Operations Business Strategies – Electric (Oct 02-03)

Designed for electric utility executives, participants engage in best practice roundtables to address electric distribution system and substation reliability and safety. Members share benchmarking and performance study results spanning safety, workforce management, infrastructure improvements and overall performance excellence. The small size of this program provides a unique environment for collaborative thinking, open discourse and building long-term relationships.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Dan Rizzo, Seattle City Light

    • Program Location
    • Kimpton Sawyer Hotel
    • 500 J Street
      Sacramento, California 95814
    • Who Should Attend
    • Participation is restricted to senior leaders of WEI energy member companies. This strategic forum is designed for vice presidents, directors of electric operations and general managers responsible for maintaining system reliability.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $749 USD

    Registration price increases $100 after September 13, 2019. Registration includes all meals and receptions, and all program materials. Guest tickets are available for $150 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 Beverly Woolf, Program Manager at (503) 688-2790.


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM


Make some time to greet each other and settle in before the program begins at 1 pm.

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Welcome and Introductions

1:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Successes, Current Challenges, and Opportunities Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Dan Rizzo, Director, Transmission and Distribution Operations, Seattle City Light

What challenges and successes are at the forefront of Operations for your company?

2:30 PM - 2:45PM


2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Successes, Current Challenges, and Opportunities Roundtable Part 2
Facilitator(s): Dan Rizzo, Director, Transmission and Distribution Operations, Seattle City Light

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Battery and Vault Incidents
Speaker(s): Bret Marchese, Director, Distribution Maintenance, Salt River Project, Dave Wagner, Director of Line Construction and Metering, Tucson Electric Power, Brian Belger, Network + Substation Operations Manager, Seattle City Light

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Welcome Dinner

Thursday, October 3, 2019

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Labor Strategy Roundtable Discussion
Facilitator(s): Carolyn Loos, Director, Labor & Organizational Performance, NorthWestern Energy

9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Overview of PBR
Speaker(s): Chad Gish, Regional Director, Central, FortisAlberta Inc.

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Wildfire Roundtable
Facilitator(s): David Howell, Director of Electrical Operations, Avista Corp.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Deeper Dive into Successes, Current Challenges, and Opportunities
Facilitator(s): Dan Rizzo, Director, Transmission and Distribution Operations, Seattle City Light

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Infrastructure and Operations Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Dan Rizzo, Director, Transmission and Distribution Operations, Seattle City Light

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM


3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Safety Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Lanny Sawchuck, Director, Line Field Operations, BC Hydro

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Brainstorm Topics for Fall Meeting

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM


There are no formal dinner plans.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 368-2544 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) to receive a special rate of $225 USD/night.

    If you choose to book your room online, please follow the instructions below after clicking on the reservation link above:

    1. Click “Change Search” to adjust dates, number of guests, etc. After adjusting, press blue Search Button. Important step! Change arrival/departure date as needed.
    2. Click your preferred room type.
    3. You will see the “WEI” room block appear. Click the blue arrow.
    4. Complete your reservation info and click “Book Reservation”.

    This rate is guaranteed until September 13, 2019 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Dan Rizzo

Seattle City Light

Director, Transmission and Distribution Operations

Dave Wagner

Tucson Electric Power

Director of Line Construction and Metering

Bret Marchese

Salt River Project

Director, Distribution Maintenance

Carolyn Loos

NorthWestern Energy

Director, Labor & Organizational Performance

Chad Gish

FortisAlberta Inc.

Regional Director, Central

David Howell

Avista Corp.

Director of Electrical Operations
Learn More

I am the current Director of Electric Operations for Avista Utilities since 2016 and have over 20 years of gas and electric utility experience. Current responsibilities include the management and oversight of Avista’s 13 operating districts, construction services and design, as well as the asset maintenance team.

I graduated from Washington State University in 1992 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and earned an EMBA from the University of Washington in 2012. I am a registered Mechanical and Electric professional engineer in the State of Washington. I joined the Company in 2005 after working 5 years with TransCanda-GTN as a Operations Support Engineer. I have held numerous positions at Avista supporting both gas and electric engineering and operations.

I am active in the Spokane community and support several board positions including the Spokane Library Foundation and True Hope Community Church and am a past board member of the Western Gas Measurement Short Course.

Lanny Sawchuck

BC Hydro

Director, Line Field Operations

Brian Belger

Seattle City Light

Network + Substation Operations Manager