Human Resources (May 22-23)

This semi-annual program provides a roundtable opportunity for human resource leadership to address contemporary, strategic issues in human resource management. Regardless of company size or structure, energy industry human resource professionals face complex challenges related to recruitment and retention, employee assessment and training, succession planning and maintaining safe and compliant business practices. The program considers strategic inclusions such as collective bargaining agreements, benefits, employee diversity, performance management, compensation policies and change management.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Bryan Cox, VP, Safety and HR Shared Services, Avista Utilities

    • Program Location
    • Avista Corp.
    • 1411 E. Mission Ave.
      Spokane, WA 99252
    • Who Should Attend
    • Participation is restricted to senior leaders responsible for management of human resources functions at WEI energy member companies. The small size of this program encourages open discourse, problem-solving and long-term relationship building.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $449 USD

    Registration includes access to all Human Resources agenda items and meeting materials, a networking dinner Tuesday night as well as catered breakfast, lunch, light snacks, and beverages at the meeting. Guest passes are available for $100 and allow 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.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public.
  • For more information contact Amy Nye, Program Manager at (503) 688-2794.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Registration + Networking

We begin the day at the Jack Stewart Training Center.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Welcome + Introductions

Our chair will welcome us to Spokane followed by individual attendee introductions. Come prepared to share two "top of mind" topics for further discussion at Wednesday's roundtable.

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Networking Break

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Human Performance Improvement
Speaker(s): Bryan Cox, Vice President, Safety and HR Shared Services, Avista Corp., Lorna Klemanski, Managing Director - HR Labor & Safety, Chelan County PUD

The focus of this session is to introduce human performance improvement and put it into context in the utility industry while sharing progress by 2 utilities in implementing HPI. HPI is a philosophy and methodology that grew out of work led by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations to improve plant safety after the Three Mile Island incident in 1979. The collection of practices worked – plant up-time increased, plant public safety was assured and employee safety benefited. Since that time the medical industry, commercial aviation and more recently NERC have embraced HPI as mean of moving closer to – “event free performance."

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Networking Break

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Finding Tomorrow's Energy Workforce: A Shared Discovery + Training Center Tour
Facilitator(s): Bryan Cox, Vice President, Safety and HR Shared Services, Avista Corp.
Speaker(s): Jeremy Gall, Manager, Craft Training, Avista Utilities

This presentation focuses on High School and Community College Pre-Apprenticeships. Spokane Community College and Avista Utilities have formed a unique 26 year partnership to offer an accredited pre-apprentice line school. This program prepares individuals for entry-level positions through classroom and hands-on field training. Avista is also partnering with local school districts to establish an energy pathway for high school students as part of a new initiative from the Washington State Governor. Jeremy Gall, Manager, Craft Training, Avista Utilities, will discuss the expansion of the pre-apprentice program to include a natural gas utility worker track, as well as evolving the program to meet the needs of Avista and the industry. This presentation will be followed by a tour of the Jack Stewart Training Center led by Jeremy Gall.

6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Networking Dinner

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Networking Breakfast

We begin our second day at Avista's headquarters building.

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Tour of Avista's Onsite Clinic

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Facilitator(s): Jai-Anana Elliott, Human Resources Director, Seattle City Light, Bryan Cox, Vice President, Safety and HR Shared Services, Avista Corp.

This time is reserved for attendees to return to "top of mind" topics introduced the previous day.

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Networking Break

9:15 AM - 10:30 AM

Town Hall: Diversity Conversations
Facilitator(s): Sarah Griffin, Human Resources Director, Idaho Power Company

Now that workplace harassment is squarely in the public eye, how do organizations have frank and meaningful conversations around diversity and respect? Sarah Griffin, HR Director at Idaho Power, will share what her organization is doing in this arena. Please come prepared to share specific successes or challenges your organization is facing so all participants benefit from each other’s expertise and experience on this sensitive topic.

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Networking Break

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Job Specific Competencies: Developing the Workforce for Success
Speaker(s): Robert Nichols, Senior Director of Human Resources, Salt River Project

In this session, Robert Nichols will share Salt River Project’s new company-wide initiative to implement job specific competencies supporting employee development and improving two-way communication. He will discuss the importance of incorporating the “Find your Five” program into all aspects of the employee life-cycle including; performance reviews, goal setting and improving the ongoing interaction between manager/employee to help each person be successful in their jobs.

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

Lunch + Fall Planning

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 228-9290 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $139 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until April 27, 2018 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Jeremy Gall

Avista Utilities

Manager, Craft Training

Bryan Cox

Avista Corp.

Vice President, Safety and HR Shared Services
Learn More

Bryan is the Vice President, Safety and HR Shared Services at Avista. His responsibilities include Safety, Craft Training, Compensation, Analytics and Employee Relations. Prior to this he served as Director, Operations responsible for gas and electric Operations in the West Region and transmission system operations in Avista’s service territory. Prior to his current role he led Avista’s Gas Delivery group. He joined Avista in 1997. He serves in the community volunteering for Boy Scouts of America and is the president of the Avista Credit Union. He makes his home in Liberty Lake, Washington with his wife Ruthie and three sons Luke, Rafe and Grant.

Sarah Griffin

Idaho Power Company

Human Resources Director
Learn More

Sarah E. Griffin was named Vice President, Human Resources in October 2019. Previously, she was Human Resources Director and Human Resources Manager for Idaho Power. She oversees all aspects of Human Resources, including compensation, benefits, employee relations, diversity, talent and organizational development, employee engagement and succession planning.

Griffin has been in Human Resources since 1995 and with Idaho Power since 2007. Prior to Idaho Power, Griffin worked in various human resources roles at Boise Cascade, Delta Dental of Idaho, Thoratec Corporation and NPS Pharmaceuticals.

Griffin has her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah and her Master of Business Administration degree from Boise State University.

In February 2017, Gov. Butch Otter appointed Griffin to the Idaho Personnel Commission. She also serves on various councils promoting workforce development and a diverse talent pipeline in Idaho.

Lorna Klemanski

Chelan County PUD

Managing Director - HR Labor & Safety

Robert Nichols

Salt River Project

Senior Director of Human Resources

Jai-Anana Elliott

Seattle City Light

Human Resources Director