Safety Summit (Sep 26-28)

Safety is a paramount issue within the utility industry. Safety professionals work tirelessly to manage risk, avoid incidents and ensure safety through a variety of programs and initiatives geared toward employees and consumers. This summit is designed for gas and electric utility safety professionals, and spans across three unique, topical tracks: Safety Strategy + Policy, Electric Safety Work Methods, and Gas Safety Work Methods. Content is designed to promote safety culture through discussions related to the education and training that can influence utility operations, as well as address some of the challenges and successes associated with developing strategy. Vendors are encouraged to display.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Dean Battershill, ENMAX; Electric Safety Work Methods Track & Rob Richardson, ATCO Gas: Gas Safety Work Methods Track & Andrea Martinez, New Mexico Gas Company: Safety Strategy + Policy Track

    • Program Location
    • Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport
    • 2500 North Hollywood Way, Burbank, California 91505
    • Who Should Attend
    • • Electric Safety Work Methods – Managers, trainers, supervisors, safety advocates, and team leads responsible for safe work methods and practices among employees. Service company delegates are encouraged to attend.
      • Gas Safety Work Methods – Operations managers at 1st or 2nd level supervision of employees at local distribution or gas pipeline companies, managers responsible for safe work practices among their employees or who implement training on natural gas operations work methods and safety advocates and team leads interested in learning how to best promote safety. Service company delegates are encouraged to attend.​
      • Safety Strategy + Policy – Senior management-level safety professionals from both electric and natural gas who are responsible for developing and maintaining safety policy, culture, and standards. Participation is restricted to senior leaders of utility companies.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $699 USD
    Non-Member: $1,199 USD

    Registration prices increase $100 after August 29, 2023. Registration includes digital materials and access to all event sessions and meals listed on the agenda. Guest tickets are available for $100 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 information, 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 Jessica Grant, Program Manager at (971) 930-2032.


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

3:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Registration Desk Open

The registration desk will open for attendees to pick up their name badge.

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Welcome Reception

Join us for a hosted reception and to pick up your namebage at registration. Dinner is on your own.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM


8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Welcome to Safety Summit 2023

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Keynote: Jo-Ann Pawliw
Speaker(s): Jo-Ann Pawliw, Owner and Founder + Trainer and Coach, Heart of Performance

STOPCHECK™ for Increased Resilience, Wellness and Safety

This evidence-based program delivers a practical “in the moment” skill set to respond dynamically and effectively to pressure, emotional challenge, and change. Whether you want to increase situational awareness in the field, or stress management in the office, STOPCHECK™ delivers.
Twenty years of client results show improved health and performance, fewer absences and reduced anxiety, stress, and depression because of practicing the techniques learned in this program.
Learning Outcomes:
•    Recognize subtle stress signals before they become chronic.
•    Learn the powerful technique of STOPCHECK™ to boost performance, increase resilience, and feel calmer and more focused.
•    Be less reactive, think clearly and make good decisions under pressure.

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Networking Break with Vendor Displays

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Breakout Sessions #1

Electric + Gas Safety Work Methods (Combined)
Attendee introductions & Roundtable
Join us as we learn about each other, what the hot topics are and how utilities are dealing with them.
Facilitators: Rob Richardson, Supervisor Workforce Development – ATCO, ATCO Natural Gas; Dean Battershill, Manager, Safety Operations, ENMAX Corporation

sponsored by Westex: a Milliken Brand 

Safety Strategy + Policy (Utilities Only)
Telling a Convincing Story of Your Company’s Safety Performance    
Join us for an overview of what’s out there to help Safety Leaders paint an accurate picture and tell a compelling and valuable story of the organization’s safety performance to the workforce, its leaders, its contractors and its external stakeholders. Followed by peer discussion and sharing of best practices.
Speaker: Elif Erkal, Senior Associate, Exponent

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Lunch with Vendor Displays

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Breakout Sessions #2

Electric Safety Work Methods
Challenges Related to Distributed Generation and Renewable Energy Sources to Power Utilities    
A 90min panel discussion on challenges related to Distributed Generation and Renewable Energy Sources to Power Utilities with focus on asset reliability / safety and worker safety. The discussion will offer different perspectives on the topic featuring representatives from utilities at different stages of the journey, operators / owners of renewable energy farms or storage facilities, and a regulatory body. The discussion will explore the adequacy of regulations and standards around these establishments and interconnections to the power grid, the steps utilities are taking to ensure asset / grid safety and also safety of its workers on both energized work (with potentially much higher available fault energy) and de-energized work (reliance on disconnect equipment owned and maintained by others). 
Moderator: Wendy Ho, Manager, Human Factors Engineering and Work Methods, BC Hydro
Panelists:  Mark Henry, Director, Reliability Services, Texas Reliability Entity; Tarek Morgan, Operations Engineering Director – Utility Solar and Wind, ENGIE North America; Sharon Morganson, Operations Engineering Supervisor, ATCO Electric; Wade Abbott, Manager Safety & Work Methods, Fortis Alberta; Doug Holden, Trades Training Instructor, BC Hydro

sponsored by Westex: a Milliken Brand

Gas Safety Work Methods
Virtual Reality: Training with Immersive Technology    
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are technological methods for kinesthetic learning or hands-on training. This presentation will demonstrate the technology used to provide the user a customized environment that is fully immersible and free of any hazards that would normally accompany its real-life counterpart. AR/VR also provides data that can be a tool for tracking comprehension and retention of knowledge, highlighting areas within a business that are successful in its operation or areas that may need further focus of training. AR/VR can also be fun, often called ‘gamified training’ and introduces a modern method for engaging learners towards new concepts or tasks.
Speaker: Jennelyn Torrey, Technical Training Coordinator, Intermountain Gas Company

Safety Strategy + Policy (Utilities Only)
Critical Incident Stress Management: Support Your Employees After a Traumatic Event
Description: In this session, you’ll learn how Avista built their CISM program internally by developing a team of Peer Support Members (PSMs) to respond to assist in the needs of employees who have experienced a traumatic event. The PSMs help educate, prevent, and mitigate the effects of high stress incidents among employees. CISM trained employees provide early, post event assistance through supportive listening and confidential engagement as well as referral to professional resources if necessary. The hope is that employees can safely return back to work feeling less stress, and will be better fit to do their work and help customers.
Speaker: Mac Mikkelsen, Hydro Operations and Maintenance Manager – Lower Spokane River + Critical Incident Stress Management Coordinator, Avista Utilities

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Networking Break with Vendor Displays

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Breakout Sessions #3

Electric + Gas Safety Work Methods (Combined)
How Is Mental Health & Pain Impacting Our Workforce: “The Invisible Cost of the Future”
At least 84% of the working population will face a serious mental health challenge over the next year. 50% are experiencing some sort of muscle and joint pain daily. Employees suffering from poor mental health experience four times the amount of unplanned absences and can cost nearly 20% more in health care costs. OSHA estimates the impact of one recordable back strain to be $67,000. A business case for proactively addressing mental health and chronic pain can be made by understanding and measuring presenteeism.

Presenteeism is defined as, “An employee is at work but not as effective as s/he could be due to a related health issue”. This definition considers all health issues that could be affecting the worker. Presenteeism costs can be 3-5 times higher than absence-related costs. Could presenteeism be more of a contributor to SIFs than we realize? How can we address this challenge? Join us to explore this challenge facing every Utility.
Speaker(s): Dr. Joseph Leutzinger, VP Development, headversity; Dr. Kevin Rindal, CEO/Founder, Vimocity

Looking at Safety Differently:  What does good look like?
Let’s play a game and see how many different ways we can look at safety on our projects. You’ll get to experience performing activities in varied environments and exposure to several different challenges and you may even experience failure. But can your team fail safely? Come find out.  In this exercise you’ll be asked to look at safety from many different angles and we will discuss “what does good look like” to you and other professionals in the room. We will explore what good looks like when conducting Jobsite Observations and Pre-job crew safety planning meetings (tailboards or pre-jobs). You’ll work with your team to discuss what looks good to you and you’ll hear what looks good to others; hopefully gaining a new perspective.
Speaker: Bryan Sabari, Vice President of Safety, Training and Compliance, Potelco
sponsored by Westex: a Milliken Brand

Safety Strategy + Policy (Utilities Only)
The Efficacy of Stretching Programs: Panel Discussion
This will be a moderated panel discussion on the advantages and challenges of different pre-work programs to stretch and maintain flexibility. Several Utilities will discuss their experiences with different providers.
Moderator: Charlotte Dorrity, Director, Safety, Health + Wellness, Seattle City Light
Panelists: Daniel Encinias, Program Manager of Safety & Occupational Health, New Mexico Gas Company; Derek Johnson, Director Safety, Work Methods & Training, FortisAlberta; Jen Pearson, Manager of Safety, Avista; Sara McCoy, Director, Risk Management, Salt River Project

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Hosted Reception with Vendor Displays

Thursday, September 28, 2023

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM


8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Breakout Sessions #4

Electric Safety Work Methods
Lessons Learned
Join us as we hear from different Utilities and Service companies on what went wrong this year, what they learned from it and what policies and procedures may have been created in the wake.  
Speakers: Wade Abbott, Manager, Safety Operations, ENMAX; Wendy Ho, Manager, Human Factors Engineering, BC Hydro; Bryan Sabari, Vice President of Safety, Training and Compliance, Potelco; David Coats, President, MoveSafe Inc; Dean Battershill, Manager, Safety Operations, ENMAX

Open Roundtable Discussion
Still have questions, still looking for that one solution to take back with you? This open roundtable discussion time will be open to all attendees to ask questions, bounce ideas off fellow attendees and get clarification on past presentations. 
Facilitator: Dean Battershill, Manager, Safety Operations, ENMAX

sponsored by Westex: a Milliken Brand

Gas Safety Work Methods (Utilities Only)
ATCO Gas' Urban Pipeline Project 
In 2010, ATCO began its Urban Pipeline Replacement (UPR) program as a result of a risk and needs assessment of their system to ensure public safety and improve system reliability. The program involved relocating pipelines from the two largest urban centers into the provinces Transportation Utility Corridor (TUC). Pipelines within the urban centers were transferred to the local distribution company or abandoned in place. Currently all of the major components of the UPR program are complete. An overview of the alternatives to the UPR program will be discussed along with the benefits and challenges of the program
Speaker: Michelle Agar, Manager, Transmission Engineering, ATCO

The Intelis Journey at Southwest Gas
The Intelis meter brings ultrasonic measuring technology to residential metering. Included with it are Distributed Intelligence (DI) components that bring enhanced safety to the edge of systems and capabilities to interact with meters at a remote distance can make “safer happen faster” for customers and employees alike. This presentation will highlight some of the Intelis technologies and then journey through Southwest Gas Corporation’s testing through implementation/use. Points will cover testing, training and rollout methodology, incorporation of our focus on safety, and near-future plans. These meters have been fielded across our service territories in NV, CA, and AZ. The ability to easily incorporate the product with existing technologies and processes have made use and training of this meter a highlight for IT, Risk Management, Field Support, and Field Employees
Speaker: Nicholas Miller, Supervisor/Application Svcs, Southwest Gas; Jeffrey Mohrlock, Specialist/Tech Svcs Support, Southwest Gas; Alex Scarpelli, Portfolio Account Manager, Itron, Inc.

Safety Strategy + Policy Track
Should You Have a Workplace Naloxone Program?
Adding naloxone to first-aid supplies and providing it to employees can be a part of an employer’s strategic health and safety plan but requires consideration of the benefits and risks before making a decision. Join us for a roundtable discussion on the benefits and risks of implementing a naloxone program and the considerations that need to be evaluated to make a decision.
Facilitator: Val Sherman, Deputy Manager – Environmental Health and Safety, Tacoma Public Utilities

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break with Vendor Displays

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

General Session: Panel Discussion + Closing
Moderator(s): John McMahon, Director, Safety & Operational Learning, FortisBC
Panelist(s): Andrea Martinez, Director of Safety/Pipeline Safety Management, New Mexico Gas Company, Rob Richardson, Supervisor Workforce Development - ATCO, ATCO Natural Gas, Dean Battershill, Manager, Safety Operations, ENMAX Corporation

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 228-9290 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) to receive a special rate of $209 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until September 8, 2023 or until the WEI room block is full.

Vendor Displays

Registration Options
Member Vendor Display + Attendee: $999 USD
Non-Member Vendor Display + Attendee: $2,249 USD
Member Vendor Display: $699 USD
Non-Member Vendor Display: $1,749 USD

Prices increase $100 for all registration options, except the Vendor Display Assistant, after August 29, 2023.

Both Vendor Display + Attendee options includes full conference access and includes you as the main vendor display representative with one (1) skirted six-foot vendor display table for Wednesday and Thursday display events, comprehensive conference materials and food events, and attendance in the Gas Safety Work Methods or Electric Safety Work Methods tracks. The Safety Strategy and Policy track is not open to service companies. Arrangements for power, audiovisual equipment, or other supplies may be made by emailing Kris Taylor. Kris Taylor will reach out to you individually to choose your table in the order in which you registered.

Vendor Display Assistant registration is available for $400 USD and is for companies who have already purchased a full vendor registration and would like to add an additional vendor representative for their display table. This registration ONLY includes vendor display access and all food and beverage offered during the conference. It does NOT include full conference access, such as access to General Sessions or breakout sessions.

Vendor Display Schedule
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Vendor set-up available
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM: Reception with Vendor Displays

Wednesday, September 27, 2023
7:30 AM – 9:45 AM: Vendor set-up available
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Break with Vendor Displays
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch with Vendor Displays
2:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Break with Vendor Displays
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM: Reception with Vendor Displays

Thursday, September 28, 2023
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM: Break with Vendor Displays
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Tear Down

Program Sponsors

Thank you to our program and track sponsors!

Meet The Speakers

Jo-Ann Pawliw

Heart of Performance

Owner and Founder + Trainer and Coach
Learn More

Coach • Facilitator • Game Changer

For over twenty years, Jo-Ann has led, developed, and inspired hundreds of individuals and organizations in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, education, and sport.

As a former multi-sport varsity athlete, educator, and business owner, combined with her many years of coaching both executives and elite athletes, Jo-Ann brings a broad range of experiences to her coaching and facilitation.

Trained in leading edge strategies, and evidence-based models from Institutions such as Harvard, HeartMath and The Neuroscience School, Jo-Ann understands the importance of understanding how the brain and the heart work together to influence behavior, manage stress and boost resilience and well-being; all crucial to perform well in today’s world.

Participants in Jo-Ann’s programs praise her for her ability to share evidence-based content and strategies in a way that makes it relevant and relatable for all learners. Her ability to create a relaxed yet highly engaged room, makes for an ideal learning environment.

Jo-Ann has worked with companies in many industries including engineering, healthcare, finance, oil and gas, municipalities, and energy. She has delivered highly impactful programs and keynotes to both small and large audiences across Canada and North America.

In addition to a B.Sc. from McMaster University and an Education degree from the University of Toronto, Jo-Ann has 3 Coaching Certifications with a focus on Emotional Intelligence, Resilience and Emotional Fitness.

Jo-Ann continues to develop her own resiliency by biking in the mountains, while singing very loudly.

Valerie Sherman

Tacoma Public Utilities

Deputy Manager - Environmental Health and Safety

Mac Mikkelsen

Avista Utilities

Hydro Operations and Maintenance Manager - Lower Spokane River + Critical Incident Stress Management Coordinator
Learn More

Mac is the Manager of Hydro Operations and Maintenance at Avista’s Long Lake and Little Falls Dams on the Spokane River, and Team Coordinator for the Critical Incident Stress Management Program. In a previous career he worked as a Park Ranger for Washington State Parks and as a District Security Officer for the US Marshal Service. He serves as a School Board Director for the Nine Mile Falls School District, is a member of the Washington State School Board Director’s Association and the district’s representative for the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association. Mac has a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University and certificated through the Parks Law Enforcement Academy.

Michelle Agar

ATCO Natural Gas

Manager, Transmission Engineering

Nicholas Miller

Southwest Gas Corporation

Supervisor/Technology - Endpoint Support

Jeffrey Mohrlock

Southwest Gas Corporation

Specialist/Tech Svcs

Jennelyn Torrey

Cascade Natural Gas Corp.

Technical Training Coordinator

Kevin Rindal



Elif Erkal


Senior Associate
Learn More

Dr. Elif Erkal is a Senior Associate in the Construction Consulting practice of Exponent. She has a PhD in Construction and Engineering management from University of Colorado Boulder specializing in safety performance measurement and predictive analytics for serious injury and fatality prevention. Her focus is on data and knowledge management systems, predictive analytics, organizational design; providing technical, analytical, operational, and organizational support in various industries including utilities and construction. Previously, she worked in the oil and gas industry as a contracts manager and completed her earlier graduate work in Carnegie Mellon University, which had an emphasis on operational networks, and organizational learning in construction.

Andrea Martinez

New Mexico Gas Company

Director of Safety/Pipeline Safety Management

Rob Richardson

ATCO Natural Gas

Supervisor Workforce Development - ATCO

Dean Battershill

ENMAX Corporation

Manager, Safety Operations

Bryan Sabari

Potelco Inc.

Vice President of Safety, Training and Compliance

Wendy Ho

BC Hydro

Manager, Human Factors Engineering and Work Methods
Learn More

Wendy Ho is the Manager of the Human Factors Engineering and Work Methods team, part of the Safety team at BC Hydro. She is a Registered Professional Engineer with 25+ yrs of engineering experience, 15+ of which in the hydro electric utility. Expertise includes safety risk assessments, human factors, safety by design, and electrical trade work methods. She holds a B.A.Sc and M.Eng degree in Mechanical Engineering (Electro-Mechanical Design Option).

David Coats

MoveSafe Inc.


Mark Henry

Texas Reliability Entity, Inc.

Director, Reliability Services
Learn More

Mark is Chief Engineer and Director, Reliability Outreach at the Texas Reliability Entity, one of six Regions in the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC). Mark’s work focuses on long-term reliability assessments, performance monitoring and disturbance event analysis for the Texas Interconnection. Recent efforts examine impacts and challenges as more variable energy, inverter-based resources are integrated into the changing generation resource mix, accompanied by concerns about resilience in extreme weather conditions. Prior to this role, he developed and managed reliability compliance programs at the ERCOT ISO and held varied assignments in generation, transmission, distribution and control center operations as a utility engineer and supervisor at the Lower Colorado River Authority. Mark is a licensed Texas professional engineer, a Certified Energy Manager, and an electrical engineering graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a certificate in Telecommunication Management from St. Edwards University.

Charlotte Dorrity

Seattle City Light

Director, Safety Health + Wellness

Sharon Morganson

ATCO Electric

Supervising Engineer
Learn More

B.SC in electrical engineering.
• More than 35 years of utility experience spanning from protection and control, substation commissioning, power quality investigations, renewable integration studies to real time Operational support.
• Keeper of ATCO overall RAS (remedial action schemes) and SPS (special protection schemes) list and subject matter expert working with the ISO.
• Currently responsible for real time engineering support which includes determination of DER call downs during load transfers and maintenance activities.

Doug Holden

BC Hydro

Trades Training Instructor

Wade Abbott

FortisAlberta Inc.

Manager Safety & Work Methods
Learn More

Wade Abbott is the Safety & Work Methods Manager for FortisAlberta. With over 25 years of experience in the electrical industry. With an extensive background in construction and operations.

Tarek Morgan

ENGIE North America

Operations Engineering Director – Utility Solar and Wind

Joseph Leutzinger PhD


Vice-President Development

Alex Scarpelli

Itron, Inc.

Portfolio Account Manager

John McMahon


Director, Safety & Operational Learning

Daniel Encinias

New Mexico Gas Company

Program Manager of Safety & Occupational Health

Jenifer Pearson

Avista Corp.

Manager of Safety

Ryan Hoover

Arizona Public Service Company

Manager- Corporate Safety/CAP/HOP

Derek Johnson

FortisAlberta Inc.

Director Safety, Work Methods & Training