategy to execution.
He is a subject matter professional for Intelligent Automation and is well versed with Lean Six Sigma, ITIL service lifecycle and project management methodologies. He has led multiple business initiatives to help clients transform various functions including Finance and Accounting (F&A), Customer Organizations, Contact Centers, HR and Payroll.
Christopher Lawson is a Principal Investigator and Cyber Security Engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He is passionate about network security research, software development, and data analytics. Christopher currently serves as a task lead for modeling and simulation efforts for CES-21– an initiative researching methods to perform automated cybersecurity threat detection and response within electrical utility operational networks. He previously worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in cyber analysis and operations, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in network testing. Christopher received a B.S. in Computer Science from California State University, Sacramento in 2014.
David Baron’s org has 4 verticals including Data Science, Continuous Improvement, Workforce Capacity Planning and Enterprise Change Management. He earned his undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science, and Master’s degrees in Statistics, Operations Research, and Business Administration. David led the Marketing Analytics practice at EY prior to starting with SoCalGas in 2012.
Sharon B. Grove joined the executive team at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in May 2012. She is helping to drive a better customer experience across the Department for the residents of the City of Los Angeles. Ms. Grove brings many years of utility and customer service management experience to LADWP.
Ms. Grove is responsible for leading the Customer Service Division operations, directing and positioning customer experience strategies, aligning business processes, deploying customer contact strategies, promoting and managing efficiency programs and services, and outreaching to low income communities. Ms. Grove is passionate about customers and employees, and believes in transforming the customer experience from previously performing transactions to actively problem-solving and building relationships. Current efforts are focused on helping the residents and businesses of Los Angeles manage the challenges that the pandemic has brought, including a comprehensive plan for our low-income customers and communities.
Recent customer engagement development efforts at LADWP during 2020 include online appointments and consultation services, redesigning customer service centers to promote programs and maintain a neighborhood presence, and providing contactless leak detection walk-throughs.
Ms. Grove holds a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics from Lehigh University, and a Masters of Business Administration from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.
I’ve been with FortisBC since 2005. Roles include:
Manager, Customer Experience – Billing Services (March 2019 – present)
Interim Director, Customer Service (2018-2019)
Sr Manager, HR – Customer Service (2016 – 2018)
Manager, Corporate HR (2013 – 2016)
HR Advisor (2005 – 2013)
Prior to joining FortisBC, I worked as an HR/LR Consultant for the Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA) from 1999-2005.
Prior to working at CSSEA, I worked for a number of years at Ladner Downs (now Borden Ladner Gervais) as an Associate, articled student, summer student and co-op student.
I have a B.Comm. from UBC and an LLB from U.Vic. I’ve been a practicing member of the Law Society of BC since 1997.
Kari joined BC Hydro in early 2007 and in her current role is accountable for growing a customer centric culture through projects, training and thought leadership with her small team of professionals.
Her most recent success was the role she played in enabling a new bill for all customers where she was the business lead – driving change with a clear customer focus while also ensuring operational viability. While at BC Hydro she has contributed to other successful initiatives including the development of a new customer strategy in 2014; providing expertise and scaling design thinking capability; creating and running a small business customer panel; and leading an emergency preparedness campaign for customers as part of the Outage Communications Initiative.
Prior to BC Hydro she was in charge of marketing and sales for a large national retailer who saw record growth and profits during her tenure.
She is a certified customer experience professional and holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson University.
Denise is a Manager for the Call Center and Credit and Billing Operations at Southwest Gas Corporation, a natural gas utility headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southwest Gas has over 2 million customers in Arizona, California and Nevada. Denise has been with Southwest Gas for 25 years. In her current position, she manages Call Center operations in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson and Credit and Billing operations in Carson City and Victorville. Denise works in conjunction with contracted vendors for remote and at-home agents and is a member of the Southwest Gas Customer Experience Committee.
Previously, Einstein served as Director of Business Services which manages PSE’s large commercial and industrial accounts and leads PSE’s strategy for improving service to our entire business customer base.
Einstein has also served as PSE’s Director of Community and Business Services for King County. Einstein has also spent two years as Manager of PSE’s emerging technology and climate change program where he oversaw PSE’s electric vehicle program, analysis of greenhouse gas regulatory programs, and PSE’s participation in the renewable energy credit and carbon credit markets.
Einstein worked as a Manager in PSE’s Federal Government Relations group for eight years and has more than 15 years of experience working in Washington State politics. Einstein has served on the staff of members of the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate and the Metropolitan King County Council.
Einstein has a MBA from the University of Washington’s Executive MBA program and has a bachelor’s degree from Whitman College. He and his wife, Brooke, live in the Maple Leaf neighborhood of Seattle with their two daughters, Emma and Lucy.
Gillian Wright is senior vice president and chief customer officer for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility. She is responsible for the SoCalGas customer services operations, customer solutions and gas acquisition organizations.
Previously, as chief human resources, administrative and environmental officer of SoCalGas, Wright oversaw the SoCalGas human resources, fleet, facilities, environmental services, supply management and logistics organizations.
She joined SoCalGas as a regulatory analyst in 1999 and has held increasingly responsible management roles in regulatory affairs and customer service for SoCalGas since then.
Wright is a member of the board of the California State University Foundation, LA Family Housing, Western Energy Institute and Los Angeles Business Council. She is also past chair and a former member of the board for the Energy Solutions Center and a graduate of Leadership California. Wright holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Reed College.
David H. Wright is the General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the nation’s largest municipally-owned utility, serving more than 4 million Los Angeles residents. A seasoned water and power utility executive with a career spanning three decades, Wright oversees the nation’s largest municipal utility, with a $7.5 billion annual budget for water, power and combined services. He is responsible for a Power System that provides over 26 million megawatt-hours of electricity per year to over 1.5 million electric services, and a Water System that delivers 160 billion gallons of water per year to 681,000 services in the City of Los Angeles. The utility has a workforce of approximately 10,000 employees.
Dan is passionate about creating moments in people’s lives where they are reminded of the gift and privilege of being alive.
During the day, Dan is the “Visual Strategist” for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. There he shepherds an amazing team developing creative ways of communicating, and working to transform complex concepts into meaningful stories that can be universally understood. His work is seen in public spaces, art museums, and is in outer space.
After doing the dishes, reading bedtime stories to his kids, and spending time with his wife, he works on other creative problem solving projects around the world. He is currently developing “The Museum of Awe” with his buddies Ivan Amato and David Delgado.
In 2002 Dan graduated valedictorian from the graphic design program at Art Center College of Design. In 2012 he was selected as “One of the most interesting people in Los Angeles” by the LA Weekly.
Amir Tabakh is the Manager of the LADWP La Kretz Labs and Energy Efficiency Solutions Engineering. His team engages industry leaders to develop the next generation of high efficiency innovations in the campus’ LADWP laboratories.
Throughout his 20+ year career, Amir managed construction activities for high-rise and low-rise structures in HVAC, Plumbing, Fire protection, and Elevators. He has led various local and state committees to implement uniform code, standards, and product certification. His passion to promote sustainability and to explore the nexus between, water, energy, and CO2 emissions sets him apart.
Amir graduated from San Diego State University with Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Rathin is the founder CEO of Big Analytixs. Rathin brings more than 16 years of experience in the utility space and has led some of biggest business transformation initiatives at large utilities. Prior to founding Big Analytixs, Rathin was a managing partner at SunGard and Managing Principal at Knightsbridge, where he helped lead and grow information management practice for utilities and energy vertical.
Victoria Person is the Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Southern California Gas Company, which is a part of the Sempra Energy family of companies. Victoria has been working with Sempra since 2001. She started in Marketing and Communications roles before making her way to her current – and favorite — position in Diversity & Inclusion. She was honored with the “2015 Phenomenal Woman Award” from the Greater Los Angeles YWCA. Victoria holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Mississippi, a Management Development Certification from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and a Diversity and Inclusion certificate from the Cornell University School of Industrial & Labor Relations.
Sandra is the Digital Customer Engagement lead on SDG&E’s Envision program, where her team is focused on a multi-year program to deliver modern digital capabilities which simplify complex interactions and enhance self-service options. Over the past 12 years, she’s led strategic business efforts and digital transformation projects, including customer-facing technology implementations, self-service optimizations, energy efficiency strategic planning, and portal application migrations and upgrades. Sandra is a certified Scrum Product Owner, with Project Management certification from UC Berkeley. She is passionate about helping utilities enhance the customer experience while reducing customer effort.
Dawn Jurgensmeier is an Information Technology Manager for Salt River Project (SRP) embedded in the Grid Modernization organization in Phoenix, Arizona. Previous to that she has worked as an IT architect on teams running projects and strategies related to Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS), Outage Management Systems (OMS), Advanced Inverters, Distributed Energy Resources (DER), Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Additionally she’s working with the Utility Technology Council (UTC) on their Smart Systems for Smarter Communities conference exhibit and published an article on how DERs are driving automation on the grid in the UTC Journal. She is the chairperson for the UTC Smart Networks Council and the champion for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) 161E Enterprise Architecture and Integration program.
Prior to joining the architecture team at SRP, Dawn worked as a computer programmer for GIS applications, including helping to build a custom Outage Management System. She also worked as an adjunct professor for Mesa Community College teaching classes on Quality Assurance testing in software development, and was a Quality Assurance engineer for Mitel.
Dawn graduated from Arizona State University with a B.S.E. in Computer Systems Engineering.
Gary King serves as SMUD’s Chief Workforce Officer. In this position, he is responsible for enterprise-wide services such as procurement, fleet, facilities management, human resources, workforce development, diversity and inclusion, health, safety and physical security.
Mr. King has served as a member of SMUD’s Executive Team since 2008. Prior to his current role, Mr. King served as SMUD’s Manager of Human Resources. He joined SMUD in 1998 as a supervisor in Compensation and Selection, coming from a position as manager of employment for the California city of Palo Alto. He had served many years in senior human resource management positions for the city and county of San Francisco, as well.
Mr. King received his master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Maryland and his bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Pacific Union College.
Mr. King serves as a Board Member of the Western Energy Institute (WEI), Sacramento Works (Chair); Sacramento Covered, California Workforce Development Board, and the Crocker Art Museum organizations.
Joe Villareal is the Assistant Director for Employee Development and Support within the Customer Service Division at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. EDS provides Safety and Training for the 800+ employees within the Customer Service Division which includes new employee training, skill enhancement training, career development training as well as safety and compliance training. In his 20+ years with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Mr. Villareal work experiences have touched various areas of the meter to cash process with focus on the customer experience.
Warren Ruis is the director of Regional Public Affairs for SDG&E. He and his team represent the utility as educators and advocates before 27 cities, 2 counties and 21 federally recognized native American tribes in the service territory. Warren has worked in multiple roles at SDG&E and parent company, Sempra Energy for 13 years, with most of that time in an external affairs capacity. He holds a bachelor of business administration in management from the University of San Diego and master of business administration in finance from Pepperdine University.