WEI’s Project Management + Utilities Conference brings together gas and electric utility industry 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. It has three separate tracks: PMO Leadership, Construction, and IT + Analytics.
Member: $549 USD
Regular: $849 USD
Registration prices increase $100 after August 23, 2022. Registration includes full conference access and materials. Guest tickets are available for $150 and allow for 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.
For vendor registration, please see the Vendor Displays tab.
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
E-bike Tour of Old Scottsdale and Historic McCormick Ranch
E-bike Tour of Old Scottsdale and historic McCormick Ranch
Come join WEI for a guided late morning ebike tour of Old Scottsdale and historic McCormick Ranch. With over 30 points of interest, you'll see million dollar waterfront homes, Arizona lakes, views of Camelback, McDowell and Mummy Mountains, Arizona canals, major league baseball fields, 100 acres of pristine green space, fun tunnel underpasses that we ride in, PGA rated golf courses, the Grove in the exclusive neighborhood McCormick Ranch, unique Sonoran Desert botanicals, prairie dogs and even bald eagles. But that's not everything, there's more. The ride will travel on the World-Class-Gold-Level rated bike path known as the Greenbelt, no riding on the streets. This creates a much more relaxing and stress-free vacation-style-experience. If you like beautiful scenery, this tour is perfect for you!
E-bike beginners are welcome, you don't have to be a skilled rider. It is easy and fun, you can pedal as much or as little as you'd like. You and your tour guide you will easily travel between 15 – 20 miles in 2 hours and your guide will take care of you from start to finish. You'll use their audio system to hear your tour guide's safety instructions and historical narration, and stop for interesting photo ops.
$90 per person
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Join us in Scottsdale to catch-up with colleagues from across the continent and meet fellow Forum attendees.
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Registration and Breakfast
Registration will be in the Paloma Foyer, along with coffee refills and light pastries. Hot breakfast will be provided at the Embassy Suites' Azul Clubhouse.
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
The conference chair welcomes the attendees to Scottsdale and the 2022 Project Management + Utilities Conference.
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Energy Transition for US Utilities – Charting a Clean Energy Future
Speaker(s): Jaideep Malik, Senior Director | Strategy & Transactions, Ernst and Young LLP
This presentation will provide an overview of recent energy and utility industry trends – with a particular focus around decarbonization and clean energy – along with the corresponding grid management, technology, and regulatory/policy drivers and implications.
9:30 AM - 9:45 AM
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Construction Track: Electric System Hardening: A Long-Term Wildfire Mitigation Strategy at SDG&E
Speaker: Willie Thomas, Electric System Hardening Program Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric
Since the destructive San Diego County wildfires in 2007, SDG&E has been on a journey to predict, prevent and combat wildfires within its service territory that include all of San Diego County and the southern half of Orange County.
Each year since 2007 SDG&E has focused on short, medium and long-term efforts that reduce the likelihood of another catastrophic wildfire. The longest and most ambitious is SDG&E’s Electric System Hardening (ESH) efforts that are transforming the integrity, resiliency and reliability of the electric grid, which includes replacement of wood poles with steel, replacement of old overhead conductor with new conductor, and the undergrounding of a significant portion of its 4kV and 12KV distribution network throughout its High Fire Threat District (HFTD). At the heart of the ESH effort is SDG&E’s Wildfire Next Generation Model (WiNGS) – a risk-based mitigation algorithm that helps determine the optimal hardening strategy.
PMO Leadership Track: What is Project Management?
Speaker: Jacob Reidt, Sr Manager Generation Project Delivery, Avista Corp.
How well understood is the role of project management in your organization? Do company leaders have adequate knowledge of project management to lead your project team to success? Do project team members have adequate understanding of project management to support your efforts? Is your organization following PMBOK best practices for identify the various project positions? Have project engineers been labeled as project managers with no formal training? If these questions resonate with you this track is for you!
Sponsored by Burns & McDonnell
10:45 AM - 11:00 AM
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Construction Track: Quality Assurance + Quality Control – Roundtable Discussion
Speakers: Michael Caraway, Technical Services Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric; Ray Riemann, Senior Project Engineer, PowerEngineers; Nick Cullen, Division Manager, Aldridge; Chuck Woodard, Sr. Project Manager / Estimator Major Projects, Wilson Construction
This year’s QA/QC session will utilize a roundtable approach to identify the value, lessons learned, project health, and key QA/QC collaboration points to improve your project management tool chest. Our panel features three leaders from diverse organization who will share their QA/QC insight.
IT + Analytics Track: Accelerating Analytics Maturity Through Data Literacy Programs
Speaker: Devon Yeager, Data Strategy & Analytics Consultant, Snohomish County PUD
Come listen to how Snohomish County PUD is accelerating their corporate analytics maturity since the launch of their data literacy program: Analytics University. Learn how education in Analytics, Data Architecture, Data Governance, and Data Science has empowered staff to bring analytics to their work groups and processes and how its popularity has it expanding in 2023.
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
IT + Analytics Track: Puget Sound Energy Data Enablement & Enrichment Program
Speaker: Chaim Nel, Sr. IT Project Manager – IT Strategic Project Manager, Puget Sound Energy
Puget Sound Energy’s Data Enablement & Enrichment Program is an Enterprise program to improve our ability to manage and govern our data, establish a data-centric, data-driven culture, and enable the business to access, manipulate, and analyze data to deliver improved decision making, operational efficiencies, new insight, innovation, and opportunities. The session will discuss the governance of the program and how are we validating return of value on an ongoing basis for the program.
PMO Leadership Track: Fast Tracking Projects: Rigor without Rigidity
Speakers: David Avalos, PSEP Project & Execution Manager, Southern California Gas Company; Chris Ciaccio, Project Lead- Communications Design, Salt River Project
How do you fast track a project? During this session we will explore the idea of rigor without rigidity to meet customer driven or regulatory driven projects that are fast tracked. As utilities, we have a process to move our projects forward, but are often challenged to deliver a project on a quicker schedule to meet the needs of some of our key stakeholders. We will explore how some utilities are doing this successfully.
Sponsored by Burns & McDonnell
2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
2:45 PM - 3:45 PM
Construction Track: Project Showcase: Mitsubishi Power Green Hydrogen Project in Utah
Speaker: William Myers, Director of Hydrogen Projects, Mitsubishi Power Americas
Mitsubishi Power will present on the project management challenges and plan for their innovative Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in Utah. This large utility-scale project will produce and store green hydrogen for multiple uses by industry and is the largest green hydrogen project in North America.
PMO Leadership Track: Data-backed Decision Making
Speakers: Scott Roberts, Project Management Improvement Program Lead, Seattle City Light;Travis Rogers, Senior Director, Slalom
Guts vs. data, which one should we rely on? And what happens when data presents a different perspective that what we are expecting? In this session, our speakers will share their experience on how to encourage organization to use data to inform their decisions. Some of the topics discussed will include how data is being collected and reported, improvement of data accessibility, and how data is presented to be useful. For any initiative to be truly effective, we need users to adopt and champion. We will discuss the often important, sometimes overlooked, aspect of organizational change management on how to increase adoption rate quickly.
Sponsored by Burns & McDonnell
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Preparing for an Electric Transportation Future
Speaker(s): Tony Perez, Sr. Energy Innovation Analyst, Product Development & Strategy, Arizona Public Service Company
With new EV models entering the market and the associated increase in energy demand, utilities will be faced with new challenges and opportunities regarding customer EV adoption and grid integration. Hear from Arizona’s largest investor-owned utility, APS, on how transportation electrification is shaping their strategy with the goal of optimizing the benefits that EVs can bring their customers and the communities they serve.
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Hosted Networking Reception
Reception,then dinner on your own.
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Hot breakfast will be provided at the Embassy Suites' Azul Clubhouse. Coffee refills and light pastries will be provided in the Paloma Foyer.
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Cybersecurity is for Everyone Panel
Moderator(s): Dan Rueckert, Vice President - Strategy, Sheffield Scientific
Panelist(s): Chris Britsch, Senior Manager, Data Strategy and Analytics, Snohomish County PUD, Nicolas Laurent, Cybersecurity Program Supervisor, Southwest Gas Corporation
Data used to be a decision making tool, but now it can be a weapon. The potential risk of weaponizing data is altering utility risk assessments, contractor choice, data governance best practices and even org charts. Cybersecurity measures and data governance decisions now impact day to day project management practices. Come learn more about how two utilities are wrapping security concerns into portfolio management.
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Networking Break + Hotel Checkout
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
IT + Analytics Track: Cyber Security
Speaker: Corbin Jarms, Principal Security Engineer, Avista
Our operational technology networks (SCADA) are becoming more of focus for cyber attacks and therefore require more protection. But they are difficult to update so effective change management can be very difficult in a such an important environment. This session will provide a basic understanding of the operational technology (SCADA) systems and address common issues with change management in a SCADA environment along with some strategies for working through those issues.
PMO Leadership Track: Our Resource Management Journey
Speakers: Krystal DeBruine, Manager, Transmission Project Management Office, Great River Energy; Anders Lam, Division Manager: Work Planning & Portfolio Services, BC Hydro
This session will share the Resource Management approach of 2-3 organizations, their experience, approach, challenges, and future vision. This session will include an interactive Q+A session where attendees and presenters can share their thoughts and challenges. An interactive attendee survey will help us get an idea of peer organization's experiences within this space and support a facilitated discussion that will help us all advance in Resource Management.
In addition to the presentations, we will wrap up with an engaging Q/A session. Last month, the planning team surveyed peer PMOs regarding their experiences in the Resource Management space. Feel free to review the survey results and bring your questions to the Q/A session: https://www.surveymonkey.com/stories/SM-bV7n4PQO1aQMr_2BDeqPxQgA_3D_3D/
Sponsored by Burns & McDonnell
11:00 AM - 11:15 AM
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM
Construction Track: Project Management Playbook
Speaker: Cody Jura, Sr. Construction Project Manager, Portland General Electric
The Portland General Electric (PGE) Project Management Playbook (Playbook) establishes a framework by which the Project Management Office in the PGE Transmission and Distribution (T&D) organization manages capital projects. This framework is built around seven stages in a capital project lifecycle, and defines the workflow, key deliverables, the tools, templates and forms that are used, and the roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders in each stage.
The key objectives for this Playbook are to:
Improve PGE T&D’s ability to plan, engineer, design, construct and deliver capital projects on time, on budget and within scope and quality requirements.
Establish a project management practice, including people, process and tools to achieve this through collaboration with project management stakeholders.
IT + Analytics Track: Tools of Data Governance – The Data Catalog
Speaker: Katina Fischer, BI Data Engineer, Clark Public Utilities
In this session we will discuss what a data catalog is and where it fits within the overall structure of a data management/governance program. We will take a look at the key features of a data catalog, what typical data management issues they help address and what to keep in mind when choosing a solution platform.
12:15 PM - 1:00 PM
Wrap Up Meeting and Planning for 2023 Project Management Forum
Open to all attendees, especially those interested in helping to plan the 2023 Project Management + Utilities Conference. Lunch will be provided.
Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 362-2779 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) and use the discount code ‘WEI Project Management + Utilities’ to receive a special rate of $164 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until August 23, 2022 or until the WEI room block is full.
Member Conference Registration + Vendor Display: $849 USD
Regular Conference Registration + Vendor Display: $1,449 USD
Registration prices increase $100 after August 23, 2022. Conference Registration + Vendor Display registration includes meeting attendance for a main Vendor Display representative, one (1) 6′ skirted Vendor Display table and all display times.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Contact Kris Taylor for additional information.
Vendor Display Schedule
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Set-Up: 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Display Times: 12:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Lunch with Vendors: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Break: 2:30 PM – 2:45 PM
Break: 3:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Reception with Vendors: 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Friday, September 16, 2022
Display Times: 9:30 AM – 11:15 AM
Break with Vendors: 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Tear Down: 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM
Western Energy Institute
Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale Resort
5001 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Packages should arrive no earlier than four days prior to the conference start date.
Effective August 18, 2022, proof of vaccination status or results of a negative COVID-19 test will not be required for admittance into most WEI-hosted programs.
WEI continues to monitor all federal level CDC, Canadian government and public health agency recommendations, as well as local ordinances, as a policy baseline for in-person programs. We encourage all attendees to review the current guidelines related to isolation and precautions prior to traveling to a WEI event, as well as guidance for traveling to and from Canada, which may differ from guidance for traveling to or from the United States.
Some WEI-hosted programs may require proof of vaccination status, if essential for participation, in which case WEI will communicate this requirement in advance of the program start date.
Please refer to WEI’s Safety + Health Code of Conduct for other important considerations.
Cody Jura is a Senior Construction Project Manager for Portland General Electric where he oversees the permitting, scoping, design, and construction of transmission, substation, and distribution projects. He spent several years as a designer, engineering lead, and project manager for numerous transmission projects at HDR Engineering. Prior to working at Portland General Electric, he also worked as an EPC Project Manager for transmission and substation projects at PAR Electrical Contractors in the Pacific Northwest. He earned his bachelor’s in General Engineering from Montana Tech of the University of Montana.
Bill is the Senior Director of Hydrogen Projects for Mitsubishi Power – Americas. He spent the first 32 years of his career working on traditional power and energy projects from the Architect/Engineer side, Owner side (IPP and Utility), and finally the OEM side when he joined Mitsubishi Power in 2013. Bill has spent the past 2+ years on a team conducting the company’s FEED and validation efforts on hydrogen generation and bringing the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project to Full Notice to Proceed and into execution.
Chaim is a Project/Program Manager with 26 years experience in SAP, of which 19 years was as a Project/Program Manager, with 13 years in Utilities and Generation Industry. Chaim has worked most of his professional career with Data Management on projects.
Jacob is a Professional Engineer working in the telecommunications, power, and utility industry since 1997. He has held positions with Seattle City Light as a Production Engineer, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories as an R&D Engineer, Avista Communications and Avista Corporation as an IT Engineer and Manager, and currently serves as the Senior Manager of Project Delivery for Generation Production and Substation Support. He grew up in Spokane, graduating in 1997 from Seattle University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and earned his MBA in 2017 from Gonzaga University. Outside of work, Jacob enjoys visiting his cabin near Newport, WA, volunteering with local civic and arts organizations, and playing piano and guitar. He lives in a Spokane with his wife, with two grown daughters off at college (at least for now!).
Krystal graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Construction Management. She started her career working commercial construction developing bid estimates and scheduling, then moving to Great River Energy’s IT group as a project scheduler and project manager. Since 2014, Krystal has been working in Great River Energy’s electric transmission project management office as a project manager and now manager of that same group.
Anders has a graduate degree specializing in Econometrics (statistical analysis of business data). He started his career at Accenture which included several years working in data migration and report development for IT projects. He then worked at TELUS as the Manager of Business Intelligence before joining BC Hydro where he has had various roles including Performance Management Lead, Safety Analytics Manager, and his current role where he manages the Resource Strategy Management (RSM) team, among other functions.
Christopher Ciaccio is a Project leader for Salt River Project (SRP) where he oversees the Distribution Design group for Customer Requested new Business Projects. Christopher holds a Bachelor of Applied Management from Grand Canyon University and an Associates in Computer Aided Drafting and Design for ITT tech. With 16 years in the Electrical utility field, Christophers experience combines five years in the construction field building distribution lines, drafting design plans, Design Consultant for customer requested projects, managing projects, and creating/updating project management processes within the organization. Prior to SRP Christopher served four years in the United States Marine Corps as an Aviation Ordnance technician.
Willie Thomas is an experienced engineer and manager who has been with San Diego Gas & Electric since 2004 and has held a number of positions with increasing responsibility. He first went through an 18-month rotational engineering program, spent five years in distribution engineering as a switch engineer and then served as team lead of construction standards. He spent five years in transmission engineering as a team lead and manager and over the last five years as a Program Manager of Electric System Hardening with a focus on overhead construction. He has overseen the permitting, design, engineering, and construction of numerous Transmission and Distribution infrastructure replacement projects throughout SDG&E Service territory since 2011. Willie earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2004 and is a registered Professional Engineer in California since 2006.
Jeff Miller leads EY-Parthenon’s Americas Power & Utilities (P&U) Strategy practice. During his 25 years consulting to energy and utility companies, Jeff has helped his clients execute on transformation efforts addressing generation transition and deployment of renewable assets, cost and operational performance improvement, Energy Delivery capability development, innovation, advanced analytics, and electric vehicle infrastructure.
He has published articles and has spoken at numerous industry conference on topics ranging from energy industry transition, the levers of long-term value, and the capabilities required of the future distribution utility.
Jeff received his MBA from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Michael Caraway is currently the Technical Services Manager for San Diego Gas & Electric. Michael is responsible for developing, advocating, and leading innovative quality assurance and quality control programs and engineer support to advance quality and engineering achievement. Michael leads a team of Qualified Electric Workers (QEWs), engineers, and project managers who provide constructability reviews, post construction inspections, and data analytics to support SDG&E’s strategies, business plans, and objectives.
Travis is a Senior Director for the Data & Analytics, Technology Enablement, and Cloud Practices at Slalom. He is focused on providing clients with impactful technology and data solutions with over 20+ years of experience working in Enterprise IT and Consulting. He provides strategic guidance in enterprise architecture, data modernization, and digital transformation.
Scott Roberts, PMP, has over 25 years of project management experience in the public sector. He has developed and implemented project management methodologies for multiple utilities. He is currently working to build a modern data culture at Seattle City Light, working with Power BI and enterprise data systems to provide visibility and insights into project and program performance.
David is an experienced engineer and project manager who has been with the Southern California Gas Company since 2003 and has held several positions with increasing responsibility. Notable roles have been Planning/Design Supervisor, Measurement & Regulation Supervisor, System Integration Project Manager, and currently the Pipeline Enhancement Safety Plan (PSEP) Project & Execution Manager where he has been directly involved since 2014. Areas of expertise are pipeline replacements, hydrotesting, valve automations, small facilities such as NGV stations, and Commercial/Industrial gas facilities. David earned Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering (CSULB) and Mathematical Sciences (UCSB), along with an MBA. He also earned a professional certificate in Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (VillanovaU) of which he attributes much of his career success.
Chris has spent 22 years contributing and leading the analytics operations and driving the data and analytics strategy.
Nicolas Laurent is the Supervisor Cybersecurity Program for Southwest Gas Corporation and leads the cyber governance function including it security awareness program, risk management, and security architect. Prior to Southwest Gas, he worked for Deloitte & Touche as a financial and IT auditor. He received a MAcc (Accounting Information Systems) and BS (Accounting) from Brigham Young University and MBA (Finance) University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Devon has spent 3 years contributing to the advancement of analytics and is the program lead for the Analytics University.
Ron Jenssen is the Vice President of Program Development for POWER Engineers where he is involved with the development, management, and overall success of major programs. He specializes in managing the numerous resources required for major projects, from initial planning to final closeout activities. During his career as a project manager, he was responsible for all aspects of managing engineering projects from conceptual design to providing final as-built documentation. As project civil engineer, he was responsible for the conceptual and detailed design of underground and overhead transmission design, site design, and foundation design associated with high voltage transmission line and electrical substations. Ron is a Professional Engineer in Nebraska, New York, and Puerto Rico. He earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering from South Dakota State University.
Tony Perez works for Customer to Grid Solutions at APS, Arizona’s largest investor-owned utility. In his role as a Senior Energy Innovation Analyst, Tony develops strategy around APS’s portfolio of transportation electrification products and programs. Prior to APS, Tony developed sustainability and electric vehicle strategies for Salt River Project, a local not-for-profit utility serving the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Tony holds a B.S. in Sustainability and a Master of Legal Studies from Arizona State University.
Chuck Woodard is an experienced and well-respected construction manager, project manager, estimator, and team leader for Wilson Construction. Mr. Woodard brings a personalized approach, innovation and focus on team chemistry to every project. His level of dedication to safety, quality and overall project health are a driving force behind the success of our customers’ projects. With over 15 years of transmission, distribution, and remote radio/cellular experience Mr. Woodard has worked from the Atlantic to the Pacific with significant experience in California, Utah, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii. Mr. Woodard holds dual degrees in Business and Economics and has received professional certificates in Project Management and Construction Management. He resides in Turner, OR with his wife, two boys, and bullmastiff. Mr. Woodard’s hobbies include fishing, hiking, and golf.
An industry veteran with over 15 years of experience, Nick oversees operations for projects by leading, developing, and guiding project managers, regional staff, and field supervisors. His ability to build strong and lasting relationships is a strength both with project teams as well as clients. Starting as an Assistant Project Manager, Nick was promoted over the years to his current position, and is familiar with projects involving drilled shafts, duct banks, foundation solutions, electrical, lighting, fiber optic, and other wiring systems. Nick is adept at pre-job planning and setting up jobs for success focusing on safety and quality. He consistently welcomes challenges when solving project issues and training individuals for future work.
Ray Riemann is currently a Sr. Project Engineers for the Southwest Distribution Services Group at POWER Engineers. Having started with POWER in 2014, he has held a number of different technical and managerial roles in electric distribution. Prior to joining POWER, Mr. Riemann managed the design and drafting teams working on multiple projects with several utility companies for a total of 14 years of distribution experience. Most of his experience is in municipal overhead to underground conversions, cable replacement and system improvements. Ray earned a BSEE from Arizona State University, and is a registered professional engineer in CA, NV, AK, NM and AZ. Most recently he has been involved in fire mitigation projects and is an active member of WEI and CIGRE on fire mitigation groups.
Katina Fischer is a BI Data Engineer at Clark Public Utilities in Vancouver WA. She has been with Clark Public Utilities for over 14 years and has been working in Data Analytics, Data Engineering and Application Development for over 25 years. She has a passion for working with data and helping bring the organizations’ strategic data driven solutions to life.
Jaideep is part of EY’s Strategy and Transactions practice, focusing on the Power & Utilities (P&U) industry. He has ~15 years of experience in strategy consulting and financial analysis in the P&U sector.
Jaideep has a deep understanding of the power and utilities sector value chain. His technical expertise includes financial modeling, equity and asset valuations, utility / power market analysis and other advisory services. He has developed multiple thought leadership reports covering the most strategic P&U industry issues.
Before joining EY, Jaideep worked as an equity research analyst at a top investment bank for 5+ years, covering the US power and utilities sector. He focused on company financial modeling and valuations, analysis of industry and regulatory changes and power market fundamentals.
Jaideep holds an MBA in Finance and a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication.