National Conference

National Conference In-Person Program

Back to National Conference Agenda

Sunday, June 20

8:30 a.m. – Noon
Preconference Seminars

  • Overview of the Electric Utility Industry
  • Get Ready for the Energy Storage Paradigm Shift

1:30 – 5 p.m.
Preconference Seminars

  • Best Practices in Public Power Governance
  • Performing a Utility Financial Check-Up

6 – 7:30 p.m.
Welcome Reception

Monday, June 21

Morning Conversations

7:15 – 8:15 a.m.
Start your morning by joining friends and colleagues in small discussion groups. 

  • Small Utility conversation
  • Large Utility conversation
  • Women in Public Power conversation
  • Governing Board & Elected Officials conversation

Industry Innovations Expo Open

8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Opening General Session

8:45 — 10:30 a.m.

President & CEO Address
Joy Ditto, President & CEO, American Public Power Association

Leadership and Geopolitics in the Time of Coronavirus

Admiral James Stavridis, USN (ret.)

Drawing on his decades of experience, Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) will share how two factors -  a new emerging global security environment and the coronavirus - affect geopolitics for the U.S., China, Russia, Europe, and other areas. Hear his take on how our increasingly digitally dependent world continues to change the cybersecurity environment.

Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Navy (Ret.).  
NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe and 15th Commander of the U.S. European Command (2009-2013); Head of U.S. Southern Command (2006-2009); Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (2013-2018); Chief International Security Analyst for NBC News; Operating Executive, The Carlyle Group; Chair, Board of Counselors of McLarty Global Associates; Chair Emeritus, U.S. Naval Institute

Breakout Sessions

11 a.m. – Noon 

  1. What’s Happening in Washington
    Get an update on what’s on Congress’ agenda this year and what it means for public power. Learn what APPA is doing to advance public power’s policy priorities in Washington, D.C. and staying in the conversations on COVID relief, climate change, grid security, electric vehicles, and energy storage. Discover how you can add your voice to public power’s need for comparable incentives, reforming municipal bonds, and protecting the PMAs and TVA. 

    Desmarie Waterhouse, Vice President, Government Relations & Counsel, American Public Power Association 
  2. How Small Utilities Navigate Change
    Smaller utilities have different ways operating – borne from having limited personnel, shared assets, and smaller buying power. From disaster response to grid modernization and recruitment and retention, hear from a panel of leaders on what they’ve done to overcome challenges specific to smaller utilities. 

    Bill Bach, General Manager, Poplar Bluff Municipal Utilities & City Cable, Missouri; Nicolas Kumm, General Manager, Marshfield Utilities, Wisconsin; and Dave Slezickey, City Manager, Kingfisher Public Works Authority, Oklahoma
  3. COVID-19: How Public Power Changed and How it’s Changing
    Review what data reveals about trends in public power actions taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic and what is getting prioritized moving forward. From valuing strategic action to contingency planning and building and maintaining meaningful relationships, learn how the adjustments your utility made compare with your peers. Get input on how to address your specific goals and challenges so you can take strategic action, develop and implement plans, and make changes where necessary to improve your operations in the wake of COVID-19.

    Michael Vigeant, CEO, GreatBlue Research, Inc.
  4. Connecting with the Community: Identifying and Targeting Specific Customer Needs 
    Being able to understand and meet the needs of your community is what public power is all about. Hear how other public power utilities are using data and unique approaches to customer outreach to gain actionable insights on what customers want, connect them with relevant programs, and improve customer experience and satisfaction.

    Krista Boston, Director of Customer Relations, Rochester Public Utilities, Minnesota; Rene Fleming, Manager of Energy and Water Customer Service, City of St. George, Utah; and Andy Fusco, Vice President, Member Services and Corporate Planning, ElectriCities of North Carolina 
  5. Embracing New Technologies in Public Power
    Emerging technology – from artificial intelligence and blockchain to robotic process automation – present new challenges and opportunities for utilities. Get a high-level overview of the disruptive technologies already in play and learn how you can use these technologies to keep public power competitive in the energy industry. 

    Joe Witkowski, Director of Technology Innovation, The Energy Authority, Florida
  6. How Practical is a Drone for Your Utility?
    Electric utilities of all sizes and from every region are increasingly using unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, to facilitate key tasks. Explore the practical applications of drones in utility operations and what you need to understand – and do – before you start using drones. 

    Christopher Todd, President, Airborne Response, Miami Beach, Florida; and Tara Trigg, Business Manager, City of Westerville, Ohio
  7. Industry Spotlight: Public Power’s Next Generation of Challenges: Technology, Resiliency & Decarbonization
    Emerging technologies are reshaping the business priorities of public power. EV charging at homes and office buildings and the adoption of distributed renewable generation has the potential to make the single greatest impact on customer demand since the central air-conditioner. Increasing severity of weather events, cybersecurity threats and aging infrastructure have exposed the need for resiliency, infrastructure improvements and microgrid adoption. Initiatives for net-zero operations and decarbonization have introduced innovative customer engagement models. Hear about a new generation of service-based approaches to addresses these challenges while accelerating the affordable modernization of the municipal utility grid.

    George Bjelovuk, Vice President, Energy Solutions, Siemens Digital Grid


Lunch Break

Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. 

  1. Current Issues in Federal Transmission Policy 
    Electric transmission policy reform is on the table in Congress, the White House, and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – with these players seeking insight into how transmission policy can help or hinder the evolving resource mix and reliability and resilience needs. Discuss the hot-button issues and where different entities stand on regional and interregional transmission planning, incentive rates, interconnection policy, cybersecurity, and more. 

    Jason Gray, Partner, Duncan & Allen, LLP; and Maurice Moss, Senior Legal/Regulatory Counsel, City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri
  2. Sellout Evaluations and Utility Sales
    While utility sales are rare, community discussions on the value of a public power utility arise regularly. Hear why (and how) your utility should continually share the value of owning a public power utility with community stakeholders and get an update on what is driving sellout threats. Hear from public power leaders who have been involved in sellout/buyout attempts and what lessons can be learned from utility sales. 

    Jeremy Elrod, Director of Government Relations, Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association; Steve Sax, Electric Utility Director, Springfield Electric, Tennessee; Jacob Williams, General Manager & CEO, Florida Municipal Power Agency; and Amy Zubaly, Executive Director, Florida Municipal Electric Association
  3. Views from the Polar Vortex: What Happened and Lessons Learned
    A panel of utility representatives share what they experienced during the February 2021 winter events that affected Texas and the Midwest. Hear how different regions were impacted, the results and lessons learned.

    Gary Gibson, President & CEO, City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri; Colin Hansen, Executive Director, Kansas Municipal Utilities, McPherson, Kansas; and Paul Mahlberg, General Manager, Kansas Municipal Energy Agency, Overland Park, Kansas
  4. Detection & Response: Cornerstones to Cybersecurity Resilience 
    Cyber attackers are now directly targeting critical infrastructure operations. Learn why you should move from an outside in defense perspective to one that prioritizes detection and response. Get guidance on how to establish a first line of protection, perform continuous monitoring and detection of operational technology networks and communications while avoiding alert fatigue, and respond to the real threats. 

    Carmen Garibi, Director, Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, and Jeff Macre, Cybersecurity Sector Lead for Utilities and Transportation, 1898 & Co., part of Burns & McDonnell
  5. What Can 5G Do for Public Power? 
    There are many new capabilities involving wireless broadband services, lower latency connectivity, and the interconnection of millions of devices that 5G technology can bring. Explore how small cells might affect utility and public assets and what applications 5G technology might enable within your electric utility. 

    Ron Chebra, Vice President, Grid Modernization, EnerNex; and Paul Jakubczak, Director, Electric and Gas Systems, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Florida 
  6. Industry Spotlight: Creating Financial Stability with Properly Designed Rates 
    Balancing renewable energy objectives, sending proper price signals, and having funds to ensure reliable and resilient electric infrastructure are current rate design challenges.   Communities have developed strategies to prepare for vehicle charging stations, customer battery installations, electrification of buildings and customer growth.  This session will present case studies and rate design challenges from utilities around the United States. 

    Mark Beauchamp, President, and Chris Lund, Manager, Utility Financial Solutions

General Session

3 – 4:15 p.m.

Resilience and Response: A CEO Perspective
Utility leaders faced multiple challenges in 2020 – a pandemic, civil unrest, extreme weather events, and cybersecurity incidents. Learn how a panel of public power leaders found new ways to manage simultaneous crises while still inspiring and motivating others. Each CEO will reflect on how their experiences from the past year reshaped their views on crisis response and what it means to be resilient. 

Elaina Ball, CEO & General Manager, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, North Carolina; Tom DeBell, President & CEO, Riviera Utilities, Alabama; Jacqueline Sargent, General Manager, Austin Energy, Texas; and John Twitty, President & CEO, Missouri Public Utility Alliance

Industry Innovations Expo Reception

4:30 – 6 p.m.
Visit Expo Row, featuring tabletop exhibits from public power’s supporters, advocates and champions conveniently located in the middle of all the conference action. Drop by for an informal chat with during Expo hours or throughout the conference, or make an appointment to meet with exhibitors one-on-one at a time that works for you.

Tuesday, June 22

Morning Conversations

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

  • Western Utility conversation
  • Midwest Utility conversation
  • Southeastern Utility conversation
  • Northwestern Utility conversation

Industry Innovations Expo Open

8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

General Session

9 – 10:30 a.m.

Presentation of National Awards
Recognizing Excellence in public power leadership

Creating Advantage in the Face of Energy Transition Uncertainty 

Geoff Tuff

A new future of energy is taking shape as the world transitions to lower emissions and more renewable sources of energy. This shift will have profound implications for the business models of both energy-producing and energy-consuming industries. How leaders in each type of business affected see scenarios for possible outcomes, analyze and monitor the underlying trends, and react will determine how much competitive advantage – and relevance – organizations have for decades to come.  

Geoff Tuff, a Principal of Deloitte Consulting and bestselling author. His latest book, Provoke, is about how to lead in the face of uncertainty.

Breakout Sessions

11 a.m. – Noon

  1. To Be or Not to Be: Natural Gas Distribution Policy and Regulation
    As various municipalities and states weigh in on whether or not to shift away from using natural gas in the distribution grid, communities must discuss various implications – from rates to resource adequacy and environmental policy. Learn what alternatives are being considered by those moving away from natural gas and how such a move affects a variety of policies and regulations. 

    Bhaveeta Mody, Attorney/Shareholder, and Peter Scanlon, Attorney/Shareholder, Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke, PC 
  2. Using the Baldrige Framework for Organizational Excellence: A Public Power Success Story
    There is no panacea for every workforce, customer service, and operational efficiency challenge utilities face, but Bristol Tennessee Essential Services has found that using the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence framework for continuous improvement has come close. Hear how the public power utility implemented the framework to improve the organizational culture, customer satisfaction and engagement, workforce retention, and process effectiveness. 

    Dr. Mike Browder, CEO, and Lola McVey, CPA, CGFM, Director of Accounting & Finance, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services

  3. Messaging Public Power Year-Round
    It’s vital that public power utilities regularly remind their customers what it means to be served by a public power utility. Public Power Week is a great time to highlight the not-for-profit, customer service motivation that drives their local utility, but this message also needs to be delivered year-round to be effective. Hear from a pair of public power utilities on how they crafted plans to continually share positive public power messages – and emphasize why their communities should care.

    Cindy Clemmons, Manager of Legislative & Regulatory Relations, Lakeland Electric, Florida; Joe Gehrdes, Director, Community Relations, Huntsville Utilities, Alabama, and Cathryn Lacy, Utilities Marketing Manager, Lakeland Electric, Florida 
  4. Meeting Tomorrow’s Electricity Needs
    To meet carbon reduction goals, the U.S. generating mix will have to rely on more low carbon resources, and energy end-uses will be more electrified. Get a full forecast for the near- and long-term future from one of the leading industry researchers on how much needs to change, how utilities will be able to adapt in this ever-changing environment, and what your utility can do to prepare. 

    Arshad Mansoor, President and CEO, Electric Power Research Institute, Charlotte, North Carolina
  5. The Future is Now for Public Power: Technology Has the Answers
    Discuss the role of technology in the future of utility management. Topics will include remote work technology and accountability and collaboration; mobile apps and dashboards; notification and alert engines; cybersecurity metrics and best practices; and more. 

    Fred Christie, Chief Information Officer, Easton Utilities, Maryland
  6. Industry Spotlight: Why Navigating Uncertainty is Better Together
    Join The Energy Authority (TEA) for a deep-dive into market disruption across energy markets and why navigating uncertainty is done better together. Chief Client Officer Jamie Mahne walks attendees through TEA’s journey from inception to championing present-day market volatility for our clients. Come explore challenges unique to public power and learn how collaboration empowers municipal utilities to meet those challenges. In this session, see how utilities traverse uncertain waters to secure brighter energy futures for communities across the U.S.

    Jamie Mahne, VP, Client Services & CCO, The Energy Authority

Lunch Break

Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

  1. Keeping Up with Climate Policy in the Biden Administration
    The Biden administration has already taken several environmental policy actions with implications for public power. Discuss what opportunities and challenges might lie ahead, including potential regulatory pathways for future power plant emissions rules and how the administration could incorporate environmental justice in rulemakings, policies, and activities to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, climate-related impacts on disadvantaged communities.

    Amy McDonnell, Of Counsel, Duncan & Allen
  2. Practices from the Pandemic 
    The pandemic created challenges that the industry, individual utilities, and people had not previously faced. From keeping utility operations running to keeping staff safe and engaged, a panel of utility executives will share how they faced challenges and crises throughout the year and what they’ve changed to ensure safe and smooth operations in the future. 

    Kristin Masteller, General Manager, Mason County PUD No. 1, Shelton, Washington; and Jeffrey B. Stewart, P.E., Engineering & Power Supply Manager, Lafayette Utilities System, Louisiana
  3. Light Up Navajo: A Blueprint for Hope 
    Imagine life without electricity – no light, computers, a refrigerator. For approximately 14,000 families on the Navajo Nation, this is their reality today. In 2019, public power crews from across the U.S. traveled to the southwest and joined electric line crews from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority to help make a dramatic difference in the lives of Navajo families. Within six weeks, the crews connected over 200 homes to the electric grid for the first time. Learn how NTUA and APPA plan to continue the Light Up Navajo project, including next steps for how more public power utilities can take part in this life-changing initiative.

    Walter Haase, P.E., General Manager, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Fort Defiance, Arizona
  4. Microgrids: What’s Trending Now and the Long-Term Outlook
    Learn the who, what, where and why of recent microgrid activity and the outlook for their development in the future. Explore the utility’s role in microgrid deployment, and how they’ve worked with communities and institutions to implement or pursue microgrid solutions that fit community needs. 

    Isaac Maze-Rothstein, Research Analyst, Wood Mackenzie; and Robert Tugwell, Vice President Public Utilities, PowerSecure, Inc. 
  5. Creating Value from Your Data Assets
    Utilities get more and more data each year. Between advanced metering infrastructure, which can collect and communicate electric usage and other data at frequent intervals, and advancements in scalable and democratized data technologies, utilities have ample opportunities to improve processes, engage customers, and upgrade their electric networks using data-based decision-making. Get practical advice on getting advanced analytics projects off the ground and making the most of the data you have. 

    Dr. Beth Massey, The Energy Authority, Jacksonville, Florida
  6. Industry Spotlight: Securing the Grid from OT Physical Assets and Propelling DERMS
    Hear about trends in securing OT physical assets and get guidance on securing your critical infrastructure while increasing DERMS resiliency in your network. As the number of DERMS IoT devices increases, so does the number of vulnerability points. The Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack provides a real-life example of why greater cyber monitoring is key to securing your critical infrastructure.  IPKeys Power Partners will discuss lessons learned from the APPA Cyber Technology Assistance Program helping 25 utilities implement network security monitoring, how it improved their cyber posture and considerations for deploying technology.

    Loney Crist, Senior Vice President, Cyber Security Software Development, Mike Hoover, Corporate Vice President, Sales & Business Development, and Mark Ponder, Chief Information Officer, IPKeys Power Partners

Association Business Meeting

3 – 4 p.m.

The APPA membership will get reports from the board Treasurer on Association performance and financials and cast votes to elect members to the APPA Board of Directors and on policy resolutions that will guide the Association’s advocacy efforts for the coming year. Each utility member must designate a voting delegate for this meeting. 

Voting delegates who are only attending the virtual meeting (July 13-14) will have an opportunity to participate in the Business Meeting virtually.

All voting delegates, whether attending in person or virtually, will cast their ballots through a mobile app. Additional details will be sent to voting delegates before the meeting. 

Industry Innovations Expo Reception

4:30 – 6 p.m. 

Wednesday, June 23

Closing General Session

9 — 10:30 a.m.

Chair's Address and Changing of the Guard: Installation of the 2021-2022 Board Chair
Jolene Thompson
, President & CEO, American Municipal Power, Inc.; and 2020-2021 Chair,  American Public Power Association

Colin Hansen, Executive Director, Kansas Municipal Utilities; and 2021-2022 Chair, American Public Power Association

Play to Win: Boosting Personal Resilience and Performance
Bonnie St. John, Paralympic Ski Medalist and Fortune 500 Business Consultant 

Bonnie St. John

Despite having her right leg amputated at age five, Bonnie St. John became the first African American to win medals in a Winter Olympic competition. Today, she is a highly sought-after business coach and consultant to Fortune 500 companies. St. John will guide you from the frontlines to the C-suite, through practical exercises and techniques that will enhance your capacity to offset the negative effects of stress, increase your resilience, and help you play to win. Get a powerful dose of Bonnie’s incredible life experiences along with rigorously tested concepts that will pave the way for a breakthrough performance in today’s fast-changing, competitive workplace.


10:30 a.m.

The National Conference Virtual Event will be held July 13-14. 

Click here for detailed information about the Virtual program.