Western Region Mutual Assistance Agreement (WRMAA) Annual Meeting – Virtual (Nov 02-03)

Nearly 20 years ago the Western Region Mutual Assistance Agreement was adopted by many gas and electric utilities throughout Western North America to support one another in the event of emergencies affecting generation, transmission, distribution, or other business operations. Parties involved in the WRMAA twice annually to share best practices, discuss key emergency response issues, and in the fall, review the agreement itself and name the annual custodian.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Erin Swearingen, Senior Program Manager, Enterprise Business Continuity, Avista Corp.

    • Program Location
    • Virtual Event
    • No travel required. All agenda times are in Pacific time.Instructions to access the virtual event will be provided before the program.
    • Who Should Attend
      • Parties to the Western Region Mutual Assistance Agreement
      • Emergency management coordinators
      • Disaster recovery planners
      • Directors of business continuity planning
      • Managers of emergency preparedness and response
      • Safety specialists
  • Registration Options
  • WEI Member: $199 USD
    Regular: $299 USD

    Registration provides full access to conference sessions, meeting materials, and roster.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • To best serve WEI members and program participants during the COVID-19 pandemic, WEI will be waiving its standard cancellation policy for this program and all virtual programs through July 2021. Registrants can now receive a full refund should they need to cancel their registration up to the day before the program begins. This applies to both new and existing registrations for virtual programs.
  • 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 Beverly Woolf, Program Manager at (503) 688-2790.


All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Monday, November 2, 2020

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Virtual Registration + Helpdesk Open

WEI will host a virtual registration and help desk before the conference begins. Stop in for a visit if you have questions about the agenda or need assistance with the GoToMeeting technology.

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Welcome and Introductions

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Response to the Oregon Wildfires
Facilitator(s): Jay Jewess, Manager, Business Continuity & Emergency Management, Portland General Electric
Panelist(s): Brian Taylor, Manager of Gas Operations (Medford, Oregon), Avista Utilities, Kris Aufdermauer, Operations Manager, Tillamook PUD, Corey Fisher, Consultant, Business Continuity/Emergency Mgmt., Portland General Electric, Rich Johnson, Area Line Manager, Portland General Electric, Kerry Shampine, Sr. Manager, Operations, NW Natural

This year has seen unprecedented wildfires in Oregon. Learn from our panelists how gas and electric utilities big and small are responding to the fires.

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Stretch Break

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Managing Mutual Assistance and COVID
Speaker(s): Mike Fricke, Sr. Mgr., Incident Response, Entergy Services, Inc., Louie Dabdoub, Incident Response, Entergy Services, Inc.

In response to Hurricane Laura, Entergy set up 18 base camps and serviced a workforce of about 24,000 people. Hear how they handled the challenge of managing Mutual Assistance during a pandemic and what lessons they learned.

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Virtual Social Hour

Social distancing doesn’t need to dry up socializing. Grab a beverage and turn on your webcams for a virtual Social Hour! WEI will open a virtual room for people to chat, network, and connect with colleagues and friends.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

WRMAG Business Meeting
Facilitator(s): Erin Swearingen, Senior Program Manager, Enterprise Business Continuity, Avista Corp.

• Updates to Charter
• Updates to Operating Procedures
• Election of Executive Committee members for 2021
• Assignment of the Agreement Custodian for 2021

11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Stretch Break

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Open Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Nancy Monika Sacré, Construction Project Manager, Southern California Edison

We’ll open the floor for any topics of interest. Areas of discussion may include:
• In Case of Crisis app
• Information on Vegetation Management Resources
• Contractors and mutual assistance
• Structure of RMAGs, APPA, CUEA, etc.

12:30 PM - 12:45 PM

Wrap Up

Meet The Speakers

Brian Taylor

Avista Utilities

Manager of Gas Operations (Medford, Oregon)
Learn More

Brian Taylor has 25 years of experience in the utility business and currently works as the Manager of Gas Operations (Medford, Oregon) for Avista Utilities. He started his career in the natural gas industry working for his grandfather in the family owned distribution and maintenance contractor business before he took an entry level position with Avista Utilities. Brian has worked in many craft positions including, Crewman, Journeyman Main fitter, Crew Foreman and Measurement Control Technician before he moved into a formal leadership role in 2006. Brian attended Liberty University and currently serves in a variety of leadership roles within his community. Brian has a wonderful wife Mary Jane and four boys, Benny, Colby, Easton and Hayden.

Mike Fricke

Entergy Services, Inc.

Sr. Mgr., Incident Response

Louie Dabdoub

Entergy Services, Inc.

Incident Response

Kris Aufdermauer

Tillamook PUD

Operations Manager

Jay Jewess

Portland General Electric

Manager, Business Continuity & Emergency Management

Corey Fisher

Portland General Electric

Consultant, Business Continuity/Emergency Mgmt.

Rich Johnson

Portland General Electric

Area Line Manager

Erin Swearingen

Avista Corp.

Senior Program Manager, Enterprise Business Continuity
Learn More

Erin Swearingen is a Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) with over 20 years of experience in business continuity, disaster recovery and emergency preparedness and management. Erin has designed and implemented business continuity programs for various industries including the utility and financial industries.
Erin has been with Avista for over 9 years and has implemented the Enterprise Business Continuity program which includes business continuity, disaster recovery and emergency operations response. She has also developed and implemented emergency response and life safety programs, promoting employee safety, personal preparedness and preparedness education.
Erin currently serves as Secretary-in-Waiting for the Mutual Assistance/Emergency Preparedness Executive Committee for Edison Electric Institute. Erin also serves as the President of the Washington State Chapter of the Association of Continuity Professionals (ACP).

Nancy Monika Sacré

Southern California Edison

Construction Project Manager

Kerry Shampine

NW Natural

Sr. Manager, Operations
Learn More

Mr. Shampine obtained his degree and professional registration in Mechanical Engineering and has spent much of his 36 year career working in support of the Energy sector. During the last 30 years, working for NW Natural, Mr. Shampine has held positions in System Design, Construction Engineering, Pipeline safety Compliance and various leadership positions in Utility Operations. For the last several years, he has overseen the operations of NW Natural’s Transmission Construction, Gas Storage and Gas Control functions. Mr. Shampine has extensive experience as key member of NW Naturals Incident Command team and currently holds the role of Incident Commander. Mr. Shampine has attended Atkinson Graduate School and Leadership Clark County, and served on the Advisory Board for Portland State Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science along with numerous Professional Societies and Leadership Councils.