Customer Connections Conference

Customer Connections Conference Sessions—Wednesday A.M.

Wednesday, November 7

8:15 — 9:30 a.m.

Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Creative
Customer needs vary in each community. As a public power utility, you must adopt and adapt services to be responsive to your customers’ evolving needs and expectations—even when budgets or morale is low. Hear from other utilities like yours that have found out of the box solutions to enhance the customer experience by cross-training staff, altering the physical structure of offices, and changing the culture in the workplace.

  • Luz Aviles, Vice President of Customer Service, Orlando Utilities Commission, Florida
  • Steve Hatcher, Customer Service Manager, Tacoma Power, Washington

Attracting New Generations to Public Power Careers
Generations X, Y, and Z are champions of community and social causes. Yet we find it hard to attract them to careers in public power, especially in the face of competition from other types of electric utilities. Learn about successful strategies public power utilities are using to educate and attract young people to improve the outlook for public power’s future workforce. 

  • Phillip Bisesi, Supervisor, Residential Energy Services, ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Chad Johnson, Senior Education Specialist, Nebraska Public Power District, Aurora, Nebraska

Key Accounts Jeopardy: What Is Back to Basics
Come test your knowledge of essential facts for key accounts team members. In true Jeopardy! fashion, answer questions in categories that take you back to basics in understanding customers and developing strategies for better services.

  • Devin Fink, Manager, Account Management Services, E Source, Boulder, Colorado
  • Erick Rheam, Vice President, Business Development, Automated Energy, Inc., Bloomington, Indiana

A Utility by Any Other Logo: What’s in a Brand
A brand is more than a logo or tagline — it’s about the promise you make to your customers and stakeholders. Is your brand aligned to your values, vision, and mission? Does it help you stand out in the crowd? Learn how other utilities are revisiting and refreshing their brand better to position themselves in their communities. See how defining and strengthening your brand can help you stand up to the competition — which may come from unexpected places — and build loyal supporters to inoculate against bad times.

  • Alan Heymann, President, Blue Drop, Washington, D.C.
  • David E. Mehlhaff, Chief Communications Officer, Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, Kansas


10 a.m. — Noon
Closing General Session

Recommended CEUs .2 / PDHs 1.5 / CPEs 1.8

State of Public Power: Evolving to Our Future
Tune into three global trends — Amazon, connection, and socialization — that impact how public power utilities will do business in future to meet changing customer lifestyles and expectations. Learn how your utility can embrace these trends to build the future you want, together with your customers. Learn about resources the American Public Power Association offers to help you evolve and lean into the headwinds of change.

  • Sue Kelly, President & CEO, American Public Power Association

Honoring Our Colleagues
Celebrate winners of the Excellence in Public Power Communications awards — including the Audience Choice video award. Congratulate the Academy’s Customer Service Management, Energy Efficiency Management, and Key Accounts Certificate Program graduates. 

The Passion Conversation: Sparking and Sustaining Customer Loyalty
Passion is a circular relationship. It drives customers to fall in love with brands and drives brands to fall in love with customers. Discover the three motivations for why people talk about companies and share their love for brands, and get advice for how to design brand stories that spark and sustain word-of-mouth marketing and customer loyalty.

  • John Moore, Branding Expert and Marketing Mastermind from Starbucks and Whole Foods