Event Profile

Northwest Communications & Energy Innovations Conference

September 16 — 19, 2018
Coeur d'Alene Resort




Who Should Attend:

Marketing, public relations, communications, energy services, renewable energy and key accounts employees, as well as any employee and board member with an interest in these areas.

Related Event:

The Secrets of Social Media: Clues for Connecting with Electric Utility Customers, September 19, 2018

Conference Overview:

Community: The Heart of Public Power

The NIC is designed with communicators and energy efficiency professionals in mind. We have keynote speakers who will inspire you and challenge your thinking about how we should communicate and innovate in this challenging world of the electric utility industry.

Conference Agenda:

    Sunday, September 16, 2018

    2-5 p.m. Registration desk open

    6:30-9 p.m. Welcome reception and People’s Choice Award photo entries

      All are invited to attend to connect with colleagues, mingle, and vote on the Excellence in Communication photography entries that will be on display.

    Monday, September 17, 2018

    6:30-7:30 a.m. Fitness walk (Optional)

      Early birds are invited to gather in the lobby near the front doors to come along on a morning walk near the shores of beautiful Lake Coeur D’Alene

    7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Registration desk open

    7:30-8:30 a.m. Breakfast buffet

    8:30-8:40 a.m. Welcome to the 2018 NIC

      Sarah Johnson, 2018 Conference Chair, Clatskanie PUD

    8:40–9:30 a.m. General session #1: Improving with Improv - Developing Executive Presence

      Chris Ulrich, Speaker, CU in the Moment

      Keynote speaker Chris Ulrich uses a multi-disciplined approach to developing communication, personal confidence, and presentation skills. His background in movement patterns and improvisation make this a fun––and surprising––way to raise the bar on personal impact.

    9:35-10:30 a.m. Breakout sessions #1 (choose one)

      Communications: Social Media: Feeding the Feed & DIY Video

        Megan McKoy-Noe, Content Marketing & Development Manager, Ruralite Services, Inc.

        Competition has cut organic reach on social media channels, so how can your message stand out? Let’s look at frequency studies and Facebook News Feed changes. We’ll give you three strategies for reaching consumers online, then share easy ways to add video-on-the-go to your social channels.

      Energy Efficiency - New Tools, New Techniques

        Nick Dominguez, IT Manager, Lassen Municipal Utility District; and Tom DuBos, Regional Business Manager, NISC

          Are you looking for that next cool tool or technique to help your energy efficiency program shine? Then you need to attend this exciting session. Nick Dominguez from Lassen Municipal Utility District will present their new Sense home monitoring system and share early results from their testing of this new technology. Tom DuBos from NISC will present innovative communications tools that help engage your consumers in your conservation efforts.

      10:45 a.m.-Noon General session #2: Paradigm Shift: Poverty and Bias

        Donna Beegle, Phd., Communicating Across Barriers

        Dr. Beegle will provide life-changing information that shatters common myths and stereotypes about people who live in poverty. How does our bias impact our customer communication, support approaches and systems?

      Noon-1 p.m. Lunch

      1-1:50 p.m. General session #3: Communications Triage Then and Now

        Marc Farmer, General Manager, Clatskanie PUD; and Jonathan Farmer, Member Services Specialist, Consumers Power

        Two generations of battle tested communicators share their knowledge and experiences using surgical precision to examine communications conundrums. Walking through the minefield of today’s communication world is not easy, but with the proper instruments and techniques successful triage can be accomplished. Our battlefield has continually changed over the last 30 years and knowing how to react on the fly, as well as, having a comprehensive communications and marketing plan can save your life. And a good sense of humor will at least save your sanity.

      2-3 p.m. Breakout sessions #2 (choose one)

        Communications: Crisis Communications

          Paul Lowenthal, Assistant Fire Marshal, City of Santa Rosa; and Adriane Mertens, Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator, City of Santa Rosa

          Learn how communicators responded to fast-moving fires that devastated a suburban Bay Area community in California’s wine country last fall. This fire left a community without power, limited phone and internet, and thousands of evacuations.

        Energy Efficiency: The Trials, Tribulations and Successes in Low Income Weatherization Programs

          Carrie Nelson, Program Manager Low Income, Bonneville Power Administration; Carol Suhan, Manager Energy Conservation and Energy Management Group, FortisBC; and Rachel Revisky, Weatherization Program Coordinator, Washington State Department of Commerce

          Utilities in the Pacific Northwest are continually looking for ways to improve home energy efficiency for low-income customers and the working poor; and many rural customers who want to have a more efficient home face income challenges and affordability. At this session, hear how some utilities and power agencies are having success in their programs. Learn ways to connect your weatherization programs to these customers with targeted program design and implementation strategies. See how one Canadian utility’s energy efficiency programs help those living in multi-unit buildings and single-dwelling homes.

      3:15-4:30 p.m. Roundtable discussions #1 (Designed by utility size)

        An opportunity to participate in hot topic discussions with other NWPPA members of similar sizes.

      Tuesday, September 18, 2018

      6:30-7:30 a.m. Fitness walk (optional)

        Early birds are invited to gather in the lobby near the front doors to come along on a morning walk near the shores of beautiful Lake Coeur D’Alene.

      7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Registration desk open

      7:30-8:30 a.m. Breakfast buffet

      8:40-10 a.m. General session #4: Utility Executive Panel

        Marc Farmer, General Manager, Clatskanie PUD; Scott Peters, CEO, Columbia REA; and Rollie Miller, General Manager, Vigilante Electric Co-op

        Join us to hear from public power utility executives about what keeps them up at night, and what they see as the big issues in our future. Want to know how to pitch your next great idea or project to your GM/CEO and have an increased chance of hearing “Yes?” Then you need to be at this session! This open discussion with some of our dynamic utility leaders will be informative and inspiring.

      10:15-11 a.m. Breakout sessions #3 (choose one)

        Communications: Grammar-rama!

          Libby Calnon, General Manager, Hood River Electric Cooperative; and Brenda Dunn, Associate Editor, NWPPA; and Kierre Childers, Community and Member Relations Coordinator, Matanuska Electric Association

          As word nerds, we all know the difference between they’re, there, and their. It’s versus its? Easy! But what about i.e. and e.g.? Affect versus effect? Is it utilities or utility’s? Or both? Where does that period go if it’s part of a quote? What about a question mark in a quote? Brenda Dunn edits NWPPA’s Bulletin magazine and has seen it all––the good and the bad! With the help of Libby Calnon and Kierre Childers, these three ladies will test your word nerd knowledge with a Grammar-rama quiz like none other! Bring your competitive spirit because prizes will be awarded.

        Utility Expansion: Broadband and Fiber

          Jasper Schneider, VP of Member and Industry, NISC

          Utility broadband is growing by leaps and bounds. Jasper Schneider of NISC, and formerly of USDA’s Rural Utility Service will discuss how utilities fit into the broadband landscape. He’ll discuss fiber, satellite and fixed-wireless, along with business models and best practices from other utilities across the nation.

        11:10 a.m.-Noon General session #5: Legislative update

          Scott Corwin, Executive Director, Public Power Council; and Nicole Case, Legislative Affairs Consultant, NWPPA

          How does a bill become a law? How do PPC, NWPPA, and other associations work on behalf of our customers to make sure that legislation benefits public power? In another engaging session with the Scott and Nicole dynamic duo, we will start with a brief “Policy Making 101” recap and then hear an update on key industry issues facing the region. Bring your questions!

        Noon-1 p.m. Lunch with tabletop topics

        1-2 p.m. General session #6: Using Thermal Imagery to Intrinsically Motivate Action on Energy Efficiency Upgrades

          Darren Jones, CEO, MyHeat; and Carmen Proctor, EcoSave Program Coordinator, Nelson Hydro

          Hear about an overview of a project in Nelson, B.C., and Medicine Hat, AB, where airborne thermal imagery was utilized to raise awareness and increase engagement in current energy efficiency programs offered by local electric utilities. Outcomes that will be measured include program interest and participation.

        2-3 p.m. Roundtable discussions #2 (Designed by hot topics)

          An opportunity to participate in hot topic discussions with other NWPPA members

        3:15-4:15 p.m. General session #7: Come Be More Powerful Together with Us!

          Brenda Dunn, Editor, NWPPA; Megan McKoy-Noe, Content Marketing & Development Manager, Ruralite Services, Inc; Theresa Phillips, Public Relations Manager, Lassen Municipal Utility District; Pam Spettel, Member & Public Relations Manager, Blachly-Lane Electric Cooperative; and Mandi Hitt, Communications Manager/Executive Assistant, Raft River Electric Cooperative.

          You’ve seen the presentations, you’ve heard about the materials, you may even know the four themes (Local, Innovative, Expert, and Driven), but are you using the materials created for you––our members––to use for free? NWPPA’s Brenda Dunn and Ruralite Services’ Megan McKoy-Noe will highlight what their organizations have created over the past year and what they have in store for 2019. They will then introduce you to three MPT super stars: Theresa Phillips from Lassen MUD, Pam Spettel from Blachly-Lane Electric Cooperative, and Mandi Hitt from Raft River Electric Cooperative. Come listen to these utility communicators explain how and why MPT has worked for them. Hopefully you will leave the session with some MPT ideas to take back to your own utility so you, too, can be More Powerful Together with your members.

        6:30-9:30 p.m. Reception, banquet, and presentation of awards

        Wednesday, September 19, 2018

        7-8 a.m. Fitness walk (optional)

          Early birds are invited to gather in the lobby near the front doors to come along on a morning walk near the shores of beautiful Lake Coeur D’Alene.

        8-8:45 a.m. Breakfast buffet

        8:45-9:45 a.m. General Session #8: Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the Road Ahead

          Travis Jank, CTO, KRAMBU

          Utilities are serving increasingly diverse customers. The latest opportunity and challenge comes from popular cryptocurrency mining operations. Learn details of these businesses, the underlying blockchain technology, and why we need to pay attention to this growing industry.

        10:15-11:30 a.m. General Session #9: Electric Vehicles: A Fad or the Future?

          Patrick Keegan, Collaborative Efficiency; and Doug Anderson, Deputy Power Manager, Grand Coulee Dam

          Hear the latest information about EV technology, its benefits, and its challenges for electric utilities, including an overview of the trends in the EV market and a business case for using EVs as fleet vehicles at Grand Coulee Dam.

        11:30-11:45 a.m. Wrap-up and invitation to 2019 NIC

          Evaluations and grand-prize drawing (must be present to win)

        12:30-5 p.m. Post-conference workshop (Separate registration required)

        The Secrets of Social Media: Clues for Connecting with Electric Utility Customers

    Conference Schedule:

    The conference begins on Sunday, September 16, with a welcome reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m., and ends at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, September 19. An optional post-conference class (separate registration required) will be offered from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, with lunch provided for post-conference class attendees at noon.

    Conference Location & Hotel Information:

    Note: The room block at the Coeur d’Alene Resort is sold out, please try these overflow hotels. A room block has not been established so please call the hotel for the best available rate.

    Hampton Inn & Suites
    1500 Riverstone Dr.
    Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
    (208) 769-7900
    2 miles from the resort

    Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn
    506 W Appleway Avenue
    Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
    (208) 765-3200
    2.5 miles from the resort

    Coeur d'Alene Resort - SOLD OUT
    115 S. 2nd St.
    Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816
    (855) 703-4648

    Room rate: $155 North Wing, $185 Park tower, $205 Lake Tower

    Please make your reservations before August 15, 2018 to receive these special rates. Mention that you are coming for the NWPPA conference to receive the block rate.

    Airport Transportation

    The Coeur d’Alene currently provides 6-passenger LimoVan service to and from the Spokane International Airport. This service is available with forty-eight (48) hour advanced reservations. The current fee is $69.00 per person, round trip. Please contact The Resort's transportation department for scheduling at (208) 765-4000.


    The Coeur d’Alene provides controlled covered on-site parking. The current fee is $18.00 per every twenty-four (24) hour period. Valet services are also offered at $22.00.

    Conference Fees:

    Member Early Bird (ends 8/16/2018): $795
    Member Standard: $870

    Non-member Early Bird (ends 8/16/2018): $2,385
    Non-member Standard: $2,610

    Cancellation Policy:

    Cancellations are accepted, with full refund, if request is made at least 30 days prior to the course. Within 30 days, fees are as follows: 15-29 days, $100; 1-14 days or "no show," 100 percent of registration fee. When possible, please send a substitute instead of canceling. NWPPA does not charge a fee for substitutions.

    Continuing Hours:

    This event qualifies for 15 continuing hours. Certificates are issued upon full completion of the conference.

    For More Information:

    To find out more about this event, or to learn about other events, view the Training and Event Catalog.