Operations Business Strategies – Electric – Virtual (Oct 06-07)

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.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Tina Yanitski, Director, Distribution, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

    • 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
    • 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: $199 USD

    Registration includes virtual access to all agenda items and digital program materials.

  • 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.
  • For more information contact Jessica Grant, Program Manager at (971) 255-4970.


All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

8:15 AM - 8:30 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.

8:30 AM - 9:15 AM

Welcome + Introductions

9:15 AM - 9:45 AM

Safety Spotlight: Overhead Power Line Contacts + Pyrolysis Effects + Education
Speaker(s): Chad Gish, Regional Director, Central, FortisAlberta Inc.

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM


10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Roundtable Discussion: Real Time Issues
Facilitator(s): Tina Yanitski, Director, Distribution, Electricity Operations, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

What issues are you currently faced with and how are you addressing these? Hear from your peers and exchange best practices during this facilitated discussion. In addition to what you bring to the table, topics will include COVID, remote and flexible work programs, diversity and inclusion in the field, and field to leadership challenges and solutions.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

8:15 AM - 8:30 AM

Virtual Help Desk + Technology Check

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Safety Spotlight: Bucket Issues + Corrective Actions
Speaker(s): Kevin Lalonde, Director, Distribution Operations and Maintenance, SaskPower

9:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Roundtable Discussion: Open Issues
Facilitator(s): Tyler Nice, Electric Division Manager, Eugene Water & Electric Board

Continuing the conversation from Day 1, we will take this opportunity to discuss any open issues not yet covered, such as climate change challenges, joint use strategies, customer experience improvements, and recruitment tactics.

11:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Safety Spotlight: Electrical Contact Incident
Speaker(s): Lanny Sawchuck, Director, Line Field Operations, BC Hydro

11:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Wrap Up + Planning for Spring

Meet The Speakers

Tina Yanitski

EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

Director, Distribution, Electricity Operations

Chad Gish

FortisAlberta Inc.

Regional Director, Central
Learn More

Chad in his Role as Regional Director for FortisAlberta, an Electric Distribution Company, oversees a team of 130 employees responsible for the operations, construction of the distribution system. He is also Responsible for Fortis Alberta’s Construction Contracts and Locates. He brings 25 years’ experience as an Operations Power line Technician and Construction Foreman. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Alberta One Call Corporation

Kevin Lalonde


Director, Distribution Operations and Maintenance

Lanny Sawchuck

BC Hydro

Director, Line Field Operations

Tyler Nice

Eugene Water & Electric Board

Electric Division Manager
Learn More

Tyler Nice is a licensed professional engineer in Oregon as well as a certified Project Management Professional. He has 15 years of experience in the electric utility industry with a combination of experience in electric generation and substations, all from Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB). At EWEB he serves as the Electric Division Manager.