2018 FMEA Energy Connections Conference & Trade Show
Diamond Sponsors
Power Corporation of America
Gold Sponsors
8minutenergy Renewables Altec
Beaches Energy Services Burns & McDonnell
Magellan Advisors Novinium: Masters of Reliability
OUC - The Reliable One
Silver Sponsors
ECF Engineering Consultants Howard Technology Solutions
Michels POWER Engineers
Stanley Consultants Tantalus
Bronze Sponsors
Kissimmee Utility Authority

About the Conference

Designed for a broad cross-section of employees, from public power technical personnel to safety managers, the Energy Connections Conference also has much to offer to utility directors and public power professionals involved in electric utility management and operations as well as information technology and communications specialists.

Who should attend?

Call Center Managers & Representatives

Collection Specialists

Communications Managers & Specialists

Counter Clerks

Customer Service Managers & Representatives

Energy Auditors


Field Services Personnel

IT Managers & Specialists

Key Account Managers & Representatives

Lineworkers & Lineworker Foremen

Mutual Aid Coordinators

Public Relations/Community Outreach Representatives

Revenue Protection Analyst

Safety & Training Coordinators

Safety Managers & Officers

T&D Managers

Training Managers & Specialists

Utility Directors & Managers

Utility Safety Specialists & Directors

Utility Supervisors

FMEA Continuing Education Program

There are 8.0 CEU’s (Continuing Education Credits/Professional Development Hours) available for attending this FMEA event.

Attendee Pricing
FMEA Municipal Member
FMEA Associate or Affiliate Member
Attendee registration includes the following meals:

  • Wednesday: Light breakfast, Building Strong Communities Luncheon, Networking Dinner
  • Thursday: Light breakfast only

Sponsorship Opportunities

You do business with municipal electric utilities so you understand sustained relationships and continuous exposure to this market segment is essential for long-term success. The FMEA Energy Connections Conference and Trade Show brings together electric utility personnel from Florida’s municipal, cooperative and investor-owned utilities from across the state. Participating as a conference sponsor is easy. Take note of the benefits accompanying the different levels of sponsorship, to determine an appropriate level of support for your company.

Corporate Sponsorship levels

Number of registrants included
Number of tables included

* FMEA Diamond sponsors receive Gold level benefits at the FMEA Annual Conference and the Florida Lineman Competition.

Municipal Utility Sponsorship levels

Number of registrants included
8 (Front table reserved during Wednesday Luncheon)
6 (Front table reserved during Wednesday Luncheon)

Exhibitor Information

The FMEA Energy Connections Conference and Trade Show brings together electric utility personnel from Florida’s municipal, cooperative and investor-owned utilities from across the state.

Exhibitor rates

Each table rate includes two representatives and name badges for the Trade Show only.

PLEASE NOTE: To attend additional conference functions (General Sessions, Idea Exchange Forum, Building Strong Communities Luncheon, Florida Public Power Networking Dinner & Event, concurrent breakout sessions) an additional fee is required.

FMEA Associate Member
1 table
2 tables
3 tables
Additional table representative
* Add conference functions
* Includes conference sessions badge, and tickets to the Building Strong Communities Luncheon and the Florida Public Power Networking Dinner & Event
  • Exhibitor registration (Trade show tables SOLD OUT)

Additional Exhibitor Information

Exhibitor Shipping Information

  • Shipments should be addressed as follows:
    Vendor company – On-site contact name
    FMEA Energy Connections Conference – October 24-25
    c/o Embassy Suites by Hilton
    4955 Kyngs Heath Rd.
    Kissimmee, FL 34746
2018 Registered Exhibitors
Altec Industries Altra Medical Apogee Interactive
AppixSoft Corporation Asset Engineering Burns & McDonnell
Clearwater Payments drops+watts Electric Sales Associates, Inc.
Electric Supply, Inc. Emerald Transformer Engineer Sales
Evluma LED Lighting Fred Wilson & Associates GAI Consultants
GE Grid Automation Genesys Great Blue Research
Hanson Professional Services Howard Technology Solutions HurleyIR, Inc.
ILLUMAGEAR Irby Utilities Lekson Associates
Magellan Advisors Michels Corporation Milwaukee Tool
Power Corporation of America POWER Engineers QEI, LLC
Second Sight Systems Sensus, Inc. Southern Switch & Contacts
Stamm Manufacturing Stanley Consultants Sunbelt Rentals
Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, TVPPA TCI Sales, Inc. Unify Health Services, LLC
Utility Specialists, Inc. VF Workwear  

Hotel Information

A third party claiming to represent FMEA may be contacting attendees of upcoming conferences and offering 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.

Conference & Trade show location:

Embassy Suites by Hilton
4955 Kyngs Heath Rd.
Kissimmee, FL 34746
Phone: (407) 597-4000

Booking Website:

FMEA room rate $150.00 Hotel registration deadline for reduced FMEA rate:
October 8, 2018 or until block filled

Conference Agenda

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

8:00a – 5:00p

Registration desk open

8:00 – 9:00a

Continental breakfast

9:00 – 9:15a

Welcome to the Energy Connections Conference

9:15 – 9:45a

Florida Public Power Utilities Update, Amy Zubaly, Executive Director, FMEA

9:45 – 10:30a

Public Power Resources: Tools You Can Use, Michael Hyland, Senior Vice President, Engineering Services, American Public Power Association, Washington D.C.

While keeping the lights on is the number one priority for all electric utilities, public power utilities maintain a high level of reliability and our customers benefit from it. That involves being able to restore power quickly and safely after hurricanes and other weather-related events, as well as providing safe, reliable electricity year-round. The American Public Power Association offers many resources and tools to assist public power in these areas. From safety and reliability tracking to mutual aid, hear how you can use and benefit from these resources.

10:30 – 10:45a

Refreshment Break

10:45 – 11:30a

The New Age of Storm Communications, Jenise Osani and Steven Calamusa, Orlando Utilities Commission

Learn how OUC – The Reliable One quickly assembled its crisis communication team as Hurricane Irma barreled toward Florida. Free from a major tropical weather threat for more than a decade, the utility realized the importance of tweaking tactics used during Hurricane Charley in 2004 to match customer expectations for accurate, relevant and timely restoration information 24 hours a day.

OUC’s investments in social media and technology communication channels paid off, as its customers were kept informed via well-crafted communication tactics across multiple channels. Jenise and Steven will also share what they are working on to improve communications even beyond storm season.

11:30a – Noon

Strive to Satisfy Your Internal Customer to Satisfy Your External Customer, Michael Vigeant, CEO, GreatBlue Research Inc., Cromwell, Connecticut

True customer service begins within an organization. Are the employees happy? Do they believe in what the organization stands for? The first customer every organization should service is its employee. Employees are the center of all customer interactions. The building blocks of an outstanding customer experience begin with measuring the satisfaction of the employees.

As your organization gains this awareness of employee desires, expectations and competencies, the proper next steps can be taken to ultimately turn employee satisfaction into overall customer satisfaction.

Noon – 1:45p

Building Strong Communities Luncheon

Increase Your Personal Power, Eric Papp, Founder, Apage Leadership, LLC, Tampa, Florida

What could be possible if you had more energy at work? A majority of the workforce today is going through the motions and is overwhelmed by the never-ending to-do list and the complexity of change.

In this motivational program, Eric will provide key strategies on how you can refill your gas tank and maintain a high level of confidence, gratitude, and clarity at work and in your personal life. Eric is the author of Leadership By Choice and 3 Values of Being An Effective Person, and he is the creator of the podcast Ownership At Work. Eric is a weekly contributor as the leadership expert on News Talk 1530.

2:00 – 4:00p

Idea Exchange Forums

  • Customer Connections
  • Information Technology and GIS
  • Safety Training and Lineworker Training
  • Transmission & Distribution

4:00 – 6:30p

Energy Connections Conference Trade Show

7:00 – 9:30p

Florida Public Power Networking dinner & event

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Registration open

8:30 – 9:00a

Continental breakfast (open to all attendees)

8:30 – 9:25a

Brief Business over Breakfast (reverse trade show)
*INVITATION ONLY EVENT – Open to all exhibitors and invited municipal representatives

9:30a – Noon

Concurrent breakout sessions

  • Customer Connections
  • Information Technology and GIS
  • Safety Training and Lineworker Training
  • Transmission & Distribution

CONCURRENT BREAKOUT #1 – Customer Connections Breakout Session

Presider: James Barnes, Chief Customer Officer, City of Tallahassee and Chair, FMEA Customer Connections Committee

9:30 – 10:00a

Know Your Customers – Grow Your Success, Michael Vigeant, CEO, GreatBlue Research Inc., Cromwell, Connecticut

What do your customers think of you? To learn this, you must first get to know them – both your internal and your external customers. Anticipate their needs. Communicate openly and honestly. And take ownership of any "stuff" that happens to best meet their needs. Public power utilities understand more and more the power of collecting data to gain a thorough appreciation of their customer’s opinions as they relate to a variety of organizational attributes beyond standard customer satisfaction. By uncovering some key factors through research – expectations versus what is actually being delivered; where frustrations exist; reliability, rates, customer service and transparency; and audience-specific communication – utilities can steer their service toward creating a more satisfied customer base and internal team.

10:00 – 10:30a

The Monopoly’s Journey to Customer Experience, Shanita Dunsmore, Customer Experience Manager, Gainesville Regional Utilities

Customer service versus customer experience – is there a difference? YES!!! Customer service is reactive, for example, “how can I help you?” Customer experience is proactive, starting before a customer even speaks to an agent. As public power utilities, we should deliver a superior experience along each touchpoint of the customer’s journey. Come learn what GRU discovered about these differences, the impact on their brand and overall customer satisfaction. We’ll also look at some of the action steps taken such as consolidating departments, conducting employee focus groups, upgrading technology, reviewing outdated policies and procedures, collaborating with other divisions and, most importantly, gaining buy-in which helped GRU forge a new path and shift the focus to the customer.

10:30 – 10:45a

Refreshment Break

10:45 – 11:30a

Serving Our Customers: Three Values of an Effective Person, Eric Papp, Founder, Apage Leadership, LLC, Tampa, Forida

The root cause of many problems facing organizations today can be traced back to the lack of practiced values and standards of behavior. Imagine if "That’s not my responsibility" was changed to "I’ll make it happen." Think of the time and energy you could save by managing someone’s promise as opposed to micromanaging them. In this discussion, you will be given a practical foundation and a set of core values that can be implemented by employees in any organization. 

11:30a – Noon

Call Center Management Strategies, Ruby Irigoyen, Senior VP Customer Services, ENCO Utility Services,  Hermet, CA

Quality Control includes not only how a CSR prompts your customer but the protection of personal information, the accuracy of database information, and continual training.  There are various techniques to address these issues and insure clients get consistent and excellent service.  We will cover some best practices that include monitoring CSR performance to provide feedback and training, verifying customer identification to keep sensitive personal information protected, and communicating with clients to keep data as updated as possible.  

CONCURRENT BREAKOUT #2 – Information Technology and GIS Breakout Session

9:30 – 10:00a

Big Dividends on Your IT Investment, Jef Gray, Vice President of Information Technology, Kissimmee Utility Authority

The tech revolution has created amazing automation systems that enable utilities to scale without adding manpower, and in some ways, even reduce traditional workers in customer-facing positions. Learn how KUA modernized and developed systems that directly reduced phone calls and in-person payments, while also enhancing the customer experience.

10:00 – 10:30a

The IT Perspective: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle –Use of Drones in Public Power Operations, Christopher Todd, President, Airborne Response, Miami Beach, Florida

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or "drones," are rapidly evolving the workplace for many Florida electric companies and even changing how utilities respond after a storm strikes. Drones, a technological revolution, were used during the massive response to Hurricane Irma. In this session, you will learn how U.S. energy companies are using drone technology to generate efficiencies in a variety of key operating areas. Case studies will include operations that were successful, as well as other cases where there is significant room for improvement.

10:30 – 10:45a

Refreshment Break

10:45 – 11:30a

Understanding the AMI Deployment/Upgrade Process and Ensuring Quality Relationships with Your AMI Vendor, Tom Asp, Principal Engineer and Analyst, CTC Technology & Energy, Kensington, Maryland

In this discussion, we will discuss strategies to ensure your organization starts and continues its relationship with its selected AMI vendor on the right foot. Topics will include AMI system deployment and operating expenses, AMI system specifications, navigating an AMI system upgrade, new vendor procurement, and protecting your interests in vendor negotiations.

11:30a – Noon

You’ve Got a Line? We’ve Got a Poll – Hidden Treasures Discovered in Customer Lines, Jef Gray, Vice President of Information Technology, Kissimmee Utility Authority

Who’s next? This simple question asked thousands of times a day at a utility can provide many answers about your customers’ needs and why they are waiting for assistance. Learn how KUA developed an in-house, web-based system to manage customers in line, including a display of who is next, a simple interface for customer service representatives and a mountain of hidden data that revealed trends on performance, training and customer communication.

CONCURRENT BREAKOUT #3 – Safety Training and Lineworker Training Breakout Session

Presider: Gary McKenzie, Electric Safety Specialist, GRU and Chair, FMEA Safety and Training Committee

9:30 – 10:00a

The Evolution of Flame Resistant Apparel Fabrics, Terry Lena, Territory Sales Manager, VF Workwear, St, Petersburg, Florida

Flame-resistant (FR) clothing has come a long way from its origins. FR fabrics have not only improved in terms of their protection properties, but after many years of progress, they are also far more fashionable and significantly more comfortable to wear. The days of FR clothing only being available in a generic, one-color coverall are long gone. The fabrics have also evolved due to the engineering of new materials that are lighter, sweat wicking, and more breathable, while still offering a quality level of FR protection. This discussion will provide an update on the latest developments in the areas of fibers, fabrics and garments for secondary flame resistant apparel. Terry will provide samples of each fabric and garment to show you how the FR Apparel market is changing.

10:00 – 10:30a

The Alachua Experience: Implementing and Sustaining a New Safety Culture, Robert Purdy, Safety Specialist, City of Alachua

In 2016, the City of Alachua started their journey on improving their commitment to enhance their Safety Program. The first step was dedicating a full time position of Safety Specialist. Through collaborative efforts, established new safety standards, including developing a comprehensive and modernized Safety Manual, Alachua has successfully implemented a sustainable safety culture. Come learn how Alachua’s Safety Program focuses on developing and sustaining a culture of safety and wellness for all city employees. We will review key changes to the Safety Program such as additional responsibilities for the safety committee, improved post-accident drug screening procedures, institution of an accident review panel, a new hire safety orientation, celebrating safety success with safety teams, personal responsibility for safety, and developing a more efficient accident reporting process.

10:30 – 10:45a

Refreshment Break

10:45 – 11:30a

Technology Competencies, Training and Education: You Need a Bigger Hat, Christine Carpenter, Executive Director, Energy Providers Coalition for Education, (EPCE), Denver, Colorado

The utility industry is developing new critical core competencies needed to address how to develop a multi-skilled workforce and develop leadership skills for a transitional workforce. To support a skills gap for deploying and operating newer technologies within the utility industry, it’s important to create core competencies, such as technology-focused knowledge, skills, and behaviors for workers to be successful in a given position. This discussion will focus on how energy organizations are addressing the challenge of bringing new technical skills into the workforce to address technological advancements in the field and office.

11:30a – Noon

The Safety and Training Perspective: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle –Drones Use in Public Power Operations, Christopher Todd, President, Airborne Response, Miami Beach, Florida

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) — or drones, as they are commonly referred to, are rapidly evolving the workplace for many Florida electric companies. This technological revolution was used during the massive response to Hurricane IRMA. In this session, you will learn how U.S. energy companies are using drone technology to train employees and provide new safety procedures in a variety of key operating areas. Case studies will include operations that were successful and other cases where there is still significant room for improvement.

CONCURRENT BREAKOUT #4 – Transmission & Distribution Breakout Session

Presider: Steve Langley, Deputy Electric Utility Director, City of Mount Dora

9:30 – 10:00a

The EV Revolution, Peter Westlake, Manager, Sustainability Programs, Orlando Utilities Commission

There are more than 700,000 electric vehicles on the road in North America. It is estimated that by 2025, 25 percent of vehicles sold will be electric. How can electric utilities prepare for this explosive growth? Find out why and when it makes sense to invest in charging infrastructure in public places. Explore costs and returns, available technologies, and opportunities for collaboration with third party vendors. Discover how you can leverage data from charging stations to monitor and influence energy usage and environmental impacts.

10:00 – 10:30a

Small Cell Collocation, Gary Vondrasek, Manager, Telecom Sales and Services, JEA

While the small cell/5G revolution is just beginning, the time for utilities to focus on the collocation of these “small cells” is now. Developing collocation agreements could offer a business opportunity for utilities by opening up opportunities for additional revenue streams for fiber leasing as well as wireless collocation services. What factors, including the cost of retrofitting existing poles and mounting ancillary equipment on or adjacent to poles, need to be taken into consideration as utilities develop collocation agreements.

10:30 – 10:45a Refreshment Break
10:45 – 11:30a

What Does it Take to Create True First Responder Microgrids?, Doug Houseman, Grid Modernization Visionary and Lead Project Manager, Burns & McDonnell

Microgrids have been described as the answer to sliced bread. The reality is that they are non-trivial to build and maintain. But they provide a level of reliability that are best used for first responders (police, fire, shelters, etc.). The presentation is based on lessons learned from designing and implementing a number of microgrids for first responders.

11:30a – Noon

Dispatchable Solar: The Impact of PV + Storage on the Grid, Steve McKerney, Vice President of Storage Solutions, 8minutenergy Renewables

The future is here for PV plus storage. Innovative new designs and technologies have made storage – especially when paired with solar PV – fully dispatchable and cheaper than building a new natural gas-fired peaker plant today. As this industry grows, it will have tremendous positive impacts on the grid since dispatchable solar makes economic sense and ensures grid reliability. Generation output can be smoothed, shaped, and fully dispatched; and it provides economies of scale and reduced project pricing. Developers can also optimize the system design process to lower costs, integrating storage equipment within actual PV arrays to unlock more efficient inverter use. Hear about the benefits of dispatchable solar, and the main impacts to the grid, including renewable integration; grid optimization and transmission considerations.