Gas Utility Fundamentals + Insights – WEI Hosted – Virtual (May 17-18)

This program provides utility and service company employees with a broad understanding of how the gas utility industry works and a better awareness of their own roles within their organizations. Topics include (1) Extraction + Pipelines, (2) Distribution Operations, (3) How Utilities Make Money, (4) Customers + Usage, (5) Regulations, Codes, and Safety, and (6) Emerging Issues. The class is delivered virtually over two half-days and in a one-day format at the WEI office in Portland, Oregon. WEI member companies may also host a customized on-line or in-person course exclusively for their own employees to provide a unique, individualized training experience. Contact WEI for more information.

Register Now

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Eric Christenson, Director of Program Curriculum + Analytics

    • 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
    • Wondering if this course is right for you or your staff…

      • Are you new to the energy industry?
      • Have you worked in just one or two areas of the organization?
      • Are you looking for a broader perspective of the gas business and emerging issues?
      • Do you work for a service provider to the energy industry who wants to learn more about your customers' needs?

      If the answer is yes to any of these, this course was designed for you.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $399 USD
    Regular: $599 USD

    Registration prices increase by $100 after May 6, 2022. This interactive course is delivered virtually over two half-days. A course binder will be mailed directly to participants upon request.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to the uniqueness of this course, registration cancellations received within nine business days prior to the first day of class will be ineligible for refunds.
  • 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 Eric Christenson, Director of Program Curriculum + Analytics at (971) 303-2118.


All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

GoToMeeting Open for Participants

The GoToMeeting will open at 8:30 AM in the morning. Please join early as we will start the class promptly at 9:00 AM.

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Participant Introductions and Roundtable

Students share their utility industry background and what they hope to learn throughout the day. Please be prepared to share at least one thing you hope to gain from taking this class.

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Module 1: Extraction + Pipelines

– History of natural gas
– Key terms and definitions
– Natural gas sources and production
– Transmission and distribution infrastructure

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM


10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Module 2: Distribution Operations

– Essentials of gas operations
– System planning
– Resource management

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Break for Lunch

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Module 3: How Utilities Make Money

– Types of utilities
– Regulatory bodies
– Financial terms and definitions
– How companies set rates
– Rate-making exercise

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

GoToMeeting Open for Participants

8:00 AM - 8:15 AM

Day 1 Review

8:15 AM - 9:15 AM

Module 4: Customers + Usage

– Consumption
– Gas supply and planning
– Factors that drive natural gas demand
– LNG and CNG

9:15 AM - 9:30 AM


9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Module 5: Regulation, Codes, and Safety

– Federal and state regulations
– Safety incidents
– Integrity management programs
– Public safety messaging

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM


10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Module 6: Emerging Issues

– Infrastructure replacement
– Renewable gas
– Opportunities to grow demand
– Electrification + exports

12:00 PM - 12:15 PM

Q&A and Wrap-Up

We circle back to the original expectations of students to ensure that they were met.

Meet The Speakers

Dave Williams

David Williams - Instructor

Vice President Retired, NW Natural

Vaughn Shosted

Vaughn Shosted - Instructor

Instructor, Gas Utility Fundamentals + Insights
Learn More

Vaughn started his career in 1974 as a utility worker, digging ditches for Mountain Fuel Supply/Questar/Dominion Energy. He worked as an equipment operator, a fabricator/pipeline welder, then went into the Training Department. He was promoted to Region Manager, General Manager and retired from Dominion Energy in 2018 as Vice President of Operations. He now does volunteer work for kids in underdeveloped nations and is active in his church and community.

Vaughn and his wife, Nancy, have been happily married for 46 years and live in West Jordan, Utah. They have two children and six grandchildren.

Eric Christenson

Western Energy Institute

Director of Program Curriculum + Analytics
Learn More

In his role as Director of Program Curriculum + Engagement, Eric’s primary roles are working with WEI Board Committees to ensure key issues are addressed through program curriculum and leading Utility Fundamentals + Insights courses.

Eric also supports overall Member engagement and his teammates with his twenty-plus years’ database marketing experience and skills in data analytics.

Eric joined WEI after seven great years at Portland General Electric. At PGE he developed and managed the company’s Enterprise Risk Management program and worked in several other areas including operations benchmarking, regulatory affairs, fleet services, AMI, and finance.

Prior to joining PGE, Eric developed his skills in a leading internet marketing company and as Manager of Strategy and Analysis at a finance and lending organization.

Eric earned his Bachelors in Mathematics, and Economics, from the University of Oregon. He has served the community as a past President of the Oregon Society of Association Management and Vice President of the Greater Portland Soccer District.

Booga Gilbertson

Self Employed

PSE Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Retired
Learn More

Booga is an experienced senior executive and advisor with a successful record of leading and partnering with stakeholders and teams to achieve great results, innovate and integrate technology and leading practices, navigate disruption, develop people, and a passion for safety. She has spent over three decades in the energy industry and most recently served as COO at Puget Sound Energy, where she was responsible for all facets of electric and gas operations, implementing strategies to modernize and digitize infrastructure and operations, and enable clean energy solutions. She was also responsible for safety operations and culture across the company.

Booga previously served on and chaired the Western Energy Institute board. She also chaired Edison Electric Institute’s National Response Executive Committee and served as an American Gas Association peer review executive. Booga has served as a member of the Energy System Industry Consortium Board at Washington State University and chaired the University of Washington’s Electrical Engineering Industry Consortium. Booga’s previous experience also includes labor relations, consumer goods manufacturing and vocational instruction.

Currently, Booga focuses on energy, infrastructure, and enabling strategy, policy, and technology. She also serves as an independent board director for a leading green hydrogen company. In addition to instructing for WEI, Booga is a speaker on leadership and professional development at university, industry and leadership events.

Booga holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington, a Master of Business Administration degree from City University and is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Data Science.