Talent Management (Sep 10-11)

Energy companies face core challenges to recruit, retain, develop and train their workforce. With changing demographics and a need to identify and develop talent from within, successful organizations are careful to invest in proven development programs for individual contributors and managers. This forum brings together employee development and training experts to share case studies and proven best practices.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Jason Gardner, Administrator, Organizational Development, Southwest Gas

    • Program Location
    • Southwest Gas Corporation
    • 5241 Spring Mountain Road, Building C
      Las Vegas, NV 89150
    • Who Should Attend
    • Leaders responsible for organizational development plans, corporate training initiatives and learning programs.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $449 USD

    Registration price includes all Talent Management agenda items and meeting materials. Registration includes a networking dinner on Tuesday evening, as well as catered breakfast and lunch at the meeting. Guest tickets are available for $90 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.

  • 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.
  • For more information contact Amy Nye, Program Manager at (503) 688-2794.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Optional Tour of Emergency Response Facility

Southwest Gas will be giving a tour of their Gas Operations Emergency Response Facility. Round-trip transportation will be provided. Long pants and flat, closed toed shoes are required. Questions? Contact Amy Nye at

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Registration + Networking

Arrive early to network with peers. Light refreshments will be provided.

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Welcome to Southwest Gas

The host utility will welcome us to Las Vegas.

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Facilitator(s): Jason Gardner, Manager, Organizational Development, Southwest Gas Corporation

Come prepared to share a success story or challenge from your latest initiatives as part of our round robin attendee introductions.

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Networking Break

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Change Management
Facilitator(s): Jason Gardner, Manager, Organizational Development, Southwest Gas Corporation

With organizational change failure rates still well over 50%, it might be time to look at change as a philosophy rather than an event. In this session, we’ll talk about the need for a holistic and thorough approach to organizational change to help boost the success statistic. Specifically, we’ll look at how change processes and programs need to be supported by stakeholder engagement, effective communications, and culture. We’ll share tools that can help us plan for any change initiative no matter how large or small, and discuss how to begin implementation back in our organizations.

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Networking Break

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Diversity + Inclusion
Facilitator(s): Tina Drews, Director, Talent Management, Human Resources, Salt River Project

This session will focus on strategies to create a more inclusive culture through best practices in D&I. We will explore how to mitigate bias in the selection process, succession planning, and mentoring programs. Come prepared to share your successes and challenges and collaborate to build a sustainable institutional approach to diversity and inclusion.

5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Networking Dinner

Immediately following the meeting, join us for a WEI hosted networking dinner:

Sparrow + Wolf
4480 Spring Mountain Road
Suite 100
Las Vegas, Nevada

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

7:45 AM - 8:15 AM

Networking Breakfast

Breakfast will be served onsite.

8:15 AM - 9:45 AM

Speaker(s): Fabia Fernandes, HR Consultant, Idaho Power Company, Jonathan Price, Enterprise Learning & Development, Southern California Edison, Krishna Khalsa, Manager, Corporate Learning & Development, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Tina Drews, Director, Talent Management, Human Resources, Salt River Project

Many organizations are looking beyond the 1-day or 1-week onboarding process to develop a long-term plan for new employees to make the most out of their first year and beyond. Hear from four utilities on their onboarding programs, each of which is at a different life cycle stage. 

  • Idaho Power Company recently initiated an effort to evaluate the current onboarding program for new hires. Feedback on the onboarding process and ideas for closing the gaps will be shared.  
  • Southern California Edison (SCE) launched an onboarding program for new hires and new leaders six months ago. SCE’s survey results indicate the needle is moving in the right direction; the program is setting up employees for success.  
  • Salt River Project’s (SRP) model evolved from a 1-day employee orientation to a comprehensive 1-year program designed to educate, engage, and develop new employees. 
  • Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) program has evolved over the past 10-15 years to meet the needs of new hires. Modeled in part after SRP, it takes a four-prong approach to onboarding its employees. 

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM

Networking Break

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Competency Models

In this interactive session, we will discuss the pros and cons of competency models. What's not working? What IS working? What were the pain points in the beginning that led to success now? Each utility should come prepared to discuss their competency models and share their best practices and lessons learned along the way.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Future-Ready Workforce: Preparing for the Impact of the Digital Revolution
Speaker(s): Krishna Khalsa, Manager, Corporate Learning & Development, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Jackie Hallstrom, Sr. Training and Development Coordinator, Seattle City Light

Like all industries, the utilities industry is faced with massive anticipated shifts to how we work, as a result of the impact of digitization. In this session we will explore what the futurists are saying about the impact to the work we do, including Talent Management practices. We will share what we’ve each learned through our research and experience including: How will these changes affect the way we work and the way we learn? What jobs and tasks will be most impacted? How will employees in impacted jobs grow different skills? What specific skills are needed? How do we attract, train, and retain employees in jobs with increasing tech skills in a highly competitive market? How will these changes affect our own HR jobs? How can we better equip employees to make better use of data to make decisions? What other questions should we be asking now to set ourselves up to succeed in the future? Come prepared to join this dynamic discussion by sharing your own ideas and experiences.

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM

Networking Lunch

Lunch will be served onsite.

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Hot Topics Roundtable

This session provides time for attendees to address new topics and elaborate upon previous discussions at the forum. Attendees are encouraged to come prepared with one “top of mind” issue for discussion.

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Wrap Up + Future Planning

Interested in improving our experience? Join us at the wrap-up session to share your thoughts on the forum and help generate ideas for future agendas. This session is also a great starting point for those who wish to volunteer as a planning team member for 2020.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (702) 942-7777 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) Talent Management Forum to receive a special rate of $80 USD/night. Please note that there is also a reduced $29 + tax resort fee in addition which covers internet and Cardio Center access among other resort amenities. This rate is guaranteed until August 12, 2019 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Jason Gardner

Southwest Gas Corporation

Manager, Organizational Development

Krishna Khalsa

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Manager, Corporate Learning & Development

Jackie Hallstrom

Seattle City Light

Sr. Training and Development Coordinator
Learn More

Jackie has over a decade of experience in Learning & Development designing and delivering training programs and learning management system (LMS) administration. At Seattle City Light she is responsible for the design and implementation of the New Employee Onboarding program, the Professional Development program, and Leadership Development. She is also a Cornerstone LMS administrator.

Jackie holds a certification from the University of Washington in Adult Learning and Training Development. Her particular focus is new employee onboarding, leadership development, content curation, and LMS implementation and administration. She has served on the board of her ATD chapter, ATD Puget Sound for several years. In her free time Jackie teaches cooking classes to low-income children to combat hunger and poor nutrition and has directly impacted the lives of over 20,000 low-income children in the Puget Sound region.

Fabia Fernandes

Idaho Power Company

HR Consultant

Jonathan Price

Southern California Edison

Enterprise Learning & Development

Tina Drews

Salt River Project

Director, Talent Management, Human Resources