Business & Financial Conference

Empower growth through new ideas and approaches to pricing, accounting, risk management, information technology, and human resources.
September 19 - 22, 2021

Empower growth through new ideas

Join us in Denver for APPA's 2021 Business & Financial Conference, the annual meeting for public power professionals in the areas of business and finance, offering 60+ sessions bringing you the latest in:

  • Customer Accounting & Services
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Human Resources & Training
  • Information Technology
  • Pricing & Market Analysis
  • Risk Management & Insurance 

Co-hosted by: 


Click here to view the COVID safety protocols for this event.

Download the Brochure

Click here to view the session schedule.


Register by August 20th to take advantage of the early registration price. Click here for more information. 

Who Should Attend

Bringing together more than 450 public power professionals, the conference is ideal for both industry veterans and those new to the electric utility industry who are interested in professional development and networking.

Conference attendees get the latest information from experts in their fields, learn about the national issues and industry-wide activities and trends that are affecting their communities and utilities, and share experiences and strategies for dealing with key issues and challenges at more than 50 breakout sessions and roundtables.

Conference sessions are designed for utility employees at both the professional and management levels, in the fields of:

  • Accounting and finance
  • Customer accounting and services
  • Human resources and training
  • Information technology
  • Pricing and market analysis

Attendees typically include specialists, coordinators, analysts, managers, directors and vice presidents in their area of specialty.

The conference is also recommended for utility employees with interests and responsibilities in conference topics and with cross-departmental responsibilities, as well as rising stars and future leaders those who would benefit from learning more about these strategic areas and making connections with the national public power community.

Agenda at a Glance

Monday, September 20

agenda for day 1

Tuesday, September 21

agenda day 2

Wednesday, September 22

agenda day 3

Serve as an Officer

Utility employees play a vital role in planning the conference to bring you the important topics. Incoming Vice Chairs for committees will be selected in July. Email [email protected] if you are interested in taking a leadership position in the conference by serving as an officer for one of the following tracks:

  • Customer Accounting & Services
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Human Resources & Training
  • Information Technology and
  • Pricing & Market Analysis
  • Risk Management & Insurance

More Information

Phone: 202-467-2941; Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-467-2941; Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-467-2980; Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-467-2967; Fax: 202-495-7467; Email: [email protected]


The Business & Financial Conference offers keynotes, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities. Preconference seminars on Sunday, September 19, are a great value-add. 

Breakout Sessions

Benefit from engaging breakout sessions led by industry experts and public power colleagues — take home actionable ideas and tactics.

Breakout sessions are offered on Monday through Wednesday, September 20-22. Several breakout sessions run concurrently in each time slot and you can go to any sessions you like. Browse sessions below or download the session overview for a listing by date/time that you can share with colleagues and use to plan your itinerary.

Sessions cover the following tracks or topic areas:

  • Customer Accounting & Services
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Human Resources & Training
  • Information Technology
  • Pricing & Market Analysis
  • Risk Management & Insurance


Sunday, September 19

Preconference seminars offer longer class times, smaller class sizes, interactive formats, and experienced instructors. Dive deep into hot topics to add value to your conference experience.

Preconference seminars require separate registration which includes digital access to class materials 1 week in advance, with the option to print or download. There is an additional $25 fee to receive printed materials in class (select this option at check out). You may also be interested in the Fostering Utility Resilience and Preparedness post conference seminar, which will take place virtually on September 29. 

1:30 – 5 p.m.
Approaching Challenges in Public Utility Accounting
Recommended CEUs .3 / PDHs 3.25 / CPEs 3.8, Accounting

Course Overview

From new Government Accounting Standards Board standards implementation to American Rescue Plan funds, public utility accountants and financial planners face changes that could be difficult to follow. Obtain practical guidance on employing future accounting standards—with a focus on GASB 87 and 96—by walking through real-life examples and completing exercises that hit on key topics of interest, preparing you for the changes ahead.

Topics Include:

  • The utility of tomorrow: future accounting standards and trends
  • Implementation of GASB 87 (Leases)
  • Implementation of GASB 96 (Subscription-Based Information Technology Arrangements)
  • Review real-life examples and exercises
  • Strategic financial planning for the American Rescue Plan funding

Bethany Ryers, CPA, MAS, Firm Director, Baker Tilly, Madison, Wisconsin

5 – 6:30 p.m.
Welcome Reception
Visit with colleagues and learn about the products and services that conference sponsors offer. 

Monday, September 20

7 – 8 a.m.
Networking Continental Breakfast
Make the most of your time at this informal breakfast — visit with your peers and conference sponsors.

8 – 8:45 a.m.
Opening General Session
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs .75 / CPEs .9, Specialized Knowledge

Chair’s Address
Colin Hansen, Executive Director, Kansas Municipal Utilities; and Chair, American Public Power Association

JDThe Future of Public Power
Joy Ditto, President & CEO, American Public Power Association

From demonstrating continued excellence and resilience to aligning with global trends and customer expectations, the public power model has ample opportunity to thrive in the future. Reflect on our strengths and the challenges ahead – and how public power leaders must act to support continued success. 

8:45 – 9:15 a.m.

Breakout Sessions

9:15 – 10:30 a.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Customer Accounting and Services Roundtable
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Kick off the conference by sharing your hot topics and priorities in customer accounting and services in a lively discussion with peers from utilities like yours. Swap strategies and brainstorm potential solutions to mutual challenges. 

  2. Practical Guidance on Implementing GASB 87 & GASB 96
    CPE Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental) 
    No matter where you are in the implementation process for GASB 87 on leases & GASB 96 on Subscription-Based Information Technology Arrangements, join this session to pick up some practical steps and tips for success. Those who have already implemented the standards can share lessons learned in making the necessary adjustments and those getting ready to take the leap can get ideas for how to make the process go smoothly.

    Chris Lindner, Partner, BKD, Lincoln, Nebraska 

  3. Prioritizing and Acting on ESG
    CPE Field of Study: Accounting 
    As investors and companies become increasingly focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, utilities are showing how their operations align with these ideals. Gain a better understanding of ESG mandates, how the public power model underscores each area, and how you can improve your utility’s ESG strategy to boost your profile with the rating agencies. 

    Suma Haque, Associate Municipal Investment Analyst, Payden & Rygel; Chris Lover, Managing Director, Public Financial Management, Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina; and Russell Mills, Director of Risk Management & Treasurer, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, California 

  4. HR Exchange 
    HRCI: 1 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
    Meet with your utility peers to discuss current issues in human resources and training. Come prepared to expand your connections and to engage in robust discourse on the major HR challenges you are facing within your organization.

  5. Information Technology Roundtable
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Join this ice breaker session to get to know your peers in public power IT and set the stage for the major IT issues to consider throughout this track at the conference. Be ready to network and learn more about what initiatives and challenges other utilities are facing. 

  6. Looking Inside the Crystal Ball: Predicting Trends 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Hear industry expert projections for the long-term economic forecast and changes in the electric utility industry. Reflect on how these predictions and other technological changes might affect your load forecasting in the coming decades.

    Mark Beauchamp, President, Utility Financial Solutions, Holland, Michigan; and May Lin, Economic Analyst, Regional Economic Models, Inc., Amherst, Massachusetts

  7. Risk Management & Insurance Roundtable 
    CPE Field of Study: Management Services 
    Meet with peers from utilities like yours to discuss current issues in risk management and insurance. Come prepared to participate and bring your successes and challenges to the table, covering topics including renewals, how the polar vortex changed risk management and insurance, and residual effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Break with Sponsors

Breakout Sessions

10:45 – noon
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Using AMI Data for Rate Design
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Advanced metering infrastructure brings a mountain of enhanced data and potential insight to utilities, and can be mined to set rates that are more dynamic and reflective of discrete usage patterns. Learn unique ways that utilities have leveraged their AMI data to redesign rates that keep customers in mind.

    Bryan Ehrlich, Sales Director - US Midwest & Intermountain Region, Utilismart Corporation; and Michael Ivey, P.E., General Manager, Crisp County Power Commission, Cordele, Georgia

  2. GASB Update
    CPE Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental) 
    Learn about the latest standards, what’s coming down the pipeline, and how the standards might affect your utility accounting in this update from GASB.

    Deborah Beams, Supervising Project Manager, Governmental Accounting Standards Board, Norwalk, Connecticut 

  3. Using Data to Provide Management Insights
    CPE Field of Study: Communications and Marketing 
    Panel with specialists and utility personnel discussing how to leverage data through dashboards and analytics to provide meaningful insight to management and others in order to make more effective decisions.

    Mike Bailey, Director of Finance, PUD #1 of Jefferson County, Port Townsend, Washington; Julie Desimone, Partner; and Aaron Tyler, Senior Manager, Moss Adams, Portland, Oregon 

  4. Big League Organizational Development on a Sandlot Budget 
    HRCI: 1 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
    Lively, fast-paced, and fun, Jon shares his experience building an award-winning talent development program (Fortune’s Top 20 Companies for Leaders) from a small team. Hear how he was able to effect change as a solo Talent Development executive at a Fortune 500 company with a staff of one assistant and an intern and how his experience can apply to your organization.

    Jon Swartzentruber, Managing Partner, Paradyne Consulting Works, LLC, St. Paul, Minnesota

  5. Cyber Program Development Across the Enterprise 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    A cyber attack can threaten the entire operation of your utility or city. Every city and utility employee - and governing official - plays a key role in maintaining a cyber defense that protects business operations. Walk through the basic elements of building an enterprise-wide cybersecurity program, including how to avoid the operational, financial, and reputational harm of a debilitating attack.

    Tim Blodgett, President & CEO, Hometown Connections, Inc., Lakewood, Colorado; Kaitlin Upchurch, Senior Vice President & Cyber Practice Leader, Marsh USA, Dallas, Texas; and Doug Westlund, Senior Vice President, AESI, Milton, Ontario

  6. State of the Property Insurance Market 
    CPE Field of Study: Management Services 
    Disruptions from catastrophic weather events, wildfires, and other losses has hardened the property market. Get an update on how this hardening has influenced other property insurance trends, including pricing and availability, so you can better negotiate policy terms.

    Derek R. J. Whipple, Senior Vice President, Alliant Insurance Services, Inc., San Francisco, California 

Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch on your own

Breakout Sessions

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Helping Customers through Abnormal Times 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Several utilities took unprecedented steps to help customers adversely impacted by the pandemic, including stopping shutoffs, adjusting rates, and other measures to help them through this difficult period. Get examples of what utilities did for their customers, what effects these measures had on utility financials and operations, and any lessons learned going forward.

    Doug Lyles, Executive Director of Business & Customer Operations, Bryan Texas Utilities; David Mehlhaff, Chief Communications Officer, Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, Kansas; and Tamieka Russell, Chief Customer Services Officer, PES Energize, Pulaski, Tennessee 

  2. Empowering Accounting with Data Throughout the Asset Life Cycle
    CPE Field of Study: Accounting
    The volume and complexity of capital projects can create challenges for accounting and finance teams to track costs, execute processes, and connect with operations. Removing the accounting burden from the field is a win-win for your accounting team. Learn how to optimize the flow of detailed asset information between operations and accounting, and how this move can drive labor and cost efficiencies.

    Cherish Loog, Municipal Utilities Product Manager, PowerPlan, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia 

  3. Strategic Financial Planning
    CPE Field of Study: Financial 
    Forward-thinking utilities use long-term financial plans to systematically replace and upgrade billions of dollars of aging infrastructure and provide for new capital needs. Review how to establish a well thought out, long-term financial plan that identifies funding sources and to develop a roadmap for phasing in rate adjustments and layering in long-term debt over time.

    Dawn Lund, Vice President, Utility Financial Solutions, LLC, Leland, Michigan 

  4. The Culture Journey: Uniting Teams to Improve Results 
    HRCI: 1 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
    Join this fun, highly interactive session to learn about the interplay of culture, leadership, and performance improvement and how you can improve culture to support change in your own organization. Walk through a culture roadmap that will help you understand what culture really is and how it evolves, assess how culture and climate influence each other, and how to engage teams and develop leaders to drive shared results. 

    Tim Kuppler, Culture Solutions Director, Insight Global, Plymouth, Michigan

  5. Identity Management and Multi-Factor Authentication Guidelines
    CPE Field of Study: Information Technology 
    Get insight into how to design and deploy an identity management system for customer, vendor, and employee accounts. Learn how such a system can help your utility to meet cyber insurance baseline requirements and serve as an important layer within your enterprise cybersecurity program.

    Jim Boyle, Division Manager, Technology and Security, Braintree Electric Light Department, Massachusetts; and Mark Forreider, Senior Manager, National SLED Solutions Engineering, Okta, Superior, Colorado 

  6. State of the Casualty Insurance Market 
    CPE Field of Study: Management Services 
    Review how the casualty markets have hardened over the years, including for coverage in the general/excess, D&O, employment liability, and cyber areas. Learn how pricing, coverage, and availability has changed for utilities to be prepared to better negotiate your policy terms. 

    Sarah Baldys, Senior Vice President – FINPRO Energy & Power, Marsh, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Cynthia Fee, First Vice President, Casualty Broking Lead – Energy & Power, Alliant Insurance Services, Houston, Texas 

    2:45 – 3:15 p.m.
    Break with Sponsors

    Breakout Sessions

    3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
    Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  7. CSR Environment: Times Are a Changin’ 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    As utilities mull over how to safely reopen certain facilities to customers, instead of going back to “normal,” utilities have the opportunity to try new approaches to customer service. From trends in long-term flexible work arrangements to dramatic changes within brick and mortar locations, learn how various approaches and trends will affect budgeting and customer service decisions moving forward. Get a foundation for how to take strategic action to develop and implement plans to improve your customer service operations in the wake of the pandemic.

    Palma Lough, Member Relations & Training Manager, Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, Edmond, Oklahoma; and Michael Vigeant, CEO, GreatBlue Research Inc.

  8. The Role of the Audit Committee
    CPE Field of Study: Auditing
    Effective audit committee oversight is vital for organizational health and governance – whether in selecting and managing external auditors or understanding the components of internal financials. Discuss how to develop an effective partnership with your audit committee, and maximize the benefits that this committee can provide.

    Bethany Ryers, CPA, Director – Energy & Utilities, Baker Tilly

  9. Federal Legislation and Public Power
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Get an update on the legislative picture in Washington, D.C. and how policies coming from the Biden Administration are likely to affect public power financing, from tax-exempt advance refunding bonds to infrastructure investments, tax law considerations, and more. 

    John Godfrey, Senior Government Relations Director, APPA, Arlington, Virginia; and Emily Swenson Brock, Director, Federal Liaison Center, Government Finance Officers Association, Washington, D.C. 

  10. A Continued Journey in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
    HRCI: 1 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
    Gain insight from a utility who is continuing on their journey focusing on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workforce and community. Hear about where they are now in their DEI plan, and glean what practices and solutions you can apply at your utility.

    Yvette Carter, Chief Inclusion Officer, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Florida; and Sara Taylor, Founder & President, deepSEE Consulting, St. Paul, Minnesota 

  11. Managing Supply Chain and Critical Cyber Vulnerabilities
    CPE Field of Study: Information Technology 
    SolarWinds and other recent high-profile breaches demonstrate that utility and city departments must address the cyber threats posed throughout the supply chain and with their outsourcing providers. Reviews strategies for managing cybersecurity risks with all third parties. 

    Doug Westlund, Senior Vice President, AESI, Milton, Ontario; and Virginia "Ginger" L. Wright, Energy Cyber Portfolio Manager, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls 

  12. Preparing for Major Events 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Whether it’s a hurricane, a wildfire, a polar vortex, or some other major event, there are steps you can take to make sure you don’t lose your shirt during an extreme event. Explore how you can use data and technology to manage your risks and revisit the financial mitigation measures you should consider to support long-term solvency following a disaster. 

    Mindy Brenay, CFO, Orlando Utilities Commission, Florida; and Michael Enger, Energy Markets Manager, Austin Energy, Texas 

  13. Vendor Risk Management 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Don’t let your vendors expose your utility to unnecessary risk. Learn how to improve your risk management practices with vendors and what the latest critical infrastructure protection requirements detail about supply chain risk.  Review how NERC’s CIP framework can help improve your cyber risk management and be applied to contractual review, vendor quality review, and other critical processes.  

    Sarah Baldys, Senior Vice President – FINPRO Energy & Power, Marsh, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Lisa Hough, Manager, Insurance & Claims, Omaha Public Power District, Nebraska 

    5 p.m.
    Happy Hour with Colleagues
    Meet up with other attendees from public power utilities, affiliates, and partner organizations at a relaxing, fun, pay-your-own-way happy hour at the hotel bar. Share a drink and discuss how to take on the future.

    Tuesday, September 21

    7:30  – 8:30 a.m.
    Women in Public Power Networking Breakfast
    Join in a lively discussion about the growing influence of women in public power. Share challenges and opportunities with your peers.

    7:30 – 8:30 a.m. 
    Networking Continental Breakfast
    Power up with coffee and connections at this informal breakfast. Visit with your peers and chat with sponsors.

    8:45 – 10 a.m. 
    General Session

    The Future of Work in the Post-Pandemic World
    Recommended HRCI 1 / CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5, Personnel/HR

    Many experts have opined on how the workplace will change after COVID-19, and the estimates range from “return to normal” to “everyone working remotely.” This session will delve into what this means for public power utilities. Based on a review of popular literature, interviews with utility leaders, and surveys of utilities and the general public, learn and understand the current thinking on the issue, and hear recommendations for leaders on how to structure their organizations – and change their thinking – as employees return to work.  

    Barry Moline, Executive Director, California Municipal Utilities Association, and Michael Bell, Principal, Bell Burnett and Associates  

    10 – 10:30 a.m.    
    Break with Sponsors

    Breakout Sessions

    10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
    Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  14. Customer Engagement Trends
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    The quest for sustainability, coupled with the pandemic, has forced utilities to rethink the way they do business, in particular hastening the adoption of digital solutions for customer engagement. Learn which tools public power utilities have implemented to enhance customer engagement, what benefits these tools offer customers, and what results utilities have achieved. Discuss how trends from other industries could further improve customer engagement for utilities.

    Nils Frenkel, Vice President of Sales, Apogee Interactive, San Antonio, Texas; and Jennifer Rogers Smith, Director of Member Services, Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, Edmond, Oklahoma

  15. Large Utility Roundtable
    CPE Field of Study: Accounting
    Meet with peers from other large utilities to network and discuss the accounting and finance topics that are important to your work. Come prepared to participate and bring your successes and challenges to the table.

  16. Small Utility Roundtable
    CPE Field of Study: Accounting 
    Meet with peers from small utilities like yours to network and to discuss mutual concerns and goals in accounting and finance. Come prepared to participate and bring your successes and challenges to the table.

  17. Changes and Trends in Employment Law
    HRCI: 1 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
    Get an update on what’s emerging in the field of employment law, including what trends employers are seeing now and what developments are underway at federal employment and labor law enforcement agencies.

    Steve Bogue, Shareholder, McGrath North Mullin & Kratz, PC LLO, Omaha, Nebraska

  18. Leveraging Technology to Improve Operational Efficiencies & Resiliency 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    For some utilities and cities, the shift to work from home uncovered inefficient and redundant operations across utility and city departments. This session will highlight strategies for assessing technology needs and processes and employing technologies, like GIS, to create efficiencies across the enterprise and empower remote workers.

    Andy Anderson, Director of Information Technology, Greenville Utilities Commission, North Carolina; Jim Boyle, Division Manager, Technology and Security, Braintree Electric Light Department, Massachusetts; Fred Christie, CIO, Easton Utilities, Maryland; Phil Hansen, Chief Information Officer, WPPI Energy, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin; and Kelly Laurie, Director, Information Technology, City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri

  19. EVs Are Coming – But How Soon? 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Between auto manufacturers ramping up production on electric vehicles and commercial and governmental entities looking to electrify their fleets, industry forecasters predict a rapid rise in EV adoption. Utilities face risk both in overestimating the growth in demand and in taking too long to account for load changes from EVs. Get updated on the latest forecasts and review the rate design questions you should be thinking about – and when – regarding EVs and commercial fleets. 

    Michael Hagerty, Principal, The Brattle Group, San Francisco, California; and Paul Zummo, Director, Policy Research and Analysis, APPA, Arlington, Virginia 
  20. Defining Risk Tolerance 
    CPE Field of Study: Management Services 
    When it comes to how much risk an organization is willing to endure, one-size doesn’t fit all, so it is important to base risk management on what makes sense for your utility. Look at the components and process of how to develop a risk appetite statement and quantify your organization’s specific risk tolerance. Follow-up this session by attending “Retention-Level Analysis” in the afternoon breakout session to determine what retention levels your organization can endure.

    Tom Spencer, Senior Director – Enterprise and Operational Risk Management, New York Power Authority, White Plains
  21. Joint Action Agency and State and Regional Association Roundtable 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Meet with representatives from other joint action agencies and state and regional associations to discuss your most pressing challenges and share successful strategies in business and finance. 

11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.    
Lunch on your own

Breakout Sessions

1:30 – 2:45 p.m. 
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. The Power of the Portal
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Your customers increasingly expect to have everything they need at their fingertips. For utilities, having an online customer self-service portal available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is quickly becoming a norm for customers to interact with your utility. Join this session to learn about customer portal benefits and how to improve the customer experience by leveraging the power of the portal.

    Tasha Kreikemeier, Lead, Business Solutions, Taletha Kryzsko, ERP Functional Analyst I, and Heather Schlautman, Manager, Customer Care, Lincoln Electric System, Nebraska; and Cindy Shipley, Manager of Customer Services, City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri

  2. The True Cost of Grants
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Grants are not free money for organizations, and often come with high expectations and needs. If managed incorrectly, grants can lead to a very high cost. Review what internal controls, monitoring and experience utilities need to appropriately manage grants. 

    Olga Darlington, CPA, Partner, and Julie Desimone, CPA, National Practice Leader, Power & Utilities, Moss Adams

  3. Rating Agency Panel
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Hear from representatives from the premier rating agencies as they share how their outlook for public power and the electric utility industry has shifted throughout 2020 and get a glimpse into their expectations for which factors might influence future ratings. From economic recovery to risk management and resource planning, learn which trends affect the overall utility outlook and which depend on the individual utility. 

    Dennis Pidherny, Managing Director, Public Finance, Fitch Ratings, New York; and Doug Snider, Associate Director Municipal & Cooperative Utilities, S&P Global Ratings, New York

  4. The Whirlwind of Benefits
    HRCI: 1 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
    Discuss and share constructive ideas facing all sponsors of group benefit plans. From why plan administrators are focusing on the personalization of benefit plans, to pharmacy spend control ideas and developing high performance medical networks. Get a peek into emerging benefits practices and the new players going into benefits packages.

    Dan LaRock, Principal & Shareholder, HUB Great Plains / SilverStone Group, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  5. Making the Most of Your IT Resources
    CPE Field of Study: Information Technology 
    Organizations have a broad array of everyday IT tools at their disposal that are under-utilized. Learn how to work with IT to deploy more of the features you are already paying for through other subscriptions, such as with Microsoft, Google, and AWS. Glean specific examples of how utilities are using available technology, such as using Microsoft Teams to conduct COVID-19 check-ins.

    Fred Christie, Chief Information Officer, Easton Utilities, Maryland  

  6. The Economics of Transitioning Your Generating Portfolio  
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Changing up your generating mix means confronting many variables, such as accounting for unplanned or early retirements, forecasting the economic impacts of decommissioning, and determining rate options if fuel sources are limited. Join this dynamic session to review the myriad ways that increased reliance on renewables can affect your utility and your community’s bottom line. 

    Kelly Parrish, Fiscal Operations Manager, Lakeland Electric, Florida; and John Vansant, CFO, Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority  
  7. Retention Level Analysis 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Retention levels can look different between types of coverages and size of organization. Building upon the “Defining Risk Tolerance” session, this session will help you determine what retention levels may be right for your organization by looking at what other utilities are doing and by reviewing a confidential and anonymous benchmark analysis from your peer utilities.

    George Keefe, Senior Vice President, Underwriting, AEGIS, East Rutherford, New Jersey; and Michael Kolodner, U.S. Power and Renewables Industry Practice Leader, Marsh JLT Specialty, Houston, Texas

2:45 – 3:15 p.m.
Break with Sponsors 
Take advantage of this final opportunity to network with conference sponsors.

Breakout Sessions

3:15 – 4:30 p.m. 
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. So Why Not AMI? 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Public power utilities and the communities they serve can benefit from deploying advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). However, utilities can be met with resistance to and misinformation about risks of AMI from individual customers or consumer groups when deploying. Review how to address apprehensions about “smart” meters and AMI systems, including privacy, health, and cybersecurity concerns. Get the latest facts about the safety and advantages of AMI systems and some communications and public relations strategies. Learn what other public power systems are doing – such as establishing customer service policies related to AMI deployments, or allowing customers to “opt out” of AMI meter installations.

    Arthur Burns, Senior Director, Sensus, a Xylem Brand, Morrisville, North Carolina; and Jason McPherson, City Administrator, City of Marlow, Oklahoma

  2. Fraud: The Wolf of Public Power
    CPE Field of Study: Behavioral Ethics 
    Fraudsters are refining their approaches and taking full advantage of the new work environment that was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Discuss various types of fraud that are becoming more common, including payments fraud and business email compromise. Review what your organization can do in response to fraud and to manage fraud in a remote workplace environment.    

    Olga Darlington, CPA, Partner, Moss Adams, Julie Desimone, CPA, National Practice Leader, Power & Utilities, Moss Adams        

  3. Revisiting Asset Allocation in a Low Interest Rate Environment
    CPE Field of Study: Finance 
    Brush up on the asset allocation process for longer term multi-asset class funds and how you can incorporate alternative asset classes, and the potential risks and rewards of including these investments in your organization’s portfolio. Discuss how changes in capital market assumptions can affect a plan’s asset allocation positioning.

    Stephen Faber, Managing Director, PFM Asset Management, Ewing, New Jersey; and Surya Pisapati, CFA, Director, PFM Asset Management, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

  4. Hidden Networks: How Work Really Gets Done
    HRCI: 1 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
    Learn more about how an innovative tool - Organizational Network Analysis, or ONA - brings the hidden patterns of communication, collaboration, and employee potential to life. Explore how your utility can use this tool to discover opportunities for improvement.

    Jon Swartzentruber, Managing Partner, Paradyne Consulting Works, LLC, St. Paul, Minnesota

  5. Pricing & Market Analysis Roundtable
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Meet with peers from utilities like yours to discuss current issues in pricing and market analysis. Bring your burning questions or lend your perspective on topics ranging from fixed cost recovery, to storage, communicating with governing bodies, experimenting with rate design, and adapting to changing regulatory initiatives.

  6. Anatomy of a Ransomware Event and the Evolving Cybersecurity Insurance Marketplace
    CPE Field of Study: Management Services 
    Cyber security breaches and ransomware attacks are now commonplace. This session will look up close at a ransomware event, the business implications of such an incident, and what utilities can expect when it comes to the availability and coverage of cyber security insurance in the near future.

    Samantha Levine, Senior Vice President, CAC Specialty, Denver, Colorado 

    5:30 – 7 p.m.
    Join your colleagues for an evening reception. You are welcome to bring a guest.

    Wednesday, September 22

    7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
    Networking Continental Breakfast
    Network with your peers at this informal breakfast. There are no speakers or moderators. 

    Breakout Sessions

    8:30 – 9:45 a.m.
    Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  7. Creating Value from Your Data Assets
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Advanced metering infrastructure measures more than electric usage, it also collects and can communicate other data (such as voltage, reactive power, and current) at regular intervals. Learn how these rich datasets, coupled with data technologies and analysis tools, can help utilities to improve processes, engage customers, and upgrade their electric networks. Get practical advice on planning advanced analytics projects and hear some high value use cases from other public power utilities.

    Brad Gall, Senior Data Architect, The Energy Authority, Jacksonville, Florida 

  8. Turning Positivity into Performance
    HRCI: 1.5 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
    Mental fitness, or PQ, is defined as your capacity to respond to business and life challenges with a positive rather than negative mindset. Learn what the research shows about how PQ can help you unlock the door to peak performance and improved business relationships, and how CEOs and other leaders rely on this trait to achieve greatness.

    Darren Kanthal, Certified Leadership & Career Coach, The Kanthal Group, Denver, Colorado

  9. Customer & Financial Management Platform Exchange
    CPE Field of Study: Information Technology 
    Get an update on today’s cloud-based platforms for managing customer and financial data – such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, SalesForce, and Amazon Web Services. Review the applications, advantages and challenges with various platforms and share your experiences with your peers. 

    Matt Barton, Senior Partner, WCG Consulting, Eugene, Oregon; and Kevin Clancey, Managing Partner, SpryPoint, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

  10. Community Solar Financing Options 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Community solar enables customers who do not otherwise have the capability of investing in rooftop solar to participate in solar programs. They also provide utilities an opportunity to add solar generation to their portfolio. This session explores the financing options for both the utility and the customer. What are the options for utilities to pay for this solar investment? And how can customers pay for their participation through rates or other mechanisms?

    Jared Combs, Business Intelligence Analyst, CDE Lightband, Clarksville, Tennessee; and Bret Labadie, Vice President of Capital Markets, Pivot Energy, Denver, Colorado 

  11. Improving Enterprise Risk Management 
    CPE Field of Study: Management Services 
    With the ever-changing risk environment, rating agencies are requiring organizations to have enterprise risk management (ERM) programs in place and others highly recommend it. Whether you already have a program in place or are considering the developing one, join this session to review the foundational elements of a risk maturity model, talk about how to get started with ERM, and swap ideas for evaluating and boosting your current program. 

    Yvette K. Connor, Principal, Grant Thornton LLP, Risk Advisory, National ERM Practice Leader

9:45 – 10:15 a.m.

10:15 – 11:30 a.m.
Closing General Session
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge, Personal Development

Preventing a Burnout Epidemic
Since March 2020, many of us have been operating in crisis mode: quick pivots, learning new policies and processes on the fly while navigating growing societal unrest. Whether working from home or navigating risks of a shared work space, one thing is clear: we are all battling unavoidable strain. This unchartered time in our careers requires prevention strategies and tactics to manage burnout and boost our resilience. Jennifer Moss, globally recognized as an expert in burnout, will walk through the current realities and provide tangible solutions to increasing psychological fitness for a healthier and happier today and future.

Jennifer Moss is an award-winning journalist, author, international public speaker and expert in workplace culture and burnout. Her nationally syndicated radio column reports on topics related to happiness and well-being. 

Her new book, “The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It” published by Harvard Business Press, will be released in September 2021.

Conference adjourns


Register for the Business & Financial Conference

2021 Conference Registration Fees

Member Registration Fees

American Public Power Association members receive the member rate. Fees increase by $50 after August 20th. 

  • $825 - Business & Financial Conference
  • $350 - Half-day preconference seminar

Non-Member Registration Fees

  • $1,650 - Business & Financial Conference
  • $700 - Half-day preconference seminar

Not an American Public Power Association member? Join today and save $775 on your conference registration. Call Member Services at 202-467-2936 email [email protected] to learn more.

Preconference Seminar Registration Fees

Preconference seminars require separate registration. Fees increase by $50 after August 20th. 

Participants will receive digital access to class materials about 1 week in advance, which they can choose to print or download before the meeting (no additional charge).

There is an additional $25 fee if you would like to receive a printed copy of the handouts at the meeting. When you register, you will have an option to register for just the course, or the course with printed materials. 

  • $350 - APPA members
  • $700 - Non-members

Registration Cancellation, Refund, and Substitution Policy

Registrants who cancel in writing on or before Monday, September 13, 2021 are entitled to a refund of their registration fee, minus a $50 cancellation fee. Registrants who cancel after September 13, 2021 will not receive a refund, but attendee substitutions will be allowed for the 2021 Association Business & Financial Conference and preconference seminars only. Registrants and no-shows who do not cancel on or before September 13 are responsible for the full registration fee and are not entitled to a refund of their registration fee. 

Requests must be made in writing and mailed or emailed to:

Meeting Services
American Public Power Association
2451 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-4804
Email: [email protected] 


Email [email protected].


The 2021 Business & Financial Conference will be held at the Hilton Denver City Center in Denver, Colorado on September 19-22. All conference events will be held at that hotel.

Hilton Denver City Center
1701 California Street
Denver, CO 80202

Hilton Denver City Center

The Hilton Denver City Center is located in the heart of downtown Denver, a half-mile from the Colorado Convention Center. Larimer Square, Coors Field, and the Denver Performing Arts Complex are a short drive away. Enjoy on-site dining and drinks, 24-hour room service, and an indoor heated pool.


  • Main Telephone: (303) 294-1300
  • Group Rate: $249 (Single/Double) per night (plus 15.75% tax)
  • Reservation Cut-off Date: August 27, 2021
  • Reservation Telephone: (800) 774-1500
  • Online Reservation LinkAPPA 2021 Business & Financial Conference


  • Check in: 4 p.m. Check out: 11 a.m.
  • Valet parking: $54 Valet overnight/with in-and-out privileges
  • Self-parking: $34 overnight/with in-and-out privileges
  • Internet access: Complimentary wireless internet in sleeping rooms

Reservations & Cancellations

The cut-off date to receive the group rate at the Hilton Denver City Center is August 27, 2021. The room blocks may sell out before August 27, so early reservations are encouraged. Make your reservations directly with the hotel using the links or telephone numbers above.

Canceled reservations that are not resold may become a financial liability for the Association, so please make your reservations thoughtfully.

Scam Alert

Please do NOT make hotel reservations through any third party that may contact you by phone or email. Use only the online reservation links, phone numbers, and discount codes available directly from APPA —in conference brochures and the website at

Dress Code

The attire for the conference is business casual. Meeting room temperatures vary, so prepare to dress for cool conditions. Whenever possible, networking events will be held outdoors. 

Questions and Assistance

For questions or assistance making your hotel arrangements, please contact Meeting Services at 202-467-2941 or [email protected].

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

The safety of those attending the American Public Power Association (APPA) 2021 Business & Financial Conference is our top priority. We are partnering with the hotel, have talked to local health officials, and are applying lessons-learned from other associations to ensure we follow all the best practices for safely hosting in-person meetings in the current environment. We are relying on everyone to do their part to keep themselves and everyone else safe during the conference.

Below are some of the steps we are taking to ensure the safety of all meeting participants, and our expectations for all conference participants. All participants must agree to abide by these standards before they will be permitted to attend the conference. 

What attendees must do

APPA mask requirements

All conference participants will be required to wear masks in all APPA meeting areas and at official APPA functions, except when eating or drinking. This is consistent with current CDC recommendations that everyone in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. 

Outside of APPA's meeting space, attendees must abide by the hotel policy and local guidelines at the time of the meeting. Attendees can step outside at any time if they would like to take off their masks. 

We know that our attendees will have different comfort levels with meeting in person again, and some attendees may have reasons to be cautious, including underlying health conditions or family members (including young children) who may still be at risk. We are relying on everyone to do their part to keep themselves and everyone else safe during the conference, and to be respectful of all other attendees and their comfort levels.

When you register

All participants must agree to the safety protocols outlined below before registering for the conference. Your registration implies your consent to adhere to these standards. 

Pre-Event Health Assessment 

Registrants will be asked to complete a self-assessment prior to traveling to the event. Participants do not need to submit a separate form; but we ask all attendees to honestly answer these questions to help us protect all conference attendees, staff, and the local community. 

  1. Have you had any of the following NEW or UNUSUAL-FOR-YOU symptoms within the past 72 hours? 
    • Fever of 100.4 degrees or above, or possible fever-like symptoms such as alternating chills and sweating.
    • Frequent cough (not a chronic cough or your normal seasonal allergies)
    • Trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or severe wheezing 
    • Muscle or body aches that are not exercise related
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of smell or taste 
    • Headache
  2. Have you, or anyone in your household or group, tested positive or are awaiting test results for COVID-19?
  3. Do you, or anyone in your household or group, have the symptoms of COVID-19 as listed above?
  4. Are you currently subject to a stay-at-home order from your doctor or state or local requirements to quarantine, isolate, or stay at home? 

If you answer YES to any of these questions, please STAY AT HOME. Please send your cancellation request to [email protected].

COVID Test Recommended 

We are recommending (not requiring) all participants get a COVID test 3 days before the conference; and again 3 days after returning home. 

Anyone who tests positive before the conference should stay home. If anyone tests positive after the conference, they should email Amy Rigney-Gay APPA’s Vice President of Human Resources & Administration at [email protected] to confidentially report so we can try to conduct contact tracing.

On-site Safety Protocols

The safety of all conference participants is our top priority. All conference participants must: 

  1. Wear a mask in all APPA meeting areas and at official APPA functions, except when eating or drinking. 
  2. Adhere to CDC, and state and local guidance before and during the event. 
  3. Complete the health check-in each day before entering the APPA meeting space (see below).
  4. Engage in appropriate physical distancing and hygiene practices.
  5. Be respectful of all other attendees and their comfort levels.
  6. Not attend the event if you are ill, actively experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or have recently been in close contact with someone who is experiencing COVID symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19.
  7. Notify APPA’s Vice President of Human Resources & Administration at [email protected] if you test positive for COVID-19 up to 14 days after returning home.

On-site Daily Health Check-in

Each day of the conference, all participants will be required to complete a short health questionnaire, as many of us do when we come into the office. No medical tests are required; APPA will not ask for any medical records, test results, or proof of vaccination. 

The daily health check-in will be a simple online form, asking participants to self-certify that: 

  • You have not recently come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms;  
  • You are not currently experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms that can't be explained by something else; and 
  • You are continuing to follow CDC and local guidance. 

Participants must complete the daily health check-in before entering the APPA meeting space. A link will be emailed to attendees in advance, and will be available through the conference mobile app.

Show your completion screen when you arrive at the meeting space each morning to receive a colored wristband. 

  • When you complete the questionnaire, you will get a screen telling you to proceed to the meeting. Simply show this screen on your mobile device to verify you have completed your daily check in.
  • If you aren't able to show your completion screen, someone will look you up by name to verify you have completed your check-in. 

Your wristband is required for entry into all APPA sessions and activities. It also confers in-and-out privileges; once you receive your wristband for the day, you can enter and exit the APPA meeting space freely just by showing your wristband.

What we are doing

Personal Safety

APPA will take the following steps to ensure the health and safety of all meeting participants:

  • All participants (including attendees, speakers, sponsors, guests and staff) will agree to and be required to follow safety protocols put in place by APPA.
  • All participants must complete a daily health questionnaire before entering the meeting space. Attendees will receive a wristband confirming they have completed the daily check in so they may enter/exit the meeting space without having to complete it again on that day.
  • Masks are required in all APPA meeting areas and at official APPA functions, except when eating or drinking.

Meeting experience

APPA is examining every aspect of the in-person meeting experience to ensure we are taking all appropriate precautions to protect the safety of participants, including:

  • Modifying room seating and event layouts to allow for social distancing.
  • Redesigning networking opportunities to accommodate social distancing while still facilitating meaningful conversations and exchanges.
  • Holding networking events outdoors, whenever possible. 
  • Making changes at our registration desk to alleviate congestion and reduce contact points.
  • During sessions, Q&A will be administered through the conference mobile app (instead of shared microphones). 
  • APPA may employ assigned seating, queued entrances, or timed entrance and exits of meeting rooms to manage crowd control and accommodate room capacity limits, according to state or local mandates. 

Cleaning and hygiene 

APPA is working with the hotel to ensure the cleanliness of the meeting facilities. 

  • APPA will develop and institute a cleaning and sanitizing schedule with the hotel that meets the specific needs of the conference and our attendees. 
  • High-touch surfaces within the meeting space will be cleaned multiple times a day.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be positioned throughout the meeting space.
  • Additional hygienic supplies, including disinfectant wipes, gloves, and disposable masks, will be made available to attendees. 
  • APPA is working with the hotel to ensure all hotel culinary and banquet team members adhere to strict guidelines for the preparation, handling and serving of food & beverages. 
  • APPA will keep attendees updated on the hotel’s COVID related practices and protocols.  


Contact us at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

What are APPA mask requirements?

All institute participants will be required to wear masks in all APPA meeting areas and at official APPA functions, except when eating or drinking. This is consistent with current CDC recommendations that everyone in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. 

Click here to view the latest COVID safety protocols for this event.

Where and when is the next Business & Financial Conference?

September 19-22, 2021
Hilton Denver City Center
Denver, Colorado

What educational credits are available?

Academy events include the following opportunities for educational credits:

  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)
  • Professional Development Hours (PDHs) as established by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)
  • Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)

Is there international registration?

Online meeting registration is for U.S. and Canadian residents only. International registrants must provide a signed registration form — signed by the authorized cardholder — if paying with a credit card. Fax the completed registration form to 202-495-7484 or email it to [email protected]

Alternatively, you could send a check from a U.S. bank payable to American Public Power Association. Please mail completed form with full payment to our bank lock box:

American Public Power Association
P.O. Box 418617
Boston, MA  02241-8617

Are meals included?

The following food functions/meals are included in the registration fee:

  • Sunday - Welcome Reception
  • Monday - Continental Breakfast
  • Tuesday - Continental Breakfast; Reception 
  • Wednesday – Continental Breakfast

What is the conference dress code?

The attire for the conference is business casual. Meeting room temperatures vary, so prepare to dress for cool conditions.

How can I present at the conference?

We welcome your topic and speaker ideas for future conferences and events. To submit your idea for consideration, complete this form. Conference topics are generally determined 6-8 months before the event is held. Ideas will be kept on file for a full year, so if the agenda for the conference has already been determined, your ideas will be considered for the next year’s event, or in case any space opens up in the current year’s program. You will be contacted only if your idea is selected for an upcoming conference.