Joint Use – Virtual (Sep 15-16)

As new technology, new regulations and aging infrastructure continue to change the landscape of joint use, it becomes increasingly important for key stakeholders to foster open dialogue and collaborate to solve shared problems, focus on safety goals, and ensure the equitably of poles and other utility assets. Considered the premier joint use conference, content is designed for representatives from utility, telecomm, wireless and broadband companies; as well as consultants and service companies who deal with joint use, pole ownership and attachments. The conference format provides a unique mix of presentations, dynamic power table topics, vendor displays and networking opportunities to exchange information and best practices.

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General Details

  • 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
    • Joint use administrators
    • Right of way managers
    • Asset managers
    • Standards engineers
    • Operations managers
    • Contract administrators
    • Real estate analysts
    • Construction planners
    • GIS services
    • Wireless managers
  • Registration Options
  • Conference Registration: $199 USD

    Registration price increases $100 after August 25, 2021. Registration includes virtual access to all agenda items and digital program materials through the conference app.

    Joint Use 101 will be offered as a complimentary webinar on September 13, 2021. Click here to register now.

  • 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 virtual program. Registrants can receive a full refund should they need to cancel their registration up to the day before the program begins.
  • 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 Diana Zoren, Director of Strategic Initiatives at (971) 255-4965.


Joint Use 101 will be offered as a complimentary webinar on September 13, 2021. Click here to register now.

Mobile app sponsored by:

All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Virtual Help Desk + Technology Check

The room will open early with optional time for participants to get familiar with the virtual platform, test their audio and webcam, or ask questions about the agenda before we begin.

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

FCC Update
Moderator(s): Dave Chaney, Managing Partner, Varasset
Speaker(s): Adam Copeland, Associate Bureau Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, Kirk Burgee, Chief of Staff, Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

The joint use community is facing rapid change as each year brings heavy volumes of small cell and DAS attachments and fiber installations. Updates and changes in FCC policies governing joint use and pole attachments are key for the joint use community to keep appraised of. Come prepared to ask FCC staff your questions and concerns on issues like rural digital opportunity funding and pole attachment policy and enforcement.

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Vendor Share

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Won’t You Be My Neighbor. The Impact of Broadband Funding on the Utility
Moderator(s): Ron Bilodeau, Director Strategic Accounts, Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.
Speaker(s): Wade Boteler, Director of Business Development, National On Demand

Billions of dollars of federal State and local funding and private investment in broadband are being poured out to bring broadband to the areas of the country that need it most. Much of the funding has been awarded through the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). The money is being used to deploy fixed wireless, fiber to the home, 5G and hybrid strategies. The deployments will take place over a short period of time and will impact electric and telco pole owners, existing licensees and the service, equipment and cable segments of the utility industry. This panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities of this next telecommunication construction boom from a vendor, pole owner and licensee perspective.

12:00 PM - 12:45 PM


12:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Everything You Wanted to Know About Utility Make Ready but Were Afraid to Ask
Moderator(s): Patti Rafish, Joint Use / Joint Trench Coordinator, NorthWestern Energy
Speaker(s): Jason Nemjo, Joint Utilities Specialist, Clark Public Utilities, Steve Schulte, Joint Use Administrator, Avista Utilities

With ever increasing activity to further expand the reach of broadband communications it is highly likely that those projects will include replacing, installing or rearranging existing vertical utility assets and infrastructure. Commonly referred to as ‘make ready’, this process can seem a daunting, time consuming and expensive task. Please join our panel of industry experts as they discuss this often-challenging aspect of the joint use process. Topics will include cost, scope, permitting, special conditions, challenges and time for panel questions and answers.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Delivering New Service to Small Wireless Facilities
Moderator(s): Tim Gasser, Consultant, MasTec

As deployment of Small Wire Facilities (SWF’s) ramp up, one of the toughest hurdles to overcome is proving to be power delivery. The reasons are diverse, from building in dense urban areas where utility infrastructure requires (costly) upgrading to utility reluctance for changing practices designed for customers outside of the RoW. This session will discuss the issues and canvas the audience for potential solutions and ideas on how to arrive at smooth, timely and if possible, cost effective practices for delivering service in the RoW.

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM


10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Coordination Process for Emergency or Planned Maintenance
Moderator(s): Tim Webers, Executive Director, NJUNS, Inc.
Speaker(s): Ron Bilodeau, Director Strategic Accounts, Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.

Customer satisfaction is dependent on reliable, resilient networks. Competition in the marketplace, broadband funding and 5G deployments all cause increased pole and conduit congestion. More companies, more and different types of equipment require processes and procedures in place to notify and plan for emergency and planned maintenance. This session will walk through policies, processes and procedures to facilitate timely and accurate notifications, rapid response times and efficient restoration of electric systems and telecommunications networks.

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM


12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Legal Panel Discussion
Moderator(s): Shannon Heim, Director Regulatory Corporate Counsel, NorthWestern Energy
Speaker(s): Tom Magee, Partner, Keller & Heckman LLP, Eric Langley, Partner, Langley & Bromberg LLC, Chris Huther, Partner, Wiley Rein, LLP, Scott Thompson, Partner, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Gerris, Glovsky and Popeo, P., Maria Browne, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

This distinguished multi-industry panel of attorneys will provide you with the opportunity to send questions in advance and openly participate in a stimulating conversation on our industry. Find out from varying perspectives what you need to know about current and impending regulations, recent court rulings and what you must have on your radar.

Program Sponsors

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors!

Thank you to our App Sponsor!

Meet The Speakers

Ronald Bilodeau

Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.

Director Strategic Accounts
Learn More

Ron Bilodeau is a Director Strategic Solutions – Technical Services with Osmose Utilities Services. Ron has more than 35 years of experience in both telecommunications construction and electric utility operations management. Ron earned an MBA and has a Bachelor Degree in Communications and Management from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, he received a Graduate Certificate in Renewable Energy from the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada Reno. Ron teaches Business Classes at the College of Southern Nevada and is a Certified Project Management Professional. In his role he provides solutions and recommendations to the utility and broadband industries on a wide-ranging scope of requirements including joint use, broadband buildout and wireless attachment and collocation programs and processes.

Jason Nemjo

Clark Public Utilities

Joint Utilities Specialist
Learn More

Jason Nemjo is a Joint Utilities Specialist for Clark Public Utilities, a Public Utility District in Washington State. Jason has 19 years of experience coordinating the installation and maintenance of wireline attachments to both Clark Public Utilities and Jointly Owned poles. He has completely restructured the pole application process and is currently restructuring the pole transfer process.

Steve Schulte

Avista Utilities

Joint Use Administrator

Chris Huther

Wiley Rein, LLP


Eric Langley

Langley & Bromberg LLC


Tom Magee

Keller & Heckman LLP


Shannon Heim

NorthWestern Energy

Director Regulatory Corporate Counsel
Learn More

Shannon Heim is the Director of Regulatory Legal Counsel at NorthWestern Energy. She leads a team who manage a myriad of compliance issues and litigate complex regulatory matters at state and federal agencies. Before joining NorthWestern, Ms. Heim enjoyed a robust private law practice focused primarily on telecommunications and cyber security issues. She was appointed by consecutive Minnesota Governors to serve on their Task Force on Broadband. Ms. Heim currently serves as chair of the Public Utility Section of the Montana Bar Association.

Scott Thompson

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Gerris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.

Learn More

Scott serves as Chair of the firm’s Communications Infrastructure Litigation Practice and represents companies and industry associations in a broad range of legal, regulatory, and policy matters involving the deployment of wireless and wireline telecommunications networks. He leverages more than two decades of experience and his in-depth knowledge of the industry to help clients develop strategies for nationwide deployments and resolve high-stakes disputes.
Along with serving as lead counsel in numerous appeals that set precedent on key Communications Act issues, Scott has prevailed in dozens of trial court cases that challenged local government denials of permits and prohibitions of service. His role as a trusted advisor to industry leaders includes representing telecommunications providers and organizations in major policy-setting proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission. He is also frequently asked to speak on legal and policy issues that impact the telecommunications sector.
Prior to joining Mintz, Scott was a partner in the Washington, DC office of a national law firm, where he guided telecommunications clients through complex legal and regulatory matters. Earlier, he served as a partner and an associate at a Washington, DC-based law firm focused on communications law.

Patti Rafish

NorthWestern Energy

Joint Use / Joint Trench Coordinator
Learn More

Patti Rafish is the Joint Use and Joint Trench Coordinator for Northwestern Energy Montana/ South Dakota and is based in Butte, Montana. She is responsible for coordinating all Joint Use contracts, applications, engineering, make ready work required and NESC compliance.

Patti has 16 years of Utility experience that includes Energy Conservation, Market Research and Joint Use and Joint Trench. Patti also had 3 years in the communications industry as the Product Manager for Frame Relay and ATM. Patti graduated from the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology.

Tim Gasser



Timothy Webers


Executive Director
Learn More

Tim has served as the Executive Director of NJUNS, the National Joint Utilities Notification System, since October 2014. Prior to NJUNS he spent thirty years at the Midwest investor-owned utility Ameren, the last eleven as administrator of Joint Use programs.

Adam Copeland

Federal Communications Commission

Associate Bureau Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau

Kirk Burgee

Federal Communications Commission

Chief of Staff, Wireline Competition Bureau
Learn More

Kirk Burgee is the Chief of Staff of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau. In his work for the Bureau, Kirk is involved in matters related to broadband deployment, including

Dave Chaney


Managing Partner

Maria Browne

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


Wade Boteler

National On Demand

Director of Business Development
Learn More

Wade provides National OnDemand a unique
perspective on large fiber projects having
worked with a major provider of fiber to rural
electric cooperatives for 2 years. Wade has
made a measurable impact at National OnDemand
and the rural fiber community through
his dedication to building strong client relationships.