Business & Finance Conference

B&F Conference Sessions—Monday

Back to Business and Financial Conference Agenda


Monday, September 14

11 - 11:45 a.m. ET / 10 - 10:45 a.m. CT / 9 - 9:45 a.m. MT / 8 - 8:45 a.m. PT
Opening General Session
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs .75 / CPEs .9, Specialized Knowledge

Jolene ThompsonChair’s Address
Well before APPA was founded, public power utilities set a strong foundation in their communities that allowed for resilience and innovation. Then as now, engaging with our communities and connecting with our customers reminds them of the value of community ownership.  

Jolene Thompson, President & CEO, American Municipal Power, Inc., Columbus, Ohio; and Chair, American Public Power Association

The State of Public Power Joy Ditto
As we reflect on 80 years of being connected as a public power community, we also reflect on how we have endured the recent pandemic and other crises throughout our history. Get the latest update on how APPA is working to protect the interests of public power in Washington, D.C., and helping our members to navigate an increasingly complex industry.

Joy Ditto, President & CEO, American Public Power Association

11:45 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET / 10:45 - 11 a.m. CT / 9:45 - 10 a.m. MT / 8:45 - 9 a.m. PT

12 - 1 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. CT / 10 - 11 a.m. MT / 9 - 10 a.m. PT
Breakout Sessions
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2

cas Lessons Learned from COVID-19: Customer Service
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
Whether you closed your facilities to the public or kept them open, had customer service staff work remotely or from modified work spaces, or changed up how you connected with customers during the height of the pandemic – share what you took away from the experience and hear the practices your peers recommend in handling customer accounting and services.

gafa Cyber Risk Management for Finance Pros
CPE Field of Study: Accounting
Everyone has a part to play in keeping a utility safe from cyber attacks. Review key problem areas you might encounter in accounting and finance, how you can play a part in preventing attacks, and what systems and procedures you can put in place to reduce the cost and impact of an attack within your organization’s finance department.

John Kolar, Fraud Manager, Wells Fargo, Minneapolis, Minnesota

hrt Human Resources & Training Roundtable
HRCI: 1 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
Come prepared to discuss current issues in human resources and bring examples of successful training programs. Meet with peers to review the major challenges you each face within your organization.

it Cloud-Based Utility Applications: More than a Feeling
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
For years we have watched as utilities slowly started the technology shift to the cloud and apps.  Many held back while the early adopters made the move, but the mass migration to “cloud heaven” is in full effect. This session will shed light on how the focus has shifted from edge applications and hosting to full cloud enterprise solutions.  Integration between cloud and on-prem legacy systems will also be covered in this session.

Fred Christie, CIO, Easton Utilities, Maryland; and Kevin Clancey, Managing Partner, SpryPoint, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

pma Pricing and Market Analysis Roundtable
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
We asked, you answered -- and now we’ll discuss in depth. Join a roundtable discussion covering the primary issues you are dealing with at your utility in response to COVID-19 and other matters brought up on a survey of the Pricing and Market Analysis Committee.

rmi Risk Management & Insurance Roundtable
CPE Field of Study: Management Services
Meet with your utility peers to share successes and challenges in risk management and insurance. Be prepared to discuss hot button topics and take away new ideas.

Survey Says: Public Power Needs Different Approach to Fixed Asset Accounting (Industry Spotlight Session)
PowerPlan, Inc. surveyed hundreds of finance and accounting employees at public power utilities regarding their current fixed asset accounting practices and future priorities. The responses identified three key priorities which can help you evolve your approach to fixed asset accounting. Join us to hear these top trends for public power and learn how you can stay ahead of the curve.

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

1 - 1:30 p.m. ET / 12 - 12:30 p.m. CT / 11 - 11:30 a.m. MT / 10 - 10:30 a.m. PT

1:30 - 2:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. CT / 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. MT / 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. PT
Breakout Sessions
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2

cas The Financial Impact of COVID-19: Pivoting and Moving Forward
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the country along with the utility industry from both an economic and financial standpoint. Understanding customer needs and demands to meet their expectations is imperative for a utility's operations moving forward. Hear customer insights pre, during, and post COVID-19 through data collected as the pandemic evolves. Understand the ever-changing financial needs, concerns, priorities and fears of customers, and how utilities can adapt to support these critical needs. This holistic overview will also provide data points for customer service, accounting, and other service departments on how to pivot during these times.

Dan Aschenbach, Consultant, AGVP Advisory, Cranford, New Jersey; and Michael Vigeant, CEO, Great BlueResearch, Inc., Glastonbury, Connecticut

gafa A Roadmap for Operational and Financial Health
CPE Field of Study: Financial
Learn the fundamentals of how to support organizational sustainability through long-term capital, operational, and financial planning. Walk through how to conduct operational reviews that uncover opportunities for improving processes, bolstering internal controls and reducing costs. Then identify how a financial and capital plan can close any budget gaps.

Caitlin Humrickhouse, Consulting Manager, Baker Tilly, Madison, Wisconsin; and Scott Miller, Partner, Baker Tilly, Indianapolis, Indiana

it Albert, CIS, and CISA: Taking Traffic Analysis from Detail to Worldwide Threat Information
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
It's sometimes hard to find the expert resources necessary to run a proactive (and affordable) cybersecurity program. Learn about 3 building blocks that can help: the Albert traffic analysis system, the Center for Internet Security, which analyzes Albert data forwarded to their SOC, and CISA Central (formerly the DHS NCCIC), which integrates this and other data to provide a national and international views of the security landscape.

Adrienne Lotto, Senior Director, Energy Security & Resilience Programs, New York Power Authority, White Plains, New York; Jamie Ward, CIS Services Account Executive, Center for Internet Security, East Greenbush, New York; and Matt Wombacher, Associate Director, CISA Central (formerly NCCIC), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Washington, D.C.

hrt Developing Your Culture as We Move Through This Crisis
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
In times of crisis, it’s all hands on deck, putting out fires, which means the ongoing work you had planned to grow and nurture your workplace culture could get sidelined. And since we all just went remote, this new way of working is going to require some quick adaptations if we’re going to stay on top of things. In this session, culture expert Jamie Notter from Human Workplaces will show you how to develop low-effort culture projects, based on real work he’s done with clients, so you can keep your culture moving in the right direction, without distracting your people from the critical work they’re doing.

Jamie Notter, Co-Founder and Cultural Designer, Human Workplaces, Washington, D.C.

pma Avoiding Shock: Communicating Rate Changes
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
When it comes to their monthly bill, you don’t want customers to be caught off guard. If you need to raise your rates or want to offer a new rate design, customers will likely have many questions. Explore strategies for connecting with customers to avoid surprises and explain why any changes are necessary.

John Wolfram, Principal, Catalyst Consulting, Louisville, Kentucky

rmi Claims: Maximizing Your Recovery 
CPE Field of Study: Management Services
From turbine losses to utility dig in claims, maximizing your recovery and minimizing financial impacts to customers comes down to having the right people and right process for collecting the necessary information. Weigh the benefits and challenges of having an in-house claim department versus hiring a third-party vendor and tips for working with insurers and internal and external customers. Glean some best practices for investigating and documenting claims, and review policy language that extends coverage for claim investigations and forensic accounting.

Jonathan Benoit, Senior Vice President, McGriff, Seibels, & Williams, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama; and Heath Silvey, Manager – Risk/Damage Prevention, City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri

Public Power Post Pandemic Financial Considerations (Industry Spotlight Session)
In the age of COVID-19 and work from home, public power utilities face challenges ranging from aging accounts receivable, the significant reduction of load, and a rollback of previously approved rate increases. In this environment there are some strategies to employ to help weather these difficulties. Whether it is achieving savings through a refunding transaction to hedging interest rates and the strategic use of cash reserves, all options must be examined through the lens of credit worthiness, financial flexibility, and ratings implications. 

Michael Berwanger, Chris Lover, and Michael Mace, Managing Directors, Public Finance Management, Inc., Arlington, Virginia

2:30 - 2:45 p.m. ET / 1:30 - 1:45 p.m. CT / 12:30 - 12:45 p.m. MT / 11:30 - 11:45 a.m. PT

2:45 - 3:45 p.m. ET / 1:45 - 2:45 p.m. CT / 12:45 - 1:45 p.m. MT / 11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. PT
Breakout Sessions
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2

casit Implementing Customer Engagement Technologies
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
From creating custom customer portals to hosting live online chats and more - new technologies can positively impact the relationship between your customers and all areas of the utility. Hear how other utilities identify, fund and implement customer engagement technologies that also engage customer service, operations and executive teams.

Cindy Shipley, Manager – Customer Service, and Dan Weiss, Manager – IT Applications, City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri

gafa Accounting for Non-Financial Staff
CPE Field of Study: Accounting 
Accounting standards continue to evolve, with the intent of bringing increased clarity to an organization’s financial reporting. However, outside of the finance department, changing processes and information can be confusing. Get a deeper understanding of financial statements and the reporting process.

Chris Lindner, Partner, BKD - CPAs and Advisors, Lincoln, Nebraska; and Heather Overby, Vice President - Finance & Accounting and CFO, Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency, Paducah, Kentucky

hrt What if We Can't Come In? Catastrophe Planning for HR
HRCI: 1 / CPE Field of Study: Personnel/HR
COVID-19, in all of its fury, took many organizations by surprise. Now, it’s time to learn from our experiences to be more prepared for the future. Get best practices and hear from an expert on how to enhance and improve your catastrophe plan.

Dethra Giles, Chief Bridge Architect, ExecuPrep, Atlanta, Georgia

pma Preparing the Way for Electric Vehicles
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
The vehicle fleet is being increasingly electrified – and not just for light-duty vehicles. Hear how utilities are approaching different rate strategies related to electric transportation, from setting rates for transit fleets to incentives that encourage people to charge EVs off-peak and establishing fair pricing for third party public charging infrastructure.

David Herrick, Planning Analyst, Orlando Utilities Commission, Florida; Patricia Taylor, Senior Manager, Regulatory Policy and Business Programs, American Public Power Association, Arlington, Virginia; and Pete Westlake, New Products and Solutions Manager, Orlando Utilities Commission, Florida

rmi The State of the Market: Broker Roundtable
CPE Field of Study: Management Services
Disruption is all around: from pandemics, catastrophic weather events, and wildfires to increasing regulation, advancements in technology, cybersecurity threats, and new competition. Disruption isn’t just changing the utility business model, it’s also changing insurance pricing and availability. Learn how to translate these trends and changes into better terms and contracts for your utility.

Rob Logan, Senior Vice President, McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc., Addison, Texas; John Munno, Director of Risk Engineering, and Tyler Wooldridge, Director, Gallagher Consulting - Energy Practice, Bentonville, Arkansas; and Lori Wheeler, Managing Director, Senior Placement Specialist, QSG – FINPRO, Marsh Wortham, Houston, Texas

Construction During COVID: Guidance for Energy Companies (Industry Spotlight Session)
While the pandemic has brought many activities to a halt, many construction projects are still underway. If your utility has current construction contracts or is considering a new construction project, join us for a discussion on the risks and opportunities in the current climate. With a focus on utilities, the speakers will cover the current state of construction, address key challenges relevant to capital projects, and provide strategies and services that can help mitigate common project areas of risk with COVID-19 considerations. Proactive measures to reduce uncertainty, mitigate potential losses and legal claims, and control capital project budgets, schedule, and costs will also be discussed.

Stephen Bacchetti, Director, and Olga Darlington, Partner, Moss Adams, Everett, Washington

3:45 - 4:15 p.m. ET / 2:45 - 3:15 p.m. CT / 1:45 - 2:15 p.m. MT / 12:45 - 1:15 p.m. PT

4:15 - 5:15 p.m. ET / 3:15 - 4:15 p.m. CT / 2:15 - 3:15 p.m. MT / 1:15 - 2:15 p.m. PT
Breakout Sessions
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2

cas Protecting Your Workplace from an Active Shooter
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
Public places have been rampaged by violent and deadly events in recent years, and your workplace is not immune. Your survival can depend on the way you respond and what guidelines your utility has in place. Hear from the experts on the steps you can take to protect your employees on the front line.

Terry Choate, Co-founder and CEO, Blue-U Defense, Hancock, New Hampshire; Gail Cohen, Support Services Manager, Braintree Electric Light Dept., Massachusetts; and Joseph Hileman, Executive Vice President, Blue-U Defense, Hancock, New Hampshire

gafa Public Power’s Ratings Outlook
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
Representatives from the rating agencies share their outlook for public power and the electric utility industry and discuss the factors that could influence the utility industry’s ratings in the future.

David Bodek, Senior Director, S&P Global Ratings, New York City, New York; and Dennis Pidherny, Managing Director, Public Finance, Fitch Ratings, New York City, New York

hrtit Teleworking Policies and Technology
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
Teleworking has become a norm for many workers in 2020. Yet, the tools available and how HR grants employees access to them varies widely. Discuss what changes to the ways we work today will mean for utility employees in the future.

Julius Aubain, CIO, and Sabrina King-Leonce, Director of HR, Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority, St. Thomas; and Tammie Krumm, Director of Human Resources, Missouri River Energy Services, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

pma Understanding Low-income Customer Usage
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
One of the most important questions about rates is how any changes will impact low-income customers. While utilities cannot establish specific rates for low-income customers, they can better understand how much electricity these customers consume compared to others in the same rate class. Learn how public power utilities have used analysis about electric consumption patterns in discussing rates.

Garry Johnson, Energy Analyst, Austin Energy, Texas

 rmi Go Green or Go Home: Paying for Renewables and Transferring Risk
CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
As communities ramp up interest in renewable generation, utilities are exploring how to pay for potentially significant new infrastructure projects. Learn how to manage finance options for renewable initiatives, battery storage considerations, and risk mitigation mechanisms.

Josh Fleischer, Vice President, Loss Control, AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc., East Rutherford, New Jersey; and Anthony Natale, Emergency Preparedness, Consolidated Edison, New York

5:15 - 6:15 p.m. ET / 4:15 - 5:15 p.m. CT / 3:15 - 4:15 p.m. MT / 2:15 - 3:15 p.m. PT
Social Event: Mezcal & Tequila Cocktail Masterclass

Fly to Mexico…in your mind! This is about more than just cocktails—it's about taking a sensory journey to the heart of Mexico's culinary culture. You'll be guided through the creation of two to three distinctive mezcal/tequila cocktails whilst learning about flavor profiles and the cultural significance of the ingredients you'll be using. Feel free to ask any questions and queries you have along the way. This is a unique opportunity to have charismatic, knowledgeable, and international award-winning mixologists in the privacy of your own home or office.