Project Management + Utilities (Sep 14-16)

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.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Keith Newbern, Puget Sound Energy

    • Program Location
    • Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale
    • 5001 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, Arizona 97204
    • Who Should Attend
      • Project Management Office / Enterprise Project Office Leadership
      • Portfolio Directors and Managers
      • Project and Program Managers
      • Project Coordinators, Schedulers, Analysts, Planners and Controllers
      • Service Company Project Management Leaders and Consultants
  • Registration Options
  • 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.

  • 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. Recording is not permitted for any portion of the event.
  • For more information contact Kris Taylor, Senior Program + Service Company Manager at (971) 930-2033.


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM


We have a few tours that we are working on. There will be an E-Bike tour of Old Scottsdale and McCormick Ranch that will run 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. We are also finalizing approvals for an industry facility tour that will likely also start in the late morning to avoid touring outside portions during the heat of the Phoenix afternoon. WEI will open registrations for the E-Bike tour soon. The details will be announced once they are finalized.

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Hosted Offsite Networking Welcome Reception

Join us in Scottsdale to catch-up with colleagues from across the continent and meet fellow Forum attendees.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Registration and Breakfast

Registration will be in the Paloma Foyer, along with coffee refils and light pastries. Hot breakfast will be provided at the Embassy Suites' Azul Clubhouse.

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Conference Welcome

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

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

Networking Break

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Breakout Sessions

Construction Track: Quality Assurance + Quality Control – Roundtable Discussion

PMO Leadership Track: What is Program Management?
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

Networking Break

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Breakout Sessions

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 it 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.

IT + Analytics Track: Data: Governance + Privacy
Speaker: Jim VanDyke, Enterprise Data Steward, Snohomish County PUD
Data Governance is an integral part of an organization’s data maturity and security.  Come listen to how Snohomish County PUD is implementing its Data Governance program.

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch with Vendor Displays

Each vendor will have a couple minutes to introduce their company and share any new products or services they would like to highlight.

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Breakout Sessions

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
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

Networking Break

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Breakout Sessions

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
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

Networking Break

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

The Transportation Electrification Race to Implementation

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Hosted Networking Reception with Vendors

Friday, September 16, 2022

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

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Networking Break + Hotel Checkout

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Breakout Sessions

IT + Analytics Track: Cyber Security
Speaker: Andru Miller, Senior Security Program Manager – Project Management Office, 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.
Sponsored by Burns & McDonnell

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Networking Break

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Breakout Sessions

Construction Track: Project Management Playbook
Cody Jura, Sr. Construction Project Manager, Portland General Electric

IT + Analytics Track: Data Cataloging Demo

12:15 PM - 1:00 PM

Wrap Up Meeting and Planning for 2022 Project Management Forum

Open to all attendees, especially those interested in helping to plan the 2023 Project Management + Utilities Conference. Lunch will be provided.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • 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.

Vendor Displays

Registration Options
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

Shipping Information
Western Energy Institute
Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale Resort
Corey Keith
5001 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250

Packages should arrive no earlier than four days prior to the conference start date.

Onsite Safety + Health Info

It is WEI’s policy that anyone attending a WEI-hosted program be vaccinated for COVID-19. This policy does allow for a negative COVID-19 test to be submitted in lieu of vaccination if the attendee is unable to receive the vaccine and if permitted by local host cities or venues. This policy applies to all WEI staff, as well as attendees, guests, speakers, and exhibitors.

Fully vaccinated is defined by the United States or Canadian governments. WEI accepts the following as proof of vaccination: (1) a CDC or Provincial-issued vaccination card, (2) a photo of a CDC or Provincial-issued vaccination card (front and back); (3) a document of vaccination from a licensed healthcare provider; or (4) a digital vaccine record issued by the State or Province in which the attendee resides.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test means a printed document or image on a phone from a test provider, laboratory, or government agency-approved at-home test method that shows a negative result of a PCR or antigen COVID-19 test within 72 hours before first entry.

Attendees must show a picture or document with vaccine status or a negative test result upon arrival at the program. Attendees without the required proof will be denied entry. No refunds will be given if any attendee is denied entry due to vaccine and/or testing requirements.

Please refer to WEI’s Safety + Health Code of Conduct for other important considerations.

Program Sponsors

Thank you to our program sponsors!

Meet The Speakers

Cody Jura

Portland General Electric

Sr. Construction Project Manager

William Myers

Mitsubishi Power Americas

Senior Director of Hydrogen Projects
Learn More

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 Nel

Puget Sound Energy

Senior IT Project Manager
Learn More

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 Reidt

Avista Corp.

Sr Manager Generation Project Delivery

Krystal DeBruine

Great River Energy

Manager, Transmission Project Management Office
Learn More

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 Lam

BC Hydro

Division Manager: Work Planning & Portfolio Services
Learn More

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

Salt River Project

Project Lead- Communications Design
Learn More

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

San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Fire Risk Mitigation Program Manager
Learn More

Willie Thomas has been with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) for over 18 years and has held various positions of increasing responsibility. In his current role as Electric System Hardening Program Manager, Willie is managing a number of projects and programs aimed at reducing or eliminating the fire risk and public power safety shut-off (PSPS) in SDG&E’s electric distribution system. He previously managed the flagship hardening program formerly called the Fire Risk Mitigation (FiRM) program and was tasked with replacing aged and high-risk overhead distribution infrastructure in the fire prone areas of San Diego County and southern Orange County, California. Prior to his current position, he spent five years in Distribution Engineering as a switch engineer then as a team lead managing the underground and overhead construction standards. He also spent nearly six years in the Transmission Engineering and Design section, first as a team lead managing the engineering and design of major transmission capital projects and customer & government relocations, then as manager of the section. Willie has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is a registered professional electrical engineer in the State of California.

Jeffrey Miller


Principal | Strategy and Transactions
Learn More

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.