WEI’s Project Management Forum brings together gas and electric utility project, program and portfolio management leadership and practitioners to discuss the latest industry trends and best practices. The diverse mix of presentations, Q&A panels, roundtable discussions and networking allow attendees to share their experiences and develop contacts in the similar roles throughout the utility industry. Expect to gain applicable insights on methodologies, techniques, tools, and change and risk management best practices related to project management. This program is an excellent professional development and organizational team-building opportunity.
Member: $399 USD
Regular: $799 USD
Registration prices increase $100 after August 20, 2018. Registration includes all meeting materials, opening reception on Wednesday, breakfast and lunch Thursday and Friday, and networking dinner Thursday night. Guest tickets are available for $100 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.
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Walking Tour of Avista's Downtown Spokane Network
Arrive early to join us for a walking tour of Avista's downtown Spokane network including: hydropower plant, substation, and network vault. The tour will conclude at the Steam Plant.
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Welcome Reception at the Steam Plant
Join participants for a hosted networking reception in the heart of downtown Spokane on the roof of the Steam Plant.
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Registration and Breakfast
8:00 AM - 8:25 AM
Speaker(s): Andy Leija, IT PMO Manager, Avista Utilities, Dennis Vermillion, President, Avista Corp.
Avista Utilities welcomes the group to Spokane and the 2018 Project Management Forum.
8:25 AM - 9:30 AM
Working with Project Sponsors + Executives
Moderator(s): Jacob Reidt, Manager, Project Management & Contracts, Civil Engineering & Dam Safety, Avista Corp.
Panelist(s): Mike Cashell, Vice President, Transmission, NorthWestern Energy, John Kasperick, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis, NorthWestern Energy, Mike Broemeling, Director, Customer & Shared Services, Avista Utilities
Hear directly from a panel of utility executives on their experiences working with project managers and best practices for building strong partnerships and strong projects.
9:30 AM - 9:45 AM
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Breakout Sessions #1
10:45 AM - 11:00 AM
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Breakout Sessions #2
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Breakout Sessions #3
2:15 PM - 2:30 PM
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Breakout Sessions #4
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Facilitated Hot Topic Roundtables
We end the day with open roundtable discussions in each track. This is an opportunity for attendees to ask questions directly to their peers for feedback on topics not listed on the agenda.
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
WEI Hosted Networking Reception + Dinner
Join us in The Historic Davenport's Hall of The Doges at 5:00 PM for drinks and at 5:30 PM for dinner.
Sponsored by: Burns & McDonnell
7:30 AM - 8:00 AM
8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
BC Hydro’s PMO Maturity Story
Facilitator(s): Naomi Shankel, Director, Operations Integration, Idaho Power Company
Speaker(s): Dionne Smith, Manager, Project Controls and Standards, BC Hydro
BC Hydro received the PMO of the Year Award from the Project Management Institute (PMI) in 2016. At the time, the PMO had come in under budget overall in the closing of 563 capital projects worth CA$6.5 billion over the previous five years. Additional their PMO was managing 600 projects at a time and was steering a portfolio representing CAD$20 billion in capital investments over the next ten years. Dionne Smith, a leader in the utility’s PMO, will share their experience in maturing their PMO, lessons learned, and ongoing challenges.
9:15 PM - 9:45 AM
Break with Hotel Check Out
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Breakout Sessions #5
10:45 AM - 11:00 AM
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Breakout Sessions #6
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Wrap Up Meeting and Planning for Next Year
Open to all attendees, especially those interested in helping to plan next year's Forum.
1:00 PM - 1:00 PM
The WEI room block at the Historic Davenport is currently full. WEI has secured an overflow block at the nearby Davenport Tower. Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 228-9290 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $149 USD/night, plus a $10 destination fee. This rate is guaranteed until August 27, 2018 or until the WEI room block is full.
Dennis Vermillion serves as the president of Avista Corp. He also holds the position of chairman of the board of directors for Avista Corp. subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company.
Dennis joined Avista in 1985 and has held various staff and management positions. His experience covers a broad range of activities, including leadership, energy trading and marketing, risk management, scheduling, resource operations, power/transmission contracting, resource planning and coordination, regulatory issues and production cost modeling. Previously, Dennis served as senior vice president of Avista Corp. and president of Avista Utilities, vice president of energy resources and prior to that, as president and chief operating officer for Avista Energy from February 2001, until its sale in June 2007.
He is a graduate of Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He currently serves as a board member for Western Energy Institute (WEI) and American Gas Association (AGA) and the Avista Foundation. Dennis formerly served on the board of Spokane County United Way and is a past chairman of the Spokane County campaign
He is a 1985 graduate of Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He is a past Board member for the Spokane County United Way and the Avista Foundation.
Mike is responsible for all of NorthWestern Energy’s electric transmission, substations and natural gas transmission and storage operations. Mike has held his current position since May 2011 and has over 32 years utility industry experience in the areas of transmission system, substations and balancing authority operations, planning and maintenance, hydroelectric and thermal power system operation, independent power production, gas transmission and storage system operation and business management.
Mike received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering Science in 1986 from Montana Tech of the University of Montana and attended the Public Utilities Executive Course at the University of Idaho in 1997. Mike is active in state and regional transmission and energy forums and represents NorthWestern Energy at the Western Electricity Coordinating Council.
Mike is a native of Butte, Montana, where he lives with his wife Kathy. Their daughter Courtney is a teacher in Anaconda, Montana.
Suzanne Tamayo is currently Director of IT Shared Services at Puget Sound Energy (PSE), located in Bellevue, WA. She has many years of practical project and program management experience, and currently has overall responsibility for technology project delivery at PSE.
Mr. Pankratz is responsible for Electric Transmission Engineering, Construction, Project Management and leadership of major projects for NorthWestern Energy’s T&D business unit. This includes the Electric Transmission Engineering & Construction team and a team of Project Managers responsible for major project management.
Tom joined NWE in 1998 and then went on to hold positions of increasing levels of responsibility up to his current role. He attended the Public Utilities Executive course at the University of Idaho in 2017. Prior to joining NWE, Tom worked as an engineering consultant for 5 years.
Mr. Pankratz has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Montana State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Montana and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). In his spare time, Tom enjoys hunting, spending time at the lake with his family and backcountry snowmobiling in Montana.
John Kasperick is the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at NorthWestern Energy. John has been employed at NorthWestern Energy for 25 years, and his responsibilities include annual budget development, monthly forecasting, monthly internal and Board reporting, long-range planning, capital budgeting and reporting, load research, and energy supply mid-office risk management.
John received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance, and a Master of Science Degree in Applied Economics from Montana State University. John is also an adjunct professor of Finance and Economics at Montana Tech of the University of Montana, where he teaches at night. He attended the Public Utilities Executive course at the University of Idaho in 2010.
John lives in Butte and is married with 3 children. He serves on the Community Counseling and Correctional Services (CCCS) Board of Directors, along with the Butte Country Club Board, and the Montana Tech Industrial Advisory Board.
Kevin Christie is vice president, external affairs and chief customer officer for Avista. In that role, he has responsibility for communications, community outreach and philanthropy, as well as customer energy efficiency and conservation activities, and new products and services.
Christie joined Avista in 2005 as the manager of Natural Gas Planning. In 2007, he was named the director of Gas Supply. He was appointed the senior director of Finance in 2012 and named senior director of Customer Solutions in 2014. Christie has extensive experience in finance and the energy industry. Prior to joining Avista, he worked for Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN), where he served as the director of Pipeline Marketing and Development, and as the director of Pricing and Business Analysis.
In addition, Christie has held positions in finance, business analysis, regulatory affairs and revenue accounting for PG&E Corporation, Pacific Gas Transmission Company and Chevron USA.
Christie has a Bachelor of Arts degree with an accounting emphasis from Washington State University. In addition, he completed the Utility Executive Course at the University of Idaho and the Finance for Senior Executives program at Harvard Business School.
Christie serves on the board of directors for the Northwest Gas Association, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Providence Health Care Foundation of Eastern Washington and the Avista Foundation.
Keith Newbern, PMP, CSM, is the Manager, Strategic Project Management for Puget Sound Energy’s Information Technology Shared Services. He has over 30 years’ experience in project and portfolio management, software design, development, and delivery, and consulting services in industries including energy, petro-chemical, manufacturing, telecom, retail and healthcare.