FMEA Annual Conference

Diamond Sponsor
Burns & McDonnell
Novinium: Masters of Reliability
OUC - The Reliable One
Platinum Sponsor
Florida Power & Light
Gold Sponsors
Bank of America
Silver Sponsors
Duke Energy
ECF Engineering Consultants
GAI Consultants
GDS Associates, Inc.
Nixon Peabody
POWER Engineers
Stanley Consultants
Southern Power Company
Wells Fargo
Bronze Sponsors
Black & Veatch
Hopping Green & Sams
Milwaukee Electric Tool
nFront Consulting, LLC
Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.
Pike Electric, LLC
PowerServices, Inc.
Purvis Grey & Company, CPA's
Spiegel & McDiarmid
Tampa Electric Company
The Energy Authority

About the Conference

The 2018 FMEA Annual Conference will be held in Palm Beach at The Breakers.

The Conference is a summer highlight for representatives from all segments of the electric utility industry: public, private and cooperative, and is extremely successful due to the support of the Florida public power community.

PLEASE NOTE: You must be registered for the conference to participate in any additional functions.

Who will attend?

Utility Directors & Managers

Utility Supervisors

Electric Utility Directors


City Commissioners

City Council Members

City Managers

Legal Counsel

Finance Managers

Environmental Managers

Communication Managers

Customer Service Managers


Key Account Managers

IT Managers

FMEA Continuing Education Program

There are 7.25 CEU’s (Continuing Education Credits/Professional Development Hours) available for attending this FMEA event.

Attendee Pricing
Before June 15
After June 15
FMEA Municipal Member
FMEA Associate or Affiliate Member
Spouse or Guest registration
Additional Functions
Additional Banquet ticket (Adult)
Additional Banquet ticket (Child ages 8-16)

Attendee Registration

Guest Registration

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FMEA Policymaker Scholarship Program

Recipients of the FMEA Policymaker Scholarship are awarded complimentary conference registration. Spouse/Guest registration not included.

Recipients must meet the following criteria:

  • One scholarship awarded annually per FMEA utility member
  • Recipient must be a first-time conference attendee
  • Recipient must be accompanied by a senior-level city or utility official who is fully registered for the Conference

Policymaker Scholarship Registration

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Sponsorship Opportunities

The conference is important to your business because it brings together the top elected officials and decision-makers of Florida’s public power utilities. If you conduct business with municipal electric utilities, you understand that sustained relationships and continuous visibility to this market segment are essential for long-term success. This conference is the premier event for interaction with key personnel of FMEA’s member utilities.

Contribution amount
Number of registrants included

* FMEA Diamond sponsors receive Gold level benefits at all 3 FMEA major events in a calendar year

Sponsorship Registration

*In addition, Diamond sponsors receive Gold level sponsor benefits for the Florida Lineman Competition AND the FMEA Energy Connections Conference & Trade Show!

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Hotel Information

A third party claiming to represent FMEA may contact attendees of upcoming conferences and offer assistance with hotel reservations. No such third party is affiliated with FMEA or authorized to represent us — please do NOT make hotel reservations through any third party that may contact you by phone or email. FMEA maintains room blocks with specially negotiated rates at all our conference hotels and attendees are encouraged to only use the Online reservation links, phone numbers, and discount codes available on the FMEA web site.

The Breakers
1 South County Road
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Phone:(561) 655-6611

PLEASE NOTE: At this time, the room block at The Breakers is full. Please email or call Nicole Albers with FMEA to get on a waitlist for The Breakers at or 850-224-3314 ext. 7.

Overflow hotel information is below.

Overflow Hotels

The Brazilian Court
301 Australian Avenue
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Studio: $179
Studio with Patio or Terrace $209
One Bedroom Suite: $289
Complimentary overnight valet parking

Call reservations department at 1-800-552-0335 or 561-655-7740 and ask for the Florida Municipal Electric Association room block to receive the special rates.

Brazilian Court reservation cutoff date: June 25, 2018.

The Chesterfield
363 Cocoanut Row
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Phone: (561) 659-5800

Guests must book directly with hotel. Florida resident rate: $167 for a standard queen room, $185 non-resident.

The Chesterfield online reservations:

The Colony
155 Hammon Avenue
Palm Beach, FL 33480
General: (561) 655-5430
Reservations: 1-800-521-5525

Guests must book directly with hotel. Standard room rate: $219.

The Colony online reservations:

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Conference Agenda Overview

Tuesday, July 17
1:00 – 5:00 pm Registration Desk Open
3:00 – 4:30 pm Pre-conference Seminar (pre-registration is required)

State and Federal Legislative Process, Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director, Tallahassee, and Michael Nolan, President, MJN Consulting, Washington, D.C.

The state and federal legislative process can be complicated and daunting. How does an idea work its way through the process to become law? What opportunities exist to stop a bad bill? How are these processes different at the state level vs. federal level? What do acronyms and words such as “TP,” “PCB,” and “cloture” mean?

How can YOU, as part of the public power community, influence this process?

Learn answers to these questions and more at this pre-conference seminar as Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director, and Michael Nolan, President of MJN Consulting of Washington, D.C., walk you through the state and federal legislative process.

5:30 – 6:30 pm Networking Reception for Colleagues and Sponsors
Wednesday, July 18
7:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration Desk Open
7:30 am FMPA Board of Directors Continental breakfast
8:00 am FMPA Board of Directors Meeting
8:30 am FMPA Executive Committee Meeting
(or immediately following Board of Directors Meeting)
10:30 – 12:30 pm FMEA Board of Directors meeting and lunch
(for FMEA Board of Directors only)
1:00 – 1:30 pm Ice Cream Social
1:30 – 4:30 pm General Session

Presiding: Chip Merriam, FMEA President and Vice President of Legislative, Regulatory and Compliance, Orlando Utilities Commission

1:30 – 1:45 pm Welcome, Chip Merriam, FMEA President and Vice President of Legislative, Regulatory and Compliance, Orlando Utilities Commission and Amy Zubaly, Executive Director, Florida Municipal Electric Association
1:45 – 2:45 pm Managing in Times of Crisis, Bruce Hennes, Managing Partner, Hennes Communications, Cleveland, Ohio

It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only a few seconds to destroy one. “Managing the message” is a necessary skill-set for utility executives, their legal counsel and other members of the management team.

This fast-paced talk by veteran crisis management and communications specialist Bruce Hennes, from Hennes Communications in Cleveland, Ohio, will focus on a highly-strategic approach to communicating during a wide variety of situations, offering methods for establishing and maintaining “control of the message,” enabling you to move your message forward or mount a defense against a sudden onslaught from traditional or social media.

2:45 – 3:00 pm Refreshment Break
3:00 – 3:45 pm Red State? Blue State? A Look at the Upcoming Elections in Florida, Steven J. Vancore, President, Clearview Research and VancoreJones Communications, Tallahassee

The 2018 elections are quickly approaching and there are a lot of seats up for grabs, including the Governor’s. Pollster and long-time political consultant Steven J. Vancore gives us a sneak preview of the upcoming elections. Will it be a blue wave? Or will national trends be muted at the Florida border?

3:45 – 4:30 pm Countering Change with Change: Adjusting to the New Normal, Sue Kelly, President and CEO, American Public Power Association, Arlington, Virginia

Public power utilities are seeing big changes in how their customers use and view electricity. Even as electric utilities grapple with flat or even declining load growth, potential new loads are on the horizon. Resources are becoming more decentralized, with distributed generation, demand response and energy efficiency playing an ever larger role at the retail and even the wholesale level. Cyber and physical security threats are growing and no utility, large or small, is immune. Public power is well positioned to take advantage of these new opportunities while mitigating the threats, but we need to capitalize on our strengths and work together to tackle the challenges we face.

4:45 – 5:45 pm Special Mid-Conference Seminar

Responding to Crisis Situations: Tactics for the Public Power Executive, Bruce Hennes, Managing Partner, Hennes Communications, Cleveland, Ohio – FMEA Members Only (Closed to press, consultants, vendors and non-members)

This Special Mid-Conference Seminar is a continuation of a General Session presentation on Crisis Management from speaker Bruce Hennes offering a series of tactics for today’s modern utility executives and policymakers. These tactics include the pre-interview, your “rights” and the reporter’s “rights,” alternatives to “no comment” and an extensive Q&A session.

This Special Mid-Conference Seminar is for FMEA Municipal Members ONLY – closed to press, consultants, vendors and non-members. It is geared toward Public Power CEOs and Senior Management, Policymakers and Governing Board members, Communicators, and anyone within your city/utility that has the potential of interacting with the press.

The Special Seminar is free of charge, but please register your attendance we can get an accurate count of attendees.

6:00 – 7:30 pm Reception Honoring Elected and Appointed Officials
Thursday, July 19
7:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration Desk Open
7:45 – 8:30 am Continental Breakfast
8:30 am – Noon Morning General Session

Presiding: Joel Ivy, FMEA President-Elect and General Manager, Lakeland Electric

8:30 – 9:15 am The Financial Outlook for Public Power Utilities, Dan Aschenbach, Senior Vice President, Moody’s Investor Service, New York, New York

A good bond rating is key to keeping borrowing costs low, and low borrowing costs leads to low rates for consumers. What does it take to achieve a good bond rating? What are the factors Moody’s reviews in assigning credit ratings? Dan Aschenbach will inform us, as well as provide results from Moody’s recent report on the financial status of the public power industry.

9:15 – 10:00 am Natural Gas and Electric Power Supply in Florida, Seth Schwartz, President, Energy Ventures Analysis, Arlington, Virginia

The state of Florida is in the midst of a shift to heavy dependence on natural gas for power generation. What are the consequences of this change on the costs and risks of power supply for Florida’s expected load growth? Seth Schwartz will provide us with his analysis on natural gas trends and how they are impacting Florida’s power supply.

10:00 – 10:15 am Refreshment Break
10:15 – 11:00 am It’s a Strange, Strange World: What’s Going on in Washington, Michael Nolan, President, MJN Consulting, Washington, D.C.

One of our most popular speakers returns for an annual update on energy and politics in Washington, D.C.

Michael Nolan will provide us with his insights regarding the latest on the White House, Congressional agenda and the outlook on energy policy, including issues facing public power.

Come with your toughest questions and be prepared for straight talk from the Washington insider.

11:00 – Noon A Lifetime in Pursuit of Peak Performance, Walter Bond, former NBA player

A bench player during his four-year college career at the University of Minnesota, Walter Bond decided to dedicate himself to understanding peak performance. He willed himself to a full-scale optimization of every aspect of his game—and a six-year professional career, including stints with the Dallas Mavericks, the Utah Jazz, and the Detroit Pistons.
Noon – 1:30 pm Luncheon
2:00 – 4:00 pm Three Concurrent Breakout Sessions
Breakout One
2:00 – 4:00 pm Legal Seminar

Presiding: Jody Finklea, General Counsel, Florida Municipal Electric Association and Florida Municipal Power Agency

2:00 – 2:45 pm Small Cell Leasing in a Post Florida HB 687 World, Ken Schmidt, President, Steel in the Air, Inc. , Syracuse, New York
2:45 – 3:00 pm Refreshment Break
3:00 – 4:00 pm FEMA After Irma, Perspectives from Municipal Electric Utilities, Chip Merriam, Vice President of Legislative, Regulatory and Compliance, Orlando Utilities Commission, Lynne Tejeda, General Manager, Keys Energy Services and Michelle Zaltsberg Associate, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Orlando
Breakout Two
2:00 – 4:00 pm Policymakers Forum

Presiding: Mark McCain, Assistant General Manager, Florida Municipal Power Agency

2:00 – 2:45 pm Local Government Preemptions in the Florida Legislature and CRC, David Cruz, Assistant General Counsel, Florida League of Cities, Tallahassee
2:45 – 3:00 pm Refreshment Break
3:00 – 4:00 pm Policymakers Roundtable Discussion on Electric Utility Issues and FMPA’s Policymakers Liaisons Committee (PMLC) Meeting, Mike Perri, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, and Chair, PMLC
Breakout Three
2:00 – 4:00 pm Controlling Costs and Providing Outstanding Service for Today and Tomorrow

Presiding: Mike Poucher, FMEA Vice President and Director of Electric Utility, Ocala Electric Utility

2:00 – 2:45 pm 2018 Energy Storage Market Snapshot, Nick Esch, Senior Associate, Research, Smart Electric Power Alliance, Washington, D.C.
2:45 – 3:00 pm Refreshment Break
3:00 – 3:30 pm Florida Utilities – Are you Ready for the Rapid Growth of Electric Transportation?, Peter King, Electric Transportation Project Manager, Duke Energy Florida and Chairman, Drive Electric Florida, Jacksonville
3:30 – 4:00 pm

Emerging Trends and Technologies: A Florida Public Power Utility Perspective, Byron Knibbs, Vice President, Emerging Technologies, Orlando Utilities Commission

6:30 – 7:00 pm Reception
7:00 – 9:00 pm Annual Banquet

Presiding: Chip Merriam, FMEA President and Vice President of Legislative, Regulatory and Compliance, Orlando Utilities Commission