Women are traditionally underrepresented in the energy industry, with an extreme disparity continuing into both leadership and trade positions. This program addresses some of the opportunities and challenges that women face working in the energy industry and advocates for workplace inclusion and teamwork. Open to both women and men, WEI members will join together for leadership training, education, networking and mentorship. Sessions include executive panels with both males and females, and roundtable discussions on internal support for inclusion. With a growing emphasis on cross-functional teams and diverse skill sets, this program will support utility directives to build a cohesive workforce.
Women and men in all facets of the utility are encouraged to join us for this dynamic conversation. If you have an interest in this capacity for yourself or your employees, we invite you to join us.
Member: $599 USD
Regular: $1,198 USD
Registration prices increase $100 after October 4, 2017. Registration includes meeting materials, two receptions, two breakfasts, and one lunch. 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.
12:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Networking Tour of SDG&E Escondido Lithium Ion Battery Storage Facility
Tour the SDG&E Escondido Lithium Ion Battery Storage Facility.
Tour the world's largest lithium ion battery storage facility in Escondido, CA. The 30 MW, 120 MWh facility is capable of serving 20,000 customers for 4 hours. Join us for a private tour of this leading edge facility.
Registration will open over the summer as the details are confirmed.
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Old Town Trolley Sightseeing and Networking Tour of San Diego and Coronado
Tour the City of San Diego and the Island of Coronado on a private two hour Old Town Trolley tour. The tour leaves from our hotel and includes Horton Plaza, the Historic Gaslamp Quarter, the Island of Coronado, Balboa Park, Little Italy, Old Town State Park, the Embarcadero along the Harbor next to the USS Midway & Maritime Museums, and Seaport Village . More information is provided on the Networking tab.
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Sponsored by: Sensit Technologies
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Breakfast + Registration
Sponsored by: Henkels & McCoy, Inc.
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
Welcome + Conference Overview
Speaker(s): Erin Boyd, Manager, Measurement, Data & Analytics, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Our chair will welcome attendees and share important announcements.
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Speaker(s): Sue Kelly, President and CEO, American Public Power Association
Where is the energy industry headed? How do we not only adapt, but remain one step ahead rather than two steps behind? How are the proposals and actions of the new administration likely to impact our efforts to move forward? Sue Kelly, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association and one of Washington’s “Most Powerful Women” in 2015, will share with us her perspective on these questions, the latest in Washington, DC, and how we can make a lasting impact on the industry and our careers.
9:30 AM - 9:40 AM
9:40 AM - 10:40 AM
Managing Policy & Politics from the Left to the Right and Everything in Between!
Facilitator(s): Britt Bachtel-Browning, Senior Counsel, Avista Corp.
Speaker(s): Maura Brueger, Director, Government & Legislative Affairs, Seattle City Light, Rosalie Barcinas, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Infrastructure Licensing, Southern California Edison, Sharmila Swenson, Manager, Local Government Affairs and Public Policy, Puget Sound Energy
10:40 AM - 11:00 AM
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Battery Basics: Banking on Benefits
Facilitator: Jessica Matlock, Director of Government Relations, Snohomish County PUD
Speaker(s): Jason Zyskowski, Interim Sr. Mgr. Substation, Metering & Telecom Services, Snohomish County PUD, Cristi Thomas, Senior Project Manager, Solar PV, E.ON, Kelly Kozdras, Senior Electrical Engineer, Puget Sound Energy
The panel will discuss the planning, installation, operation and use cases of several utility battery energy storage systems. Lessons learned from the projects will be shared as well as discussion about technology and standards.
Riding the Wave: Navigating the waters of innovations to meaningfully engage in the energy transition
Speaker(s): MIchelle Cathcart, Vice President of Transmission System Operations, Bonneville Power Administration, Curtis Kirkeby, Fellow Electrical Engineer, Avista Utilities, Maggie Alexander, Western Region Development Manager, Smart Wires
Smart Grid. Internet of Things. Distributive generation. Grid edge. If you work in the utility industry you've likely heard of these terms and initiatives but what does it all mean, and more importantly, what does it mean for you and your business? Join this roundtable to hear different perspectives on enabling the varying hardware, software and business innovations that are increasingly enabling smarter, better connected infrastructure that will revolutionize the electric power grid.
12:15 PM - 1:15 PM
1:15 PM - 3:15 PM
Working Across Generations
Facilitator(s): Monica Edwards, Manager, Operations Planning West, TransCanada GTN & North Baja Systems
Speaker(s): Lillian Tsai, Diversity & Inclusion Trainer, Coach, Speaker & Consultant, TsaiComms, Alisa Blum, Corporate Trainer, Facilitator, Leadership Coach, Author & Speaker, TsaiComms
We currently have three generations of employees in the workplace, with a fourth generation beginning to enter the workplace. Each generational cohort has unique communication preferences. This two-hour workshop will help participants understand the communication preferences of each generation, learn strategies to bridge these differences and how to develop more productive relationships at work.
3:15 PM - 3:30 PM
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Sponsorship vs. Mentorship: Which one fits your career development?
Facilitator(s): Stephanie Smith, Business Systems Solutions Specialist, FortisBC
Speaker(s): Tim Swanson, Director, Information Systems, FortisBC, Kristin Stathis, Vice President, Customer Service Operations, Portland General Electric, Nancy Arroyoavila, Manager, Gas Technical Curriculum Development, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Annette Gardiner, Vice President of Gas Strategic Development, Itron, Inc.
We’ve all heard about the benefits of mentorship while navigating our careers. However, what is sponsorship? In this session, senior leaders will discuss the differences between mentors and sponsors, how to organically create these relationships, and when to use them in your career development plan.
4:45 PM - 6:00 PM
Reception on the pool deck. Appetizers will be served.
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
No-host Dinner (optional)
No-host dinners where conference attendees are welcome to join pre-arranged groups walking to nearby restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter or Seaport Village. See welcome email for additional information on the no-host dinner.
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Keeping Up with the Times
Facilitator(s): Kim Bailey, Manager of Customer Service, Sensit Technologies
Speaker(s): Sheri Givens, President, Givens Consulting, Robin Lunt, Of Counsel, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer, LLP, Rachel Petersen, Chief of Staff to California PUC Commissioner Liane Randolph, California Public Utilities Commission
In today's increasingly tech-focused era, how can an uber-traditional and heavily regulated industry keep up with technology demands in a way that appeases the increasingly engaged consumer, attracts top talent who may otherwise consider employment with the Googles and Facebooks of the world, and continue to attract the investment that is needed to further transform the industry – all while keeping the lights on.
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
9:15 AM - 10:15 AM
Energy – The New Lifestyle
Facilitator: Erin Boyd, Manager, Measurement, Data & Analytics, Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Speaker(s): Uzma Siddiqi, Principal Electric Power Systems Engineer, Seattle City Light, Suzanne Figy, Products and Services Manager, Avista Utilities, Kate Doll, Director of Customer Success, Enervee, Laura Weiss, Senior Experience Design Advisor, Slalom Consulting
You’ve heard it a million times by now – the utility industry is being disrupted, our business model has been turned on its head, utilities are a dinosaur waiting to die. While not to be entirely disputed, the industry has stepped up to the challenge that customers are no longer interested in buying just electrons, but rather a lifestyle. This panel will discuss how the industry is responding to these new demands, provide insights and strategies on creating new products and services that offer customers the lifestyle they’d like, and enable attendees to more easily navigate the path from concept to reality.
Cyber Threats are Real: Coping with the Hacking Future
Facilitator: Carol Butler, Corporate Performance Director, Seattle City Light
Speaker(s): Jessica Matlock, Director of Government Relations, Snohomish County PUD, Bryce Hilsmann, Supervisor, Operations Technology and Security, FortisBC, Kristen Worosz, Senior Advisor, Products and Services, Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center
The next decade will see enormous growth in cyberspace. More people, more devices, more connectivity, more data. This will offer opportunities and risks, especially related to cyber security. This session will examine the future of cyber security and the challenges utilities face trying to balance privacy with open access to information.
10:15 AM - 10:30 AM
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Negotiation Tactics and Alternate Methods to Handle Difficult Situations
Facilitator(s): Leah Loebach, Transmission Department Manager, Burns & McDonnell
Speaker(s): Leslie Duke P.E., Group President, Burns & McDonnell
The Art of Negotiation. Negotiation is a method to reach an agreement by resolving differences through creativity. This session will help you recognize how frequently we all negotiate, how vital preparation is to negotiate successfully and how to create a ‘win-win’ for both parties. We will discuss tactics and methods to handle difficult situations.
11:30 AM - 11:45 AM
11:45 AM - 12:15 PM
Join the Program Development Team to share feedback and brainstorm ideas for next year’s symposium.
Please contact the hotel directly at (619) 230-8955 to reserve your room, or click the link below to reserve online. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $239/night. This rate is guaranteed until October 4, 2017 or until the WEI room block is full.
Networking Tour of SDG&E Escondido Lithium Ion Battery Storage Facility
12:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Registration Fee: $50 USD
Tour the world’s largest lithium ion battery storage facility in Escondido, CA. The 30 MW, 120 MWh facility is capable of serving 20,000 customers for 4 hours. Join us for a private tour of this leading edge facility.
Security clearance: The final day to register for the tour will be Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 in order to complete all security clearances. Please remember to bring a photo ID on the tour.
Attire: Use your best judgement to select clothing for an operational facility. Closed toed shoes are required. The tour will be approximately 1.5 hours outside. It is expected to be around 70 degrees, clear and sunny for the tour. Consider a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses depending on the forecast at the time of departure.
Refreshments: Be sure to eat a good lunch on your own before you meet up to depart on the tour. Light snacks and drinks will be provided by SDG&E onsite.
Old Town Trolley Sightseeing and Networking Tour of San Diego and Coronado
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Registration Fee: $60
Tour the City of San Diego and the Island of Coronado on a private two hour Old Town Trolley tour. The tour leaves from our hotel and includes Horton Plaza, the Historic Gaslamp Quarter, the Island of Coronado, Balboa Park, Little Italy, Old Town State Park, the Embarcadero along the Harbor next to the USS Midway & Maritime Museums, and Seaport Village.
Refreshments: Be sure to eat a good lunch on your own before you meet up to depart on the tour. Water will be provided on the trolley.
WEI reserves the right to cancel networking tours if a minimum number of participants is not met.
Sue Kelly has been President and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA) since April 2014. Prior to becoming President and CEO, Kelly was APPA’s Senior Vice President, Policy Analysis and General Counsel. In that capacity, she helped APPA and its members with energy policy formulation and policy advocacy before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), federal courts, and other governmental and industry policy forums.
From 1998–2004, Kelly was a principal with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Miller, Balis & O’Neil, P.C. She represented cooperatively and publicly owned electric utilities and their trade associations, as well as other governmental entities, assisting them with restructuring-related issues before the FERC, federal appellate courts, and state public utility commissions. From 1995–1998, Kelly served as the Senior Regulatory Counsel for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). She represented NRECA before the FERC, state public utility commissions and courts, and served as a liaison from NRECA to many industry groups.
In March 2008, she was appointed to a one-year term on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC). She served a second term on the EAC from June 2012 to April 2014. In 2010-11, Kelly served as President of the Energy Bar Association. In January 2015, she was selected to serve as an associate member on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee. She is currently serving on the Steering Committee of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, a joint industry-government group dealing with cyber and physical security issues. She is also a member of the E Source Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of the Center for Energy Workforce Development.
Kelly is a frequent speaker on energy-related topics. She has given presentations to many industry groups, including the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the Organization of PJM States, Inc., the Energy Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the American Antitrust Institute, the E Source Forum, the United States Energy Association, the Association of Women in Energy and the Harvard Electricity Policy Group. She has also appeared before federal and state administrative agencies, and testified before committees of the U.S. Congress and state legislatures.
Kelly was named one of Washington’s “Most Powerful Women” in the November 2015 issue of Washingtonian magazine in the “Business, Labor, and Lobbying” category. In March 2017, she was honored as Woman of the Year by the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment.
Kelly earned her J.D. degree with high honors from the George Washington University in 1980, and her A.B. degree in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies and Economics, magna cum laude, from the University of Missouri in 1977.
Ms. Brueger is a seasoned professional with nearly thirty years of experience in government relations and external and community affairs in the United States and internationally. In her current position as the Director of Government and Legislative Affairs at Seattle City Light, she manages federal, state and regional government relations as well as city council relations for the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. Other government experience includes directing the Deputy Secretary’s Office at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development from 2009-2010, and twelve years as senior staff to King County Executive Ron Sims in Seattle, WA managing government and community relations for the nation’s 13th most populous county. Prior to her government career, Ms. Brueger worked in international political development, public affairs and political campaigns in the United States and abroad. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science.
For over 15 years, Alisa Blum has combined an in-depth understanding of human behavior with innovative techniques to help organizations develop high-achieving employees. She specializes in Multi-Generational Communication, Attracting & Retaining Top Talent, Strengths-based Management Development, Customer Relations and Performance Optimization. Some of the organizations she has provided training & consulting to include: 3M, Hewlett-Packard, Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, Providence Health Systems,
Tim Swanson has over 33 years’ experience in the utility industry. Prior to his role as Director, Information Systems at FortisBC he held the position as IT Manager at the utility. He is a member of Canadian Electricity Association, Western Energy Institute, and BC Tech; and is a certified Professional Project Manager.
Kristin Stathis oversees PGE’s Operations Services department, where she has oversight of the company’s supply chain, property and facilities, corporate resiliency, security, safety, project management, change management and environmental services programs.
A 25-year-veteran of PGE, Stathis has served in various roles throughout the organization. She previously served as VP of Customer Service Operations, where she oversaw the implementation of PGE’s Customer Touchpoints customer information systems. Other roles at PGE include general manager of Revenue Operations, assistant treasurer and manager of Corporate Finance and general manager of Power Supply Risk Management.
She also serves on the boards of the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities, Marylhurst University, and the Western Energy Institute.
Stathis earned a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University and a certificate in accounting from Portland State University.
Nancy Arroyoavila is a Manager for Gas Technical Training Curriculum Development at PG&E. She has worked in the energy industry for 7 year and has worked in Training and Development for over 20 years. When not traveling abroad, which she does regularly, Nancy spends much of her free time volunteering in her local community. Nancy retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2005 after 20 years of service and is now enjoying the next chapter of her life.
Annette Gardiner joined Itron in September 2016 as its Vice President, Gas Strategic Development. Prior to joining Itron, Annette held leadership roles in the gas utility industry including Vice President at Consumers Energy and President of New Mexico Gas Company.
Gardiner has held leadership positions in engineering, operations, rates and regulatory affairs, and president of a natural gas utility in a career spanning over 25 years.
Gardiner has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University and an Executive Masters of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University. She is a licensed professional engineer in Michigan and New Mexico.
In 2014, Gardiner was awarded the Maverick Award from Midwest Energy Association’s Energetic Women group for advancing opportunities for women in engineering and operating roles in the utility industry. In 2013, Gardiner was inducted into the Academy of Engineers at Michigan Technological University for career achievement.
Jessica joined Snohomish County PUD in August 2006 as the Director of Government and External Affairs. Jessica is also responsible for developing and implementing the PUD’s solar, electric vehicle and demand response programs. Jessica previously worked as an energy and natural resources fellow for U.S. Senator Larry E. Craig (Idaho). Prior to that, she held a number of government relations positions with the Bonneville Power Administration, including that of power marketing specialist (in Washington, DC), constituent account executive for the State of Idaho, and fish and wildlife project manager. She also previously served as a city planner for the City of Portland, Oregon. Jessica was an Advisory Board Member of the Bipartisan Policy Council’s Cyber Security Initiative, represents the Large Public Power Council on the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Team, and is a member of America Public Power Association’s Cybersecurity and Physical Preparedness Committee. Jessica led and organized the three Annual Washington State Cybersecurity Summit’s and the effort to produce the Cybersecurity Guide for the State of Washington Critical Infrastructure.
Jessica holds an MPA from Portland State University and a bachelor’s of science degree in chemical oceanography from the University of Washington. She also served in the United States Coast Guard.
As leader of Burns & McDonnell’s Houston office, Leslie Duke, PE, has played an integral role in launching the firm’s engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) business throughout Texas. Her efforts have led to the development and successful execution of over 100 multi-million dollar projects. During the past 15 years, Leslie has helped to expand Burns & McDonnell’s customer base from one client to more than 100 clients in the industrial, refining, chemical, manufacturing, and utility markets, resulting in more than $1 billion in revenue. She has also played an integral role in the development of multiple large-scale alliance relationships, resulting in approximately
$244 million in repeat, non-competitive project work for
Burns & McDonnell nationally. In addition, she has developed a leadership training program for the firm’s high-potential staff that focuses on maximizing performance via accelerated career training.
Leslie joined Burns & McDonnell in 1999 and served as a regional manager in the Transmission and Distribution group from 2002 through 2009, as well as the operations manager in Houston from 2005 to 2009. In 2010, Leslie moved to Dallas to open Burns & McDonnell’s 10th regional office and helped diversify the firm’s services in the region and expand the company in north Texas. The Dallas and Fort Worth offices specialize in on-site energy design, facilities design, transportation design, environmental services and permitting, and design-build construction services. In July 2012, Leslie returned to Houston as general manager. The Houston office focuses on the design of high-voltage power, refining, chemical, terminal, and pipeline facilities. Additional services include environmental permitting and remediation and construction. Leslie is honored to lead our firm’s largest and fastest growing office, and looks forward to a promising future in the region.
Family is important to Leslie and she credits her father’s leadership and strength through adversity as her most significant influence. She has two children, Justin and Kendall, and spends most of her free time supporting their activities, traveling, and remaining active in her church.
Bryce Hilsmann is the Supervisor of Operations Technology & Cyber Security at FortisBC. Bryce has 25 years’ experience in Information Systems working in Canada and the United States. He has worked for 10 years as a Technical Analyst in the Energy sector.
Sheri Givens is President of Givens Consulting LLC, an Austin, Texas-based energy consulting firm with a focus is on utility consumer education, protection, advocacy, and regulatory policy in electric, gas, and water markets nationwide.
From 2009 to 2013, Sheri was twice appointed by the Texas Governor, and confirmed by the Texas Senate, to lead the Texas Office of Public Utility Counsel, the state’s consumer advocacy agency for residential and small business utility customers representing the state’s 20 million-plus consumers.
She served on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Texas Reliability Entity Inc. (Texas RE) Boards of Directors and the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates. She currently serves on the Association of Women in Energy (AWE) Board of Directors.
Sheri received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
Robin Lunt is an attorney at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP (WBK) her practice focuses on state and federal energy regulation, policy and strategic guidance for utilities and emerging companies in the energy vertical. She brings a pragmatic and strategic problem solving approach to clients that draws on her combination of experience as a policy maker and in the private sector. Her work crosses the spectrum of issues faced by utilities and technology companies in the energy vertical. She advises clients on a variety of issues including Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state utility commission regulatory filings, other state and federal administrative agency actions, the deployment of new technologies into a utility system and commercial contracts and corporate transactional matters.
Prior to joining WBK, Robin worked as the general counsel of a venture backed energy technology company, and before that as a legal and policy advisor to WBK’s Tony Clark when he served as a Commissioner at FERC where she covered western electricity matters, oil and gas pipeline orders and contributed to significant policy making matters. Prior to that, she worked closely with state public utility commissions as the assistant general counsel to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). She started her legal career at a boutique Washington D.C. law firm working on redevelopment efforts for US Air Force BRAC and other contaminated sites and in shaping the US Department of Interior regulations for off-shore wind development.
Kristen Worosz is the Senior Advisor for Products and Services at the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (the E-ISAC) in Washington, DC. Kristen produces and publishes analytical reports that examine cyber and physical security threats to the grid. Prior to joining NERC, Kristen worked as an Intelligence Analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An architect by training, Laura Weiss has successfully applied her design and management skills to a career that addresses the innovation challenges of organizations across the private, public, and social sectors. A skilled consultant and facilitator, she specializes in helping senior leaders and their teams define service design and customer experience strategies as well as the organizational change requirements that make them actionable.
Currently Laura maintains both an independent consulting practice and is a Senior Innovation Advisor at Slalom, a San Francisco consulting firm. Previously she held leadership roles in organizations that range from social enterprise to enterprise software, and was an Associate Partner and practice lead at international design consultancy IDEO.
She holds a B.Arch. with honors from Cornell University, an M.Arch. from Yale University, and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. A lifelong learner, she recently completed a graduate certificate in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies from Champlain College and is a CTI-trained coach.
Kelly Kozdras, PE is a Senior Electrical Engineer in generation engineering at Puget Sound Energy, an electric and gas utility in Western Washington. She has worked in a variety of capacities as an electrical engineer for roughly 13 years and recently completed a MS in Electrical Engineering at University of Washington in the Renewable Energy Analysis Lab with a thesis focused on battery and microgrid dynamic modeling and analysis. In her free time she enjoys travel around the Pacific Northwest and internationally as well as surfing and other sports.
Stephanie has been working with FortisBC for 14 years. She first started in Information Technology before moving into Operations, then Business Planning, before taking on her current role in Assets & Compliance. She has been attending WEI’s WiES since 2015, and has been an active member of the Program Development Team since 2016. Outside of work, Stephanie loves to golf and swim in BC’s great outdoors.
Ms. Loebach is an engineering manager with experience in electric transmission operations, management, design and construction. She supervises a team of professionals focused on the management and execution of transmission projects in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions. She has a strong focus on customer relationships, process improvement, team communication, quality control and mentoring.
Sharmila K. Swenson joined Puget Sound Energy in 2014 and is the Manager of Local Government Affairs and Public Policy. Her prior experience includes work in the public and non-profit arenas serving as Relationship Development Officer for Treehouse – a Seattle area education non-profit, National Political Coordinator for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Operations Director for Governor Jay Inslee’s 2012 transition team and as Deputy Chief of Staff for the 1st Congressional District with a focus on Energy, Education, Transportation and Economic Development.
Sharmila is a Seattle native and holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Washington. She also serves on the boards of Treehouse, the Tacoma-Pierce Economic Development Board, Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy and the Eastside Business Alliance. Sharmila currently lives in Des Moines, WA with her husband and son.