Event Profile

Northwest Communications & Energy Innovations Conference

September 22 — 24, 2020

Who Should Attend:


Online registration is currently closed, but spaces are still available. If you would like to register for this series and receive past webinar recordings, please contact us at (360) 204-0109.

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

Related Event:

Communications Panel Discussion: Engaging Members During the Pandemic, September 16, 2020

Conference Overview:

We are excited to invite attendees to our first-ever online Northwest Communications and Energy Innovations Conference (the NIC). We have scheduled high-caliber interactive sessions that past attendees expect and that newcomers will appreciate. In addition to Breaking New Trails with this year’s online format, we will be highlighting processes that are breaking their own new trails, including grassroots communications that continue to reach customers in new ways during a pandemic; new energy services methods to interact and communicate with customers now and later; and new media, resources, and thought processes to better connect with our changing customer and community landscapes. We’ve even pivoted to present the annual Excellence in Communications awards at the trailhead versus the finish line this year. We’re excited for this opportunity and hope you will accompany us on this new adventure.

Conference Agenda:

Tuesday, September 22

10-11 a.m.

Excellence in Communications Awards Coffee Chat
Moderated by 2020 Chair Jeff Marshall, Clearwater Power Co., and 2020 Vice Chair Theresa Phillips, Lassen Municipal Utility District.

We are breaking new trails in all kinds of ways this year, including kicking off the 2020 NIC with the awards! Bring your cup of joe, tea, or OJ and engage with us as we announce and celebrate this year’s Excellence in Communications winners.

Awards supported by Bigfoot Sponsor Pioneer Utility Resources. Coffee roasted and provided by Bigfoot Sponsor Brown & Kysar, Inc.

2-3:30 p.m.

Grassroots Communications: COVID-19 Lessons Learned
Speaker: Anne Harvey, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives
Introduced by Pam Spettel, Blachly-Lane Electric Cooperative

While we’re all missing the camaraderie and networking of in-person events like the NIC, the pandemic has been a catalyst for some positive changes and new ideas in our industry. Harvey returns to the NIC to share some of the best ideas and lessons learned from electric cooperatives across the country in this content-rich presentation focused on customer service and communication.

Sponsored by Northwest RiverPartners


Wednesday, September 23

10-11:30 a.m.

Connecting with Customers Via Virtual Energy Audits & Inspections
Speakers: Ryan Davies, Central Electric Cooperative; and Joan Thornhill, Tacoma Power

Introduced by Ryan Perry, Tillamook PUD

Utilities are embracing virtual energy audits and inspections more than ever during the pandemic, but these are techniques that Oregon’s Central Electric Cooperative and Washington’s Tacoma Power have been using long before COVID-19. Tune in to learn their tips and tricks for effectively working with customers from a distance while saving time and money for both your utility and your customers. Employees in areas outside of energy services will also benefit from their advice for communicating during and after this time of social distancing.

Sponsored by EES Consulting, a GDS Associates Company; and Bonneville Environmental Foundation

2-3:30 p.m.

Communications Super Show Panel: How to be Human in a Digital World
Panelists: Megan McKoy-Noe, Pioneer Utility Resources; Lance Robertson, University of Oregon; and Chris Gaylord, Portland Corps of Engineers

Moderator: Theresa Phillips, Lassen Municipal Utility District

As we balance digital burnout with a desire for human connections online, how can we engage consumers? Learn how to harness humor, rise with Stories, plan ahead and humanize content to connect with consumers on social media. Our team of expert panelists are innovative and entertaining in their approach to keep up with the changing media landscape. They will share their best advice with us during this action-packed session.

Sponsored by Pioneer Social


Thursday, September 24

10-11:30 a.m.

20/20 Vision: Data Visualization Shows the Way
Speaker: Special guest

Introduced by Tom DuBos, NISC

A lead design strategist of a global-wide company will explain how utilities can use data visualization to improve presentations and communicate more effectively with teams across their organization. One of his specialties is transforming complex data into simple visuals—who couldn’t use help with that?

Sponsored by NISC

2-3:30 p.m.

Making Customers the Hero of Your Story
Speakers: Aaron Welling and Sonny Virakpanyou, Sonar Insights
Introduced by Mandi Hitt, Raft River Electric Cooperative; and Karrie Carnes, Bonneville Power Administration

Nobody cares about you. It’s sad, but true. People are much more concerned about themselves. Yet we try to get people interested in us by telling them all about ourselves, what we do, and what we’ve accomplished. This problem gets multiplied in business. But your customer doesn’t care. What they want to hear is how you will help them. How you will solve their problems. How you will make their lives better. By changing the way we speak to our customers, and making them the hero of our stories, they become engaged. They become connected. And they become loyal. We’ll show you the principles you can use to make your marketing and communications connect with your customers and gain greater customer satisfaction, compliance, and loyalty in your community.

Sponsored by Touchstone Energy Cooperatives

Conference Sponsors:

Bigfoot Sponsors:
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Trailblazer Sponsors:  
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Conference Schedule:

The conference runs from Tuesday, September 22, to Thursday, September 24, from 10-11:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. each day.

How to Participate:

Instructions will be emailed to attendees at least 12 hours before the event and we recommend that you test the link to the meeting as soon as you get the instructions. This event will use Zoom, and is best viewed using Chrome as your browser. We recommend that you use a landline for both your phone and your internet connections.

The single-attendee rates and multiple-attendee rates are listed below. Because we manage our webinars on an honor-system, we ask that you contact Mike Hyatt-Evenson at (360) 816-1445 or mike@nwppa.org to register multiple people from your utility at a discounted rate.

Conference Fees:

Individual Attendee Registration:

    Member Rate: $165
    Non-member Rate: $330

Unlimited Attendee Registration*:

    Member Rate: $415
    Non-member Rate: $825

*If your organization would like to send multiple attendees to this event, please contact Mike Hyatt-Evenson at (360) 816-1445 or mike@nwppa.org for further details.

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% of registration fee. When possible, please send a substitute instead of canceling; NWPPA does not charge a fee for substitutions.

Continuing Hours:

This course qualifies for 7 continuing hours. Certificates are issued upon full completion of the course.

For More Information:

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