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Event Profile

Northwest Communications & Energy Innovations Conference

September 16 — 19, 2018
Coeur d'Alene Resort
115 S. 2nd St.
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816 
Not available
This event has a fee

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 (Registration coming soon)

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, view and vote on the Excellence in Communication photos from around the region.

    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 & DYI Video

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

        Competition has cut organic reach on social media channels. 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: Gadgets Galore

        Learn about experience with energy efficiency gadgets – let’s see how tech savvy you really are!

    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, 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”... but 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, BPA; Carol Suhan, FortisBC; and Rachel Ravisky, State of Washington Department of Commerce

        Learn ways to connect your weatherization programs with low income customers.

    3:15-4:30 p.m. Roundtable discussions #1

      An opportunity to participate in hot topics with other NWPPA members

    4:30-6 p.m. Electric Vehicle Showcase

      An opportunity to view, ride and even drive EVs.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2018

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

    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, COO, Columbia REA; and Rollie Miller, General Manager, Vigilante Electric Co-op

      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

        Test your grammar and writing expertise in a fun and engaging review of communication practices.

      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 brings benefits for public power? In this always-engaging session with two of NIC’s favorite presenters, 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

        An overview of a project in Nelson, British Columbia and Medicine Hat, Alberta, where airborne thermal imagery was utilized to raise awareness and increase engagement in the 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 utility size

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

        Brenda Dunn, Associate 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 Elecia Copenhaver, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Benton REA

        You’ve seen the presentations, you’ve heard about the materials, you may even know the four themes (Local, Innovative, Expert, and Driven hopefully come to mind), but are you using the materials created for you, our members, to use for free? Brenda and Megan will highlight what NWPPA and Ruralite Services 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 Elecia Copenhaver from Benton REA. 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 and explore Sacramento.

      8-8:45 a.m. Breakfast buffet

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

        Travis Jenk, 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 and its benefits and challenges for electric utilities including an overview of the trends in the EV market and a business case for and benefits of 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:

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

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

Please call the hotel and 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.

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For More Information:

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

No session information available at this time.

Speaker information is not available at this time.

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