National Conference

National Conference Virtual Program

Back to National Conference Virtual Event Agenda

Tuesday, July 13

11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. CT / 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. MT / 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. PT
Opening General Session

  • President & CEO Address
    Joy Ditto, President & CEO, American Public Power Association
  • Keynote speaker to be announced

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. ET / 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. CT / 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. MT / 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. PT
Breakout Sessions

  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. 
  2. Strategic Planning: From the Board to the Community 
    Public power governing boards have the all-important responsibility of setting strategic direction for utility leadership and staff to carry out and ensuring long-term sustainability of the enterprise. Walk through how one utility board developed a comprehensive set of “Results Policies” that now serve as a foundation for goals, key performance indicators, and organizational performance monitoring. Learn how your board and management can work together to create similar policies for your community.

    Dave Koster, General Manager, Holland Board of Public Works, Michigan; and John Miner, Collaboration Unlimited/Collaborative Learning 
  3. The Polar Vortex: What Happened with Natural Gas 
    As the polar vortex hit Texas and the Midwest in February 2021, among other strains to the electric system, utilities and customers faced a natural gas shortage and price spikes for the fuel. Explore and discuss the factors that led to the shortage, what steps are being taken to prevent a repeat crisis in the future, and what utilities in other regions can learn from the event.

    Catherine Elder, Principal Associate, Energy Policy & Market Assessment, Aspen Environmental Group
  4. Planning for Electric Vehicles
    Electric vehicles are proliferating – and fast. From a widening array of passenger EVs to new development for medium- and heavy-duty electric options, the question of when EVs will move into the mainstream is inching closer to “now.” Learn how public power utilities have incorporated EVs into their operations, and how a DEED-funded toolkit can help your utility plan for and promote EV adoption in your community. 

    Matt Babbitts, Energy Resources Program Manager, Clark Public Utilities, Washington; Connor Herman, Program Manager, Forth; and David Roberts, Senior Consultant, VEIC

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
Roundtable Discussions
Join public power leaders from around the country to discuss the key issues and challenges you're facing. In these moderated roundtables, you'll have an opportunity to to turn on your camera and participate in small group discussions.  

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

  1. What’s Driving Public Power’s Bond Ratings
    Hear from the three largest credit rating companies on what’s behind the latest rating trends, what they see as public power’s strengths and opportunities, and how current issues and industry trends affect public power’s bond ratings – and how you can transform this intel to reinforce the financial strength of your organization. 

    Jennifer Chang, Vice President – Senior Analyst, Global Project & Infrastructure Finance, Moody’s Investors Service; Jeff Panger, Director, S&P Global Ratings; and Dennis Pidherny, Managing Director, Public Finance, Sector Head – U.S. Public Power, Fitch Ratings
  2. Prepare for the Worst: Planning for the Next Pandemic
    COVID-19 changed how many utilities think about business continuity. As the challenges from the pandemic remain fresh in our experiences, it is important to capture the lessons learned and update your response plans. Get an overview of how utilities of different sizes managed the COVID-19 response and what practices and preparations they have already detailed in the event of another pandemic. 

    Kristin Masteller, General Manager, Mason County PUD No. 1, Shelton, Washington; and Matthew Sinn, Manager Emergency Management, Tennessee Valley Authority
  3. Effective Integrated Resource Planning Practices 
    Learn how utilities and joint action agencies are connecting with customers throughout the integrated resource planning process to bring community voices to the forefront and to underscore the transparency of the process. Review how different public power entities took different approaches to addressing decarbonization while balancing the need to remain cost competitive, reliable and adaptable to technology changes. 

    Michael Jones, Senior Resource Planner, Platte River Power Authority, Fort Collins Colorado; Leslie McKiernan, Customer Insights and Programs Supervisor, and Christian Nelson, Public Affairs Lead, Colorado Springs Utilities; and Steve Roalstad, Communications and Marketing Manager, Platte River Power Authority, Fort Collins Colorado
  4. Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    Dive into what diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) mean and how can your utility take the necessary steps to ensure it continually develops and supports a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. Hear from public power utilities that are leading the way in these areas, and how DEI is both a personnel and business imperative.  

4 – 5:30 p.m. ET / 3 – 4:30 p.m. CT / 2 – 3:30 p.m. MT / 1 – 2:30 p.m. PT
General Session

Presentation of Utility Services Awards    
Join us as we honor the recipients of the 2020 E.F. Scattergood System Achievement Award, the Sue Kelly Community Service Award, and the DEED Award of Excellence and Energy Innovator Awards.

2020-21 Board Chair's Remarks 
Jolene Thompson
, President & CEO, American Municipal Power, Inc.; and 2020-21 Chair,  American Public Power Association

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. 

Joy Ditto, President & CEO, American Public Power Association; Jim Matheson, CEO, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; and Tom Kuhn, President, Edison Electric Institute

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. CT / 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. MT / 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. PT
Networking Event/Social Hour

Wednesday, July 14

10 – 11 a.m. ET / 9 – 10 a.m. CT / 8 – 9 a.m. MT / 7 – 8 a.m. PT
Online Networking

Choose from these online networking options:

  • Women in Public Power Hour: Our popular networking event for women working in public power takes on a virtual format this year. Join your peers for morning conversation to celebrate successes and share challenges.
  • Virtual Expo: Connect with industry suppliers.

11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET / 10 – 11 a.m. CT / 9 – 10 a.m. MT / 8 – 9 a.m. PT
General Sessions

  1. Leading Utility Transformation
    As the energy industry increasingly moves toward a clean and modern grid, public power utility leaders take different approaches to driving this transformation that fit their community goals and desires. Explore how a panel of public power leaders have motivated their organizations to shift away from the status quo and foster strategic change, from making progress on carbon reduction goals to deploying new grid technologies and engaging key stakeholders to keep the process transparent, accountable, and equitable.

    Julia Hamm, President & CEO, Smart Electric Power Alliance; and Debra Smith, General Manager/CEO, Seattle City Light, Washington
  2. What’s New in Nuclear
    Hear from a panel of CEOs on new advancements in nuclear energy and the future of nuclear. Get an overview of new nuclear in the DOE budget and the overall energy plan of the Biden Administration; then hear from two utilities who will discuss the Advance Reactor Demonstration Project (ADRP) and Small Modular Reactors. Hear about new developments and the timeline the innovative projects. 

    Doug Hunter, CEO & General Manager, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems; and Maria Korsnick, President & CEO, Nuclear Energy Institute

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. ET / 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. CT / 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. MT / 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. PT
Breakout Sessions

  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.

    Carolyn Slaughter, Director, Environmental Services, American Public Power Association
  2. The Pros and Cons of ESG Assessments for Public Power
    Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) assessments are becoming a requirement for investor-owned utilities and other companies to present to boards, investors and other stakeholders. Discuss implications for public power utilities in reporting ESG scores and data, from customer expectations to credit agency ratings, and other trends in climate and carbon reporting. 

    Dan Aschenbach, President, AGVP Advisory; Kerry-Jane King, Director of Sustainability, New York Power Authority, White Plains, New York; Terence Smith, Chairman & CEO, Smith's Research and Gradings; and Nancy Sutley, Chief Sustainability Officer, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, California
  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. Reaching Tomorrow’s Customers Through Energy Education
    Learning about energy at an early age nurtures responsible energy use and stewardship. Get and share ideas for unique educational experiences that engage the next generation of your customers. Learn what resources utilities are using to talk about electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and electrical safety and how to adapt them for while raising your utility’s profile among families and the community. Discover resources that you can adapt and cobrand for use in your school programs.

    Mark Nibaur, General Manager, Austin Utilities, Minnesota; and Gary Swan, Vice President – Development, National Energy Foundation 

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
Roundtable Discussions

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

  1. Municipal Financing Strategies 
    Get an update on trends, policies, and the latest strategies in municipal finance. Review how other utilities mitigate budget short falls, current new money structures and refunding approaches, and learn what’s happening in the green bond market. 

    Greg Dawley, Managing Director, Christine Pihl, Managing Director, and Robert Wong, Vice President, RBC Capital Markets, LLC
  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 CEOs 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.

    Tim Maier, General Manager, McPherson Board of Public Utilities, Kansas 
  3. Carbon Capture and Storage: What’s Feasible 
    As additional tax credits are approved for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide, and with timeline extensions on applicable projects, many coal-fired and natural gas-fired facilities have a stronger financial case to implement carbon capture technologies. Learn what projects are underway, the types of technologies being explored, and potential and interested end-users. Review integration considerations and project structures for large and industrial facilities.

    Emily Kunkel, Project Associate, Sargent & Lundy; and Kevin C. O'Brien, Ph.D., Director, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) and Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, Illinois
  4. A Personal Approach: Targeting Customer Communications
    Being connected to customers and the community is important for public power – and as opportunities for making these connections have changed, so must utility tactics. Learn some unique ways that utilities are making personal connections with customers – and using data to provide actionable insights on the needs of each customer segment, what programs to develop, and ways to improve customer satisfaction. 

    Andy Fusco, Vice President, Member Services and Corporate Planning, ElectriCities of North Carolina; and Rudy Garza, Chief Customer Engagement Officer, CPS Energy, San Antonio, Texas 

4 – 5 p.m. ET / 3 – 4 p.m. CT / 2 – 3 p.m. MT / 1 – 2 p.m. PT
Closing General Session

2021-22 Board Chair’s Address
Colin Hansen
, Executive Director, Kansas Municipal Utilities; and 2021-22 Chair, American Public Power Association

Presentation of Individual Leadership Awards
Join us as we honor the recipients of the American Public Power Association’s 2020 awards for individual leadership and the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award 

Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) 

5 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. CT / 3 p.m. MT / 2 p.m. PT