Emergency Response + Assistance Practices (Apr 24-25)

Emergency preparedness and business continuity planning is crucial to a timely response to business disruptions - whether they are caused by weather impacts, cyber attacks, or equipment malfunction. This forum provides an open discussion on pressing topics surrounding utility emergency planning and operations. Through this and the Western Region Mutual Assistance Agreement, leaders develop relationships that will prove beneficial to members in an emergency. The Emergency Response + Assistance Practices program is open to utilities and service providers.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • John Padilla, Emergency Management Program Manager, Salt River Project

    • Program Location
    • Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
    • 11111 North Seventh Street, Phoenix, AZ 85020
    • Who Should Attend
      • Operations managers
      • Emergency management coordinators
      • Disaster recovery planners
      • Directors of business continuity planning
      • Emergency preparedness supervisors
      • Managers of emergency services
      • Emergency planning and response specialists
      • Safety specialists
      • Parties to the Western Region Mutual Assistance Agreement
      • Service company members
  • Registration Options
  • Member: $599 USD
    Non-Member: $999 USD

    Member registration prices increase $100 after April 3, 2023. Registration includes full conference access and digital program materials through the app.

    Attendees of the Emergency Response + Assistance Practices program are eligible to receive a $200 discount to the WEI Operations Conference occurring in Phoenix, Arizona on April 25-28, 2023. A discount code will be included in the Emergency Response + Assistance Practices registration confirmation email, which can be used when registering for the Operations Conference.

  • 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 Marco Henkel, Program Manager at (971) 393-3250.


Monday, April 24, 2023

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM


9:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Optional: Site Visit to SRP's Heritage Center

Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service will present an overview of their Incident Management processes. The presentation will take place at the Salt River Project Heritage Center and Emergency Operations Center.

Limited availability. Secure your spot during registration.
Transportation will be provided.

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Networking Lunch

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Opening + Welcome Remarks
Speaker(s): John Padilla, Emergency Management Program Manager, Salt River Project

1:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Recent Events and Emergency Responses
Facilitator(s): John Padilla, Emergency Management Program Manager, Salt River Project
Speaker(s): Angelina Gibson, Vice President of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Dennis Darling, Manager- BCEM, Portland General Electric, Shane Hester, Supervisory Emergency Management Specialist, Bonneville Power Administration, Scott Brown, Senior Fire Management Officer, Southern California Edison

Overview and discussion of recent natural and manmade emergencies, responses and lessons learned.

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM

Networking Break

3:15 PM - 3:45 PM

Contractor Spotlight: Bolton Holdings
Facilitator(s): John Padilla, Emergency Management Program Manager, Salt River Project
Speaker(s): Brandon Allphin, Contracts Manager, Bolton Holdings

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Speaker(s): Lydia Mertyris, Manager, Safety and Emergency Planning and Preparedness, Hawaiian Electric Company, Nancy Sacré, Project Manager, T&D Wildfire Program Management, Southern California Edison

Closed session for WRMAA signatory companies.

4:45 PM - 6:15 PM

Welcome Reception

Sponsored by: Bolton Holdings

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

7:00 AM - 12:00 PM


7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Organizational Challenges of Emergency and Mutual Responses
Facilitator(s): Elizabeth Paulsen, Sr. Emergency Management Administrator, NV Energy

Planning and logistical challenges when preparing for, or responding to, emergencies will be discussed.

9:15 AM - 9:45 AM

Contractor Spotlight: Fire DAWG
Facilitator(s): Elizabeth Paulsen, Sr. Emergency Management Administrator, NV Energy
Speaker(s): Julie Quigley, CEO, Fire DAWG

9:45 AM - 10:15 AM

Networking Break

10:15 AM - 11:30 AM

International Emergency Response Resources and Challenges
Facilitator(s): Nick Labadie, Senior Vancouver Island Manager, BC Hydro

Effective onboarding, use of resources and considerations for international emergency response and aid will be discussed.

11:30 AM - 12:45 PM

Networking Lunch

12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Emergency Response Handbook and Mutual Aid Playbook Examples and Best Practices
Facilitator(s): Joanna Stelzig, Public Relations Manager, Tillamook PUD

Showcase of response handbooks and playbooks by attending utilities and ensuing roundtable to discuss to effectively put together handbooks that can be used in emergencies and given to responding utilities. Discussion will also include best practices.

1:45 PM - 2:15 PM

Contractor Spotlight: Tempest Energy
Speaker(s): Rachel Lupo, Director of Customer Relations, Tempest Energy

2:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Networking Break

2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Under Fire: Are Infrastructure Attacks the New ‘Major Event’?
Speaker(s): Nicholas Austin, Vice President, Consultancy & Managing Director, North America, UMS Group Inc.

Physical attacks on electric and utility infrastructure have become a growing concern for utilities in recent years. These types of attacks can include vandalism, sabotage, and even terrorism, and they can result in significant damage to equipment and infrastructure, as well as interruptions to power service. We’ll discuss industry trends and responses, and anticipated regulations at the state and federal level that may result from these attacks.

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Open Roundtable + Hot Topics

4:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Closing Remarks and Adjourn

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Operations Conference Welcome Reception

All ERAP participants are invited to attend.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 947-9784 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) Operations Conference (ERAP attendees need to mention the Operations Conference) to receive a special rate of $209 USD/night plus tax. Please note that there is a $19 resort fee per night which covers a range of hotel amenities. See resort website for more information. This rate is guaranteed until April 4, 2023 or until the WEI room block is full.

Program Sponsors

Thank you to our program sponsors!

Meet The Speakers

John Padilla

Salt River Project

Emergency Management Program Manager

Nick Labadie

BC Hydro

Senior Vancouver Island Manager

Elizabeth Paulsen

NV Energy

Sr. Emergency Management Administrator
Learn More

Liz is a University of Nevada, Reno graduate and continued on to get her Master’s degree in Emergency Management. She is also a Nevada Certified Emergency Manager (NVEM), Certified Emergency Manager (CEM), and Project Manager Professional (PMP). She started work in the Emergency Management field at Washoe County Emergency Management as a Program Assistant responding to emergencies impacting the community. After spending three years at Washoe County, she then transitioned into the private sector and started working at NV Energy in Emergency Management in 2017. She has coordinated and been involved with numerous all-hazard full-scale exercises and activations on both the private and public side of Emergency Management. Liz has also been the main Mutual Assistance Coordinator at NV Energy and been on a handful of responses.

Joanna Stelzig

Tillamook PUD

Public Relations Manager

Rachel Lupo

Tempest Energy

Director of Customer Relations
Learn More

Rachel Lupo is currently the Director of Customer Relations and Business Development for Tempest Energy. In this role she is responsible for new client generation, strategic customer management, and operational performance for utility services including storm response, emergency planning and business continuity services, and specialty projects. Prior to her role at Tempest, she worked at Southern California Edison for over 15 years. She led the development of the wildfire mitigation program where she was responsible to establish the program management and execution of all wildfire mitigation projects which constituted ~$1b of annual capital spend. Prior to that, she held several roles across emergency planning and distribution operations, including developing and leading several new company wide programs to meet regulatory, operational, and financial goals.
Rachel has served as a committee member for Edison Energy Institute and Western Energy Institute. She holds a BA in Criminal Justice from Sonoma State University, an MA in National Security from University of New Haven, and an MA in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.

Brandon Allphin

Bolton Holdings

Contracts Manager

Julie Quigley



Shane Hester

Bonneville Power Administration

Supervisory Emergency Management Specialist

Dennis Darling

Portland General Electric

Manager- BCEM

Angelina Gibson

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Vice President of Emergency Preparedness and Response

Lydia Mertyris

Hawaiian Electric Company

Manager, Safety and Emergency Planning and Preparedness

William Brown

Southern California Edison

Senior Fire Management Officer

Joe Weathersby

Arizona Public Service Company

Operations Supervisor

Nicholas Austin

UMS Group Inc.

Vice President, Consultancy & Managing Director, North America

Nancy Sacré

Southern California Edison

Project Manager, T&D Wildfire Program Management