Western Utilities Financial Forum (Aug 27-28)

The Western Utilities Financial Forum, formerly known as the NW Utilities Financial Forum, is a place for senior accounting and finance leaders from around western North America to gather and share best practices related to working in the energy industry. Our leaders play a pivotal role in the strategic direction and growth of their utilities and this forum provides a unique opportunity to come together in an exclusive peer to peer environment to address challenges and explore best practices in all issues related to accounting and financial management.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Jardon Jaramillo, Controller and Assistant Treasurer, Portland General Electric + Chris Dunning, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Bonneville Power Administration

    • Program Location
    • World Trade Center - Portland, Oregon
    • Building 2 - Mezzanine Level
      25 SW Salmon Street
      Portland, Oregon 97204
    • Who Should Attend
      • Chief Financial Officers
      • Controllers
      • Senior leaders in accounting and finance
  • Registration Options
  • Forum Registration: $199 USD

    Registration provides access to all Western Utilities Financial Forum agenda items and meeting materials. Registration includes a networking reception on Tuesday evening as well as catered breakfast, lunch, light snacks, and beverages at the meeting.

  • 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, August 27, 2019

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Welcome Reception

We will kick-off our time together with a WEI hosted networking reception at the Sixth + Main Building, 3rd Floor Lounge, 1050 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204. Light refreshments will be provided; dinner is on your own. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

8:00 AM - 8:45 AM

Registration + Networking Breakfast

Arrive early to register and network with peers over breakfast.

8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Speaker(s): Jardon Jaramillo, Controller and Assistant Treasurer, Portland General Electric

The host utility will welcome the group to Portland.

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Chief Financial Officers Panel
Moderator(s): Olga Darlington, Partner, National Practice Leader, Power & Utiliteis, Moss Adams LLP
Panelist(s): Michelle Manary, Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer, Bonneville Power Administration, Jennifer Davidson, Chief Financial Officer, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Jim Lobdell, CFO, VP Finance, Portland General Electric

We will start the day with a moderated panel discussion on the current challenges and opportunities in finance and the energy industry.

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Networking Break

10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Sessions

This time is designated for attendees to get to know their peers through introductions and facilitated roundtable discussion. Come prepared to discuss "top of mind" issues and challenges that you and your team are currently experiencing. There will be three sessions to choose from based on your role at your utility:

  • Chief Financial Officers   
  • Controllers   
  • Accounting Managers (divided into 4 groups):
    • Financial Reporting: those responsible for properly and accurately recording all financial transactions that result in monthly financial statement preparation and other financially related reports.
    • Technical Accounting: those responsible for the application of accounting principles and the research and implementation of new accounting standards (FASB and GASB).
    • Closing + Automation: those responsible for processing invoices, reconciliation for the monthly close process, and those interested in discussing how AI and automation will share the future of accounting.
    • Asset Management + Plant Accounting: those responsible for accounting for all fixed assets – categorizing, unitizing assets, retiring and depreciating assets.

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM

Networking Lunch

Lunch will be provided onsite.

12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

How Finance is Responding to Disruption
Speaker(s): Kyle McNamara, Director, Power & Utilities Consulting, KPMG LLP, Matt Marcelia, Director Controller & Principle Accounting Officer, Puget Sound Energy

Business model disruptors are changing the demands of finance, and finance as we know it will be radically different in 10 years. Innovation is playing an increasing role in disruption through different lenses including extreme automation, advanced analytics, a shift toward the cloud, and talent management. Hear how leading finance organizations are adapting their agendas to address the digitization of the business, and how one utility is leading the pack by laying the foundation in process, technology, and people and beginning the shift toward cloud-powered finance.

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Networking Break

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Accounting Standards
Speaker(s): Jonathan Steinberg, Manager, PwC

This interactive session will give attendees the opportunity to gain deeper insight into current accounting and reporting hot topics in the industry. This presentation will cover items relevant to companies in the utility sector, including the new FASB goodwill and leasing standards, CECL, Cloud computing and current areas of focus for the SEC, in addition to an overview of upcoming GASB Standards.

3:00 PM - 3:10 PM

Networking Break

3:10 PM - 4:10 PM

Energy Policy Updates + Emerging Trends
Speaker(s): Arne Olson, Senior Partner, E3

Arne Olson, Senior Partner at E3, will provide his perspectives on three major trends affecting the future of the utility industry: Policy, Technology, and Democracy. Policy refers to the increasing role of public policy preferences in shaping the future of the industry; for example, decarbonization and the move to cleaner energy sources are changing the operations of the grid in fundamental ways. Advances in Technology are occurring on many fronts, but particularly in the areas of clean energy sources and the application of Big Data to energy operations. Democracy refers to the move toward decentralization of decision-making. Consumers and locally-based organizations increasingly desire to control their own energy future, requiring adaptation from vertically-integrated and centralized utilities. Arne will conclude with some thoughts on how the themes tie together and the opportunities they create for utilities. 

4:10 PM - 4:15 PM


Hotel + Travel

  • Located on the banks of the Willamette River, featuring spectacular views of Mount Hood, the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront is within walking distance of top downtown attractions. As a guest here, you are in the middle of it all from concerts and local culinary experiences to jogging, biking and kayaking at Waterfront Park. Portland State University is just down the street. When you're hungry, our Energy Star-certified hotel features tasty cuisine with an artisanal flair. Truss Lounge & Bistro is known throughout downtown Portland as an inviting neighborhood hotspot popular for a local brew, wine, or handcrafted cocktail. Active guests can stay fit in our 24-hour fitness center or step outside and enjoy a refreshing run along the Willamette River. Business and leisure travelers alike will enjoy our well-appointed guest rooms with flat-panel TVs and luxurious linens. And with over 44,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, our downtown Portland hotel gives business events a truly unmistakable flair.
  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (877) 901-6632 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) Western Utilities Financial Forum to receive a special rate of $209 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until August 13, 2019 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Jennifer Davidson

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Chief Financial Officer
Learn More

Jennifer Davidson was named Chief Financial Officer in 2017. Reporting to the CEO and GM, she oversees the accounting, treasury, and pricing departments and is also responsible for enterprise and commodity risk management, strategic planning load research and forecasting, enterprise performance management, and developing SMUD’s budget.

Ms. Davidson joined SMUD in 2006 and previously served as Director of Budget, Enterprise Performance and Risk Management. Before joining SMUD, Ms. Davidson held management positions with investor-owned utility Southern California Edison and software services provider Amdocs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Michelle Manary

Bonneville Power Administration

Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer

Arne Olson


Senior Partner

Jardon Jaramillo

Portland General Electric

Controller and Assistant Treasurer

Kyle McNamara


Director, Power & Utilities Consulting

Matt Marcelia

Puget Sound Energy

Director Controller & Principle Accounting Officer

Jonathan Steinberg



Jim Lobdell

Portland General Electric

CFO, VP Finance

Ann Santilli

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Chief Financial Officer

Olga Darlington

Moss Adams LLP

Partner, National Practice Leader, Power & Utiliteis

Thomas Peterson


Managing Director
Learn More

Tom Peterson is a Managing Director with KPMG LLP’s Management Consulting practice focused on the Power and Utilities sector. He is based in Los Angeles. Mr. Peterson has more than 35 years of experience providing financial, operational, regulatory consulting, business process outsourcing services, accounting services and cost management services to electric, gas, water and wastewater investor-and government-owned utilities and telecommunications companies.

Prior to joining KPMG LLP, Mr. Peterson was a Senior Director at Alvarez & Marsal and also held various Vice President positions at Black & Veatch, Inc. including Strategic Services, Sales & Marketing and U.S. Regions. He also spent several years as a Managing Director at BearingPoint in their utility management consulting practice. He began his career and spent over 20 years at Andersen initially as an auditor and later as a consultant in their Business Consulting practice.

Mr. Peterson is a Board member of the Western Energy Institute and actively participates in key activities and has served as the Chairman of the Service Company Committee for the past 3 years.

Mr. Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.