Emergency Response + Assistance Practices – Virtual (Apr 28)

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.

Register Now

General Details

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

    • Program Location
    • Virtual Event
    • No travel required. All agenda times are in Pacific time. Instructions to access the virtual event will be provided to the attendee before the program.
    • 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: $199 USD
    Regular: $299 USD

    Registration provides full access to conference sessions, meeting materials, and roster.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • To best serve WEI members and program participants during the COVID-19 pandemic, WEI will be waiving its standard cancellation policy for this program and all virtual programs through July 2021. Registrants can now receive a full refund should they need to cancel their registration up to the day before the program begins. This applies to both new and existing registrations for virtual programs.
  • 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 Beverly Woolf, Program Manager at (503) 688-2790.


All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Welcome + Introductions
Speaker(s): John Padilla, Principle Analyst - Emergency Management, Salt River Project

Everyone will have the opportunity to discuss current challenges as well as new initiatives and what’s going well at your company.

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

ICS Incident Response: Lessons Learned in the Field
Speaker(s): Kai Thomsen, Director, Global Incident Response Services, Dragos

Looking back over the past 5 months of responding to clients’ industrial cybersecurity incidents has shown that getting the basics right matters more than ever. In my talk I will cover the most important preparation steps to be efficient, effective, and ultimately successful in ICS Incident Response.

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM


11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Administration of Vaccination Efforts
Speaker(s): Lydia Mertyris, Emergency Planning & Preparedness Program Manager, Hawaiian Electric Company, Sara Eder, Benefits Manager, NW Natural, Taras M Sandulak, Manager, Emergency Management & Business Continuity, FortisBC

Each speaker will share the actions their companies are taking as they prepare for and implement COVID-19 vaccinations for employees. Hear about policies and procedures, what each company did differently, lessons learned, and more.

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Portland General Electric/PacificPower Activation
Speaker(s): Jeffrey Bolton, Manager of Disaster and Risk Planning, Pacific Power, Jay Jewess, Manager, Business Continuity & Emergency Management, Portland General Electric

In January and February of 2021, the Pacific Northwest was hit by wind, ice, and the dreaded polar vortex snow. Hear the details of the events and the response to requests for mutual assistance

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM


1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Gas Reliability Preparedness
Speaker(s): Larry Andrews, Emergency Management Manager, Southern California Gas Company

The 2021 Texas Power Crisis resulted in massive electricity outages, but how did it affect natural gas supply to people almost 2,000 miles away?

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Universal Electric Sector ICS Planning and Execution Document
Speaker(s): Todd Simmons, General Manager, Tillamook PUD

Get an update on the initiative, undertaken jointly by the Edison Electric Institute and the American Public Power Association, to develop a universal Electric Sector ICS planning and execution document.

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Social Time

Social distancing doesn’t need to end the socializing. Grab a beverage and turn on your webcams for a time to chat, network, and connect with colleagues and friends.

Program Sponsors

Thank you to our program sponsors!

Meet The Speakers

Todd Simmons

Tillamook PUD

General Manager

Larry Andrews

Southern California Gas Company

Emergency Management Manager

Lydia Mertyris

Hawaiian Electric Company

Emergency Planning & Preparedness Program Manager

Sara Eder

NW Natural

Benefits Manager
Learn More

Sara Eder has been with NW Natural since 2012 where she started in Employee and Labor Relations. In 2017, she moved to the Benefits team and has been the Benefits Manager since 2019. Through her HR experience, Sara has been very involved with the company’s COVID-19 response, including leading its daily screening and out-of-state travel programs and now vaccine task force.

Taras M Sandulak


Manager, Emergency Management & Business Continuity

John Padilla

Salt River Project

Principle Analyst - Emergency Management

Kai Thomsen


Director, Global Incident Response Services
Learn More

Kai Thomsen is Director of Global Incident Response Services at the Industrial cyber security company Dragos, Inc. where he leads a team of analysts in responding to or proactively hunting for threats in customers’ ICS environments.

Prior to his role at Dragos, Inc. Kai was the lead Incident Responder at the German car manufacturer AUDI AG where played a key role in establishing an integrated IT defense team responsible for enterprise IT, ICS, and connected car infrastructure. Before Audi, Kai worked for 14 years in the steel industry for the engineering company SMS group, where he was responsible for internal IT defense as well as responding to threats at customers’ sites.

Kai is also a Certified SANS Instructor in the ICS curriculum. In 2019, Kai received the SANS ICS Cybersecurity Difference Maker Award for the EMEA region.

Jeffrey Bolton

Pacific Power

Manager of Disaster and Risk Planning
Learn More

Jeff Bolton was named Manager of Disaster and Risk Planning for Pacific Power’s Transmission and Distribution Operations in April 2017. In this role, he is responsible for planning, organizing and maintaining the company’s emergency management program. This includes duties such as compliance assurance, preparedness training, exercise planning and advising senior management.

Jeff joined PacifiCorp, parent company of Pacific Power, in 2015 as the Hydroelectric Resources Emergency Services Manager where he was responsible for emergency management, security and public safety in and around PacifiCorp’s hydroelectric sites in seven states.

Prior to joining PacifiCorp, Jeff spent twenty years in the United States Air Force with various assignments in the Security Police career field.

Jeff holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Crisis and Disaster Management from Everglades University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Jay Jewess

Portland General Electric

Manager, Business Continuity & Emergency Management