Customer Connections Conference

Customer Connections Conference Sessions—Monday A.M.

Monday, November 5


8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
Opening General Session

Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2


  • Amy Zubaly, Executive Director, Florida Municipal Electric Association, Tallahassee, Florida

Public Power Matters
Public power has unique strengths and advantages but do we remember and leverage them adequately? Are we still committed to ensuring reasonable rates? Are we staying on top of new trends and technologies? Are we prepared for new generations entering the workforce? Are we advocating and telling our story? A veteran public power leader helps you focus on what really matters. Get a refresher on public power’s inspiring history and commit to being a positive part of its bright future.

  • Coleman F. Smoak, Jr. , Chair, American Public Power Association, and General Manager, Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, South Carolina

Excellence in Public Power Communication Videos
Innovative, informative, and inspiring: view the winning videos from the Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards given to Association members.



9:30 — 10:30 a.m.

Recommended CEUs .2 / PDHs 1.5 / CPEs 1.8

Customer Service Roundtable: Sharing Solutions
Connect with other customer service professionals, learn from their insights, share your new initiatives, and bring your problems to the table for shared solutions.

Energy Services Roundtable: Changing Loads
Weigh in on dealing with flat load growth, incorporating new technologies, integrating customer generation into your power supply planning, and other challenges in this rapid-fire roundtable. 

Key Accounts Roundtable: Rapid Fire
Crowd source solutions to your key accounts challenges. Submit questions in advance for rapid-fire answers from the experts and your peers. Join the brainstorming and leave with more great ideas than you came with.

The Association reserves the right to limit roundtable discussions to employees of public power utilities, state and regional associations, and joint action agencies.

Raising Awareness of Public Power National Campaign Update
In October 2018, the American Public Power Association launched a national campaign to raise awareness of public power and its benefits in member communities through creative integrated media approaches. The campaign helps utilities tell a united story of who we are as not-for-profit, community-owned utilities, what we do, and why we do it. Get an update on the campaign and how members are implementing it across the country.

  • Meena Dayak, Vice President, Integrated Media & Communications, American Public Power Association
  • Tobias Sellier, Director, Media Relations & Communications, American Public Power Association


9:30 — 10:30 a.m.

Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

Satisfaction Starts at Home: Managing for Optimum Performance
You can’t deliver true customer satisfaction unless you ensure employee satisfaction. How can you manage staff for optimum performance while keeping them motivated? Get ideas on how to manage a 24-hour contact center operation in peak and slow times by offering flexible schedules and telework programs. Review the logistics, benefits, and pitfalls of these programs. Learn best practices for building a winning customer service team. 

  • Bud Ajdukovic, Manager, Customer Service, Kissimmee Utility Authority, Florida
  • Chris Parker, Manager, Training, Development & Customer Interaction, Salt River Project, Phoenix, Arizona

Energy Services for Hard-to-Reach Customers
You may offer the most attractive energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and incentives, but you may have to work harder to reach renters, fixed- and low-income customers. Hear from utilities with innovative programs to reduce energy bills, improve customers’ comfort, and increase access to renewable energy. Discover how you can tailor your programs, and messages to various customer segments to engage your hard-to-reach customers who really need it.

  • Rhonda Davison, Utility Program Coordinator, River Falls Municipal Utilities, Wisconsin
  • Tiffany Nichole Small, Senior Communications Specialist, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Florida 

Earth, Wind and Fire: Managing Key Accounts During Disaster
When disaster strikes, knocking out power for days — and sometimes weeks — you’re focused on turning the lights back for all customers as quickly as possible. But you may need to go the extra mile with your key accounts. Learn what other utilities have done to keep their prime customers informed and engaged before, during, and after the recovery and restoration process. From backup power plans to bill credits, see how utilities can help.

  • Deborah DePetris, Energy Services Manager, Clark Public Utilities, Vancouver, Washington
  • Kathy Miller, Key Accounts Agent, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, North Carolina
  • Erica Zarate, Director of Customer Services, Keys Energy Services, Key West, Florida

Lean Forward: Body Language Cues and Tips
Whether you’re talking to your boss, co-workers, members of the news media, or the general public, what you don’t say speaks as much as what you do say. Roll up your sleeves and join us for some fun insights into body language. Learn how you can put your best foot, hands, shoulders and chin forward. And discover how to read nonverbal cues and messages from people you talk to.

  • Erick Rheam, Vice President, Business Development, Automated Energy, Bloomington, Indiana