Engineering & Operations Conference

E&O Preconference Seminars

Preconference seminars offer longer class times, smaller class sizes, interactive formats, and experienced instructors. Dive deep into hot topics to add value to your conference experience. 

Separate registration and fee required.

Back to E&O Conference Agenda

Preconference Seminars - Sunday, March 31

  • Creating a Culture of Safety: Foundations of Communications Workshop
  • Improve the Reliability of Your Distribution System
  • Efficient Electrification: Electric Vehicles and the Evolving Grid
  • Maintenance of High Voltage Electrical Distribution Systems 
  • Talent Wars: Are You Ready to Enlist the Millennials? FREE! (Offered as part of the Association's Supporting Workforce Development Strategic Initiative)

Registration fees: $350 members (each) / $700 nonmembers (each)


Sunday, March 31

Creating a Culture of Safety: Foundations of Communications Workshop
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8:30 a.m. - Noon
Recommended CEUs .3 / PDHs 3.25 / CPEs 3.8, Specialized Knowledge

If you’re looking to establish or enhance a safety culture at your utility, you need to start by empowering your team. Do they feel comfortable speaking up when they see unsafe work practices? Do they feel like someone is listening and trusts them? Do you have a system to provide constructive criticism as well as positive recognition, as merited? Learn how you can put processes in place to facilitate these basics. Discuss employee accountability and strong follow-up communications in the wake of safety incidents or threats. Learn the six steps to achieve safety excellence.

Topics include:

  • Create a culture of speak up, listen up, and employee recognition
  • Overcome the inhibitions of speaking up and the factors that impact listening
  • Discuss employee accountability and the importance of follow-up communication
  • Learn the six criteria required to achieve safety excellence
  • Create an environment where employee trust and positive recognition are the norm
  • Explore the impacts of positive recognition on your work culture
  • Review the dos and don’ts of employee communication 

Kevin Ellison, Senior Associate, Caterpillar, Inc., Peoria, Illinois


Improve the Reliability of Your Distribution System
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8:30 a.m. - Noon
Recommended CEUs .3 / PDHs 3.25 / CPEs 3.8, Specialized Knowledge

Many public power utilities excel in reliability. What is the secret to their outstanding track record in preventing service interruptions and responding quickly when interruptions do occur? Discover best practices used by RP3 (Reliable Public Power Providers) utilities, designated by the American Public Power Association. Learn how to set reliability performance targets, implement performance improvement initiatives, and establish indices to measure reliability. Experts will guide you on how to build an organizational culture that supports a reliable infrastructure and operations to help you meet the reliability expectations of regulators, customers, and stakeholders.  

Topics include:

  • Reliability defined 
  • Customer expectations
  •  Reliability measurement
  •  Reliability improvement practices
  •  System protection strategies for improved reliability

Tom Black, P.E., Management Consultant, Collaborative Learning, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado; and John Miner, P.E., President, Collaborative Learning, Inc., Austin, Texas


Efficient Electrification: Electric Vehicles and the Evolving Grid
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1:30 - 5 p.m.
Recommended CEUs .3 / PDHs 3.25 / CPEs 3.8, Specialized Knowledge

Increasing electrification — especially in transportation— offers potential for significant load growth but also poses new distribution system challenges. Distributed energy resources and changing customer preferences continue to impact the grid in new ways. Are you ready to meet the increasing demand and handle the new load patterns? Learn how to modify system planning, provide for infrastructure changes, and adapt your business model to accommodate electric vehicles and DERs. Discover how you can combine the benefits of electric transportation and energy storage and opportunities for electric heavy-duty transport. Explore emerging technologies and understand how you can make the most of electrification. 

Topics include:

  • Why “efficient” electrification and why now? 
  • What does high EV adoption mean for the grid, specifically: charging infrastructure, system planning, grid impacts? 
  • Which emerging technologies have the greatest potential impact on the energy systems?

Rob Chapman, Vice President, Energy & Environment, John Halliwell, Senior Project Manager, and Jason Taylor, Principal Project Manager, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, California


Maintenance of High Voltage Electrical Distribution Systems
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1:30 - 5 p.m.
Recommended CEUs .3 / PDHs 3.25 / CPEs 3.8, Specialized Knowledge

The key to safe, reliable operations is a well-managed maintenance program — so join us to review best practices. Learn from the experts about corrective, preventive, and predictive maintenance programs for overhead and underground lines. Go over the essentials of inspection and testing of distribution lines and equipment. Review NESC maintenance requirements, risk management, and cost accounting with the experts. Get tips on how to evaluate your maintenance programs using productivity and service level measures and benchmarks. Understand regulatory requirements in distribution system maintenance.

Topics include:

  • Overview of distribution maintenance 
  • Regulatory aspects of distribution maintenance 
  • Maintenance management 
  • Overhead line maintenance practices 
  • Underground line maintenance practices 
  • Equipment maintenance practices 

Tom Black, P.E., Management Consultant, Collaborative Learning, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado; and John Miner, P.E., President, Collaborative Learning, Inc., Austin, Texas 


Talent Wars: Are You Ready to Enlist the Millennials?FREE!
(Offered as part of the Association's Supporting Workforce Development strategic initiative)
Register Now
1:30 - 5 p.m.

Can public power engineering and operations leaders attract, motivate, train, and retain the millennial workforce with the digital talent to power our smart world? See how others are building the engineering and operations workplace of the future and closing the gaps in diversity and inclusion. Understand and learn to work with generational differences in career expectations and workplace behaviors. Prepare for the impact of Baby Boomer retirement, manage the forgotten Gen Xers, and engage the millennials. Explore the real cost of attrition and retention and ways our industry can modernize its message and work environments. Learn from case studies and examples and build a comprehensive plan of action to take on the competition for new talent.

Topics include:

  • The True State of the Power Industry Workforce: where we are, where we need to be (public power workforce demographics and changing skill sets for the digital grid); identifying the gaps and action items for the future (industry demand vs. lack of skilled talent); “do these first” actions for 2019
  • Who are the Millennials? Generational differences (career expectations and workplace behaviors); power industry perception; action items for 2019 
  • The War for Talent: The real impact of Baby Boomer retirement; Gen X managers (the unseen jeopardy): the gap: engineering culture vs. diversity and inclusion; the gap: the real cost of attrition and retention; the competition for talent vs. public power; action items for 2019
  • The Engineering and Operations Workforce Environment of the Future: The employee experience workplace (what, why, and ROI); the employee experience (technical, physical and cultural environment); adapting the employee experience to public power; action items for 2019

Janet Kieffer, Principal, INFLUENCE, Austin, Texas