Operations Business Strategies – Electric (Mar 21-22)

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 Koch, Puget Sound Energy

    • Program Location
    • Kimpton Canary Hotel
    • 31 West Carrillo Street
      Santa Barbara, California 93101
    • 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 fee increases $100 after February 27, 2018. Registration includes comprehensive meeting materials and all food events. 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.

  • 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 21, 2018

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Welcome and Introductions
Speaker(s): Dan Koch, Director, Electric Operations, Puget Sound Energy

1:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Current Challenges and Opportunities Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Dan Koch, Director, Electric Operations, Puget Sound Energy

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

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

Safety Incident Review
Speaker(s): Dan Koch, Director, Electric Operations, Puget Sound Energy

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Safety Roundtable
Facilitator(s): David Lebeter, Vice President, Field & Grid Operations, BC Hydro

5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Welcome Reception and Dinner

The networking reception and dinner will be held in the Chapala Room.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 8:45 AM

Disruptive Technologies
Speaker(s): Ted Burhans, Director of Renewable Energy, TEP

8:45 AM - 10:00 AM

Technology Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Cynthia Garcia, Senior Director Transmission & Distribution Operations, TEP

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:15 AM

In-sourcing Vs. Out-sourcing Field and Design Resources
Speaker(s): Mansur Bitar, Director, Distribution, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM

Workforce Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Attila Miszti, Director, Line Assets - Design, Construction and Maintenance, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

LADWP/IBEW Local 18 Code of Excellence Focus
Speaker(s): Bill Herriott, Assistant Director Power Transmission and Distribution, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM

Survey Findings on Bargaining Unit Contracts
Speaker(s): David Howell, Director of Operations, Avista Corp.

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Plans for Indoor Substation Fires
Speaker(s): Lanny Sawchuck, Director, Regional Operations, BC Hydro

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Infrastructure/Operations Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Brent Kobelka, Director, District Operations, ATCO Electric, Michael Schmit, General Manager - Construction, NorthWestern Energy

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 use the reservation link below or contact the hotel directly at (805) 879-9158 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $269 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until February 27, 2018 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Dan Koch

Puget Sound Energy

Director, Electric Operations

David Lebeter

BC Hydro

Vice President, Field & Grid Operations
Learn More

Graduating from UBC in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Forest Engineering David spent the first 23 years of his career in the Forest Industry. In 1986 he moved into lumber manufacturing, working and living in several communities in British Columbia. During this time David progressed through mill management culminating as Mill Manager. As Mill Manager he was responsible for all aspects of operation including safety, profitability, customer and product selection. Returning to Vancouver in 1991 David joined the Executive Masters of Business Administration program at SFU, graduating in 1994.

In 2003, on behalf of International Forest Products, David started a wholly owned subsidiary in the People’s Republic of China. The enterprise engaged in manufacturing engineered lumber products for the Japanese and Chinese markets.

In January 2005 David joined BC Hydro as General Manager, Peace River Generation. Over the next two and a half years he held positions of increasing responsibility within Generation. Midway through 2007 he assumed responsibility for Generation Operations. This department was responsible for the safe and efficient operation of BC Hydro’s generation stations, Dam Safety, Asset Management, Environmental & Social Issues and Resource Management.

In November 2010 David joined Transmission & Distribution as the Vice President of Field Operations & Safety. FO maintains, operates, and restores approximately 18,000 kilometres of transmission line and 57,000 kilometers of distribution line in BC Hydro’s service area. As Vice President, David oversees a scope of work that includes distribution service connections, meeting the needs of customers, building new infrastructure, restoring outages, maintaining and operating the distribution and transmission system, including non-integrated areas, and more.

Cynthia Garcia


Senior Director Transmission & Distribution Operations

Mansur Bitar

EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

Director, Distribution

Attila Miszti

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Director, Line Assets - Design, Construction and Maintenance
Learn More

Attila Miszti has passion for heightened business acumen, efficient allocation of scarce resources, and continuous improvement thru innovation within the work environment. Early on, he worked as a Network Engineer for Cal Fed bank and later joined Citigroup as a member of the “mergers and acquisitions” team. His involvement included both pre-merger technology and financial analysis and post-merger data center and systems integration. There he gained experience in both the technical aspects and often contentious and turbulent human factors involved with post-merger integration.

His interest in performance management and creating “metrics that matter” in 2009 led him to pursue an opportunity with SMUD’s newly minted Enterprise Performance Office. In this role he is tasked with creating objective data measures & metrics and fostering continuous improvement by leading innovative business improvement initiatives. Attila has earned multiple IT industry certifications from CompTIA, Microsoft, and Cisco System in addition to a BS in Economics from University of San Francisco and an MBA from California State University of Sacramento.

William Herriott

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Assistant Director Power Transmission and Distribution
Learn More

Employed with LADWP since 1984 working primarily with Power Transmission and Distribution. Began career with Vegetation Management then transferred to Power Distribution. Working positions include the following: Tree Surgeon Assistant, Journeyman Lineman/Lead Cable Splicer, Training Instructor, Electric Trouble Patrolman, Line Crew Supervisor, Overhead Specification Designer, District Superintendent, Safety Superintendent, Personnel Manager, Section Manager, Assistant Director.

David Howell

Avista Corp.

Director of Operations

Lanny Sawchuck

BC Hydro

Director, Regional Operations

Brent Kobelka

ATCO Electric

Director, District Operations

Ted Burhans


Director of Renewable Energy

Michael Schmit

NorthWestern Energy

General Manager - Construction