National Conference

National Conference Sessions—Monday A.M.

Back to National Conference Agenda

Monday, June 10

8:30 — 10:30 a.m.

Jacqueline Sargent
, General Manager, Austin Energy, Texas

State of Public Power
Sue Kelly
, President & CEO, American Public Power Association

Can We Move from Gridlock to Dialogue?
Mark McKinnon, Political Advisor and Television Producer

Mark McKinnon

With the deep divide in Congress, it seems like both sides are fighting a losing battle against the issues of our times. Will the government be stuck in a gridlock for the next two years, or will the two parties find a way to work together on bipartisan priorities? How will political machinations be impacted as incumbents and hopefuls gear up for the 2020 presidential election? See what lies in store for Congress and the nation. Explore how our elected leaders might be able to steer the way out of the gridlock and move forward.

Mark McKinnon is a political advisor and reform advocate. He was the chief media advisor to five successful presidential primary and general election campaigns. He has worked for many causes, companies, and candidates, including former President George W. Bush. McKinnon is cofounder of No Labels, an organization dedicated to bipartisanship, civil dialogue, and political problem solving. 

key to the icons representing conference tracks

11 a.m. — Noon
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2

Community & Communications Crisis Communications: How to Stay in Control  
Crises often come with little or no warning and leave you to deal with the impact on your operations as well as reputation. Why and how should you control the messages that go out to your customers, stakeholders, and media in such situations? How do you manage the demands of social media and the 24/7 news? Discuss how you can be responsive and proactive in the wake of a crisis. Leave with a list of dos' and don'ts and template holding statements to add to your crisis communications playbook.

Neil Nixon, President, Nixon & Associates, McGaheysville, Virginia

Public Power Forward The 100% Renewables Bandwagon: Should You Jump On?
More cities and states are adopting mandates to use 100% renewable energy in the next few decades. Some, including a few public power communities, are already there. What does that really mean and how does it impact your utility? What does a 100% renewables portfolio look like — solar, wind, storage, hydro, nuclear, or other low and no carbon resources? Hear from utilities that are powering communities with increasing amounts of renewable energy, consider their challenges, and see what’s feasible for your utility.

Dave Geschwind, Executive Director & CEO, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Rochester, Minnesota; Doug Little, Senior Advisor, Office of Electricity, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.; and Paul Zummo, Director of Policy Research and Analysis, American Public Power Association

Community & Communications Economic Development Best Practices: Site Selection and Megatrends
Public power is a critical piece of a community’s economic development but attracting new business customers to locate in your service territory is no easy feat. To best market your community, you must understand how the site selection process works. Hear expert advice on how companies make location decisions and, more importantly, what communities can do to attract and retain businesses and jobs. Learn about the trends and key drivers impacting the location decision-making process and hear about critical success factors for a community’s economic development efforts. 

Janet Ady, President & CEO, AdyAdvantage, Madison, Wisconsin


Legislative & Regulatory Federal Legislative Update: From Congress to Your Community
Hear what’s happening in Congress this year on issues that impact public power and your utility. See how the American Public Power Association is advocating to protect and advance your interests in infrastructure investments, bond modernization, hydropower licensing reform, the federal power program, wholesale electricity markets, grid security, and common-sense policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Discover how you can add your voice and show Congress the power and needs of your community.

Desmarie Waterhouse, Vice President, Government Relations & Counsel, John Godfrey, Senior Government Relations Director, and Amy Thomas, Senior Government Relations Director, American Public Power Association


Cyber & Physical Preparedness Cybersecurity: Small Investment, Big Impact
No utility is immune from a cyber attack and you need to shore up your defenses – but that does not require a big budget and resources. Explore practical, cost-effective approaches to cybersecurity that can produce significant results. See how one public power utility is leveraging the city’s IT to build cybersecurity into electric utility operations. Learn about the Neighborhood Keeper program, a collaborative threat detection and intelligence platform that gives small utilities access to industrial control system threat analytics and insights.

Rob Lee, CEO, Dragos, Hanover, Maryland; and Scott Smith, Chief Information Security Officer, City of Bryan, Texas


Operations & Reliability Safety Top 5: Step Up Your Game         
Public power has an impressive track record of safety. Is your utility’s game up to par? Review the top five safety practices and see if you’re keeping up. Explore if there’s anything you can do better to build or enhance a culture of safety, without sacrificing efficiency and reliability. Get safety benchmarking data, and learn how you can measure employee safety for reports to managers and boards. Learn from case studies on safety improvement.

Paul Jakubczak, Director of Electric and Gas Systems, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Florida; and Ed Krieger, Power System Director, Piqua Municipal Power System, Ohio


Utility Governance & Management Boards 101: Fulfilling Your Fiduciary Responsibilities
Whether you’re a new board member or have been wearing the mantle for some time, you are tasked with overseeing utility assets for your community owners and beneficiaries. Only the board as a legal entity can carry out — or otherwise ensure fulfillment of — these fiduciary responsibilities. How best can you fulfill your responsibilities? What help can you get from the utility CEO or general manager and independent advisors? Explore the gamut of a board’s fiduciary responsibilities and learn how you can effectively carry them out.

Connie Lock, General Counsel, New Braunfels Utilities, Texas; and R. John Miner, President, Collaborative Learning, Austin, Texas


Workforce Optimization  Winning the Talent War: Workforce Challenges and Keys to Success
Are you prepared to handle increased Baby Boomer retirements, manage the forgotten Gen Xers, engage the millennials, and build diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Discover the five workforce essentials for public power utilities in 2019. Learn how best to take on the increasing industry competition for new talent. Hear what other utilities are doing, and discuss the real costs of employee retirement and attrition and the ROI of attraction and retention

Janet Kieffer, Principal, INFLUENCE, Georgetown, Texas


11 – 11:30 a.m.

The Future is Here for Solar + Storage
The future has arrived for solar PV + storage (PV+S).  Low-cost solar and wind have made the need and opportunities for storage much greater. Dispatchable solar is an incredible growth market, especially with the costs of batteries coming down considerably. Utilities need to move quickly on implementing storage to capture the Investment Tax Credit. Learn how the nation’s largest privately-held solar and storage developer, 8minutenergy Renewables, is implementing PV+S systems to address traditional utility problems, such as energy issues (time shift, arbitrage, curtailment, transmission congestion), and power issues (frequency response, ramp rate control, renewables smoothing). 

Carl Stills, Vice President of Storage Integration, 8minutenergy Renewables, San Francisco, California

11:30 a.m. – Noon

Will Renewables Ruin Organized Markets? 
Panelists will discuss whether the increased use of wind, solar and storage will impact the RTOs by raising existential challenges. Will subsidized renewables crash energy market prices, affecting market efficiency? Will other suppliers have to find new revenue streams or exit the market? Will the intermittency of renewables impact resource adequacy and lead to over-investment in generation? Are there opportunities for public power communities resulting from these developments? 
Jeffrey Genzer, Lisa Gast, Sean Neal, Michael Postar, and Thomas Rudebusch, Shareholders, Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke, Washington, D.C.