Operations Business Strategies (Mar 22-23)

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)
  • Mansur Bitar, Director, Distribution, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

    • Program Location
    • Loews Ventana Canyon
    • 7000 N. Resort DriveTucson, Arizona 85750
    • 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: $699 USD

    Registration price increases by $100 after March 7, 2017. Registration includes comprehensive meeting materials and all food events. A guest ticket is available for $125 and is for a personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event.

  • 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.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Welcome and Introductions

1:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Current Challenges and Opportunities Roundtable

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

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM


Arc Flash Incident and Learnings

Gary Donald of FortisAlberta will present a case study on an arc flash incident.

Primary Contact Incident

Gordon Nottell of ENMAX will go over some learnings from a primary contact incident.

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Safety Roundtable

Gary Donald of Fortis Alberta will kick of the Safety Roundtable discussion with a presentation on Arc Flash learnings.

5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Welcome Reception and Dinner

Thursday, March 23, 2017

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Employee Development through 5-Minute Foreman

Mike Schmit, NorthWestern Energy, and Gary Donald, Fortis Alberta will present the use and effectiveness of 5-Minute Foreman for their respective companies.

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Survey on Labor Agreements

Bryan Cox, Avista, will present the results of a survey on Labor Agreements (Trends and Directions) followed by discussion on the subject.

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM


Contractor Safety Management

Dan Koch, Puget Sound Energy, will present on Contractor Safety Management.

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Workforce Roundtable

Jeff Borders, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, will lead an open discussion on topics including electronic work systems and field mobility and automation.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Operational Roundtable

Michelle Vargo, Seattle City Light, will lead an open discussion on topics including safe driver monitoring, LIDAR use, and vegetation management.

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Infrastructure Roundtable

Ben Hendry, Idaho Power, will lead an open discussion on topics including open air switches and EPZ grounding.

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Brainstorm Topics for Fall Meeting

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Reception (dinner on your own)

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 234-5117 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $189/night. This rate is guaranteed until March 7, 2017 or until the WEI room block is full.