Technical & Operations Conference

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Technical & Operations Conference

Technical & Operations Conference

Date: December 6-8, 2017
  • Day 1: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Day 2: 8:30 am - 7:00 pm
  • Day 3: 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Best Western Plus Kelly Inn, 100 4th Avenue South, St. Cloud, MN 56301
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The T&O Conference is the perfect venue to connect with other industry leaders. The conference features an educational program geared toward superintendents, managers, crew leaders and other personnel. Participants are sure to find the variety of topics to be meaningful and offer valuable insight on some of the most challenging topics facing the industry today.

In addition, the conference will include a vendor showcase featuring new products as well as a trade show and reception. These events are always well attended and are a great opportunity to talk with suppliers and learn more about their products and services.


Wednesday, December 6

8:30 am-1 pm  MMUA Board of Directors Meeting (State Room)

noon-5 pm  Conference Registration Open (Lobby)

1 pm  Welcome & Opening Remarks (Congress/Senate/Sunwood Ballroom)

1:15-4:30 pm  The Language of Responsibility: Become the Leader People Want to FollowKit Welchlin, Welchlin Communication Strategies
Think of the best boss you've ever had. What was it about that person that made him or her your best boss? Did you trust them? Did they care about you? Very likely. Was it easy to discuss concerns, solve problems, and resolve conflict? Absolutely. A communication climate is determined by the degree to which people see themselves as valued.

Learn how to:

  • craft confirming messages
  • respond to disconfirming comments
  • neutralize emotive language
  • communicate the language of responsbility
  • recognize dialectical tensions and negotiate satisfying outcomes

Thursday, December 7

8:30-11:20 am  Active Threat Preparedness & Verbal De-escalation for the Workplace, Sargent Tad Hoeschen, St. Cloud Police Dept.
Learn about pre-assault behaviors both verbal and non-verbal. A variety of methods will be discussed on ways to calm a verbally aggressive or potentially disruptive individual. Attendees will also learn about typical police response procedures and what should be expected if the verbal altercation needs to result in law enforcement response. This presentation is designed for those that work in a variety of settings including classrooms and businesses of all kinds, with a particular emphasis for those working in customer service or other challenging settings. Discussion also includes situations of workplace violence and potential indications that a fellow employee may have escalating or potential violent behaviors.

Attendees will be presented with the federal recommendations for businesses and organizations in the event of an active threat situation. Information provided will include a history of techniques that have been used in response to active threat and what the current guidelines are as well as detailed information on the “Run, Hide, Fight” concept. Attendees will also be given information about policy development and how to plan drills with your staff.  

11:30 am-Noon  Apprentice Lineworker & 2017 Rodeo Recognitions, Mike Willetts, MMUA and Don Harbuck, Northwest Lineman College

Noon-1 pm  Lunch (poolside)

3 pm  Vendor Setup for Trade Show (Grand Ballroom)

The afternoon will offer a choice of two tracks.

Manager Track

1-2:45 pm  Mindset of an Attacker, Eric Brown and Jesse Homa, Cyber Advisors
In this session, we discuss the different attack vectors modern attackers use against individuals and networks. We’ll examine the techniques attackers use to breach an organization—such as phishing, malware, man-in-the-middle, USB drives, and social engineering. The session will include a demonstration of a live attack.

3-3:45 pm  Reliability—Communicating the ValueTroy Adams, Elk River Municipal Utilities; Dave Hunstad, Hutchinson Utilities; and Dirk Bierbaum, Rochester Public Utilities
Public Power often has higher than average reliability numbers, but does not toot the horn loud enough. You're working hard to keep the lights on—and the batteries charging—in a world where there are new threats and challenges to electricity flow. But are you telling customers about your efforts? Learn how utilities are highlighting their reliability track record and efforts to maintain reliable and safe service.

‚Äč4-4:45 pm  Vendor Showcase
This session will give you a rapid-fire look at the latest in goods and services for the utility industry. We give each participating vendor a few minutes; they give us their best shot.

5-7 pm  Trade Show & Reception (Grand Ballroom)
Be sure to join us for our product show. There is always a lot of good information changing hands at the show. This is a great place to see what's new to the industry and provides an opportunity to make new connections.

Crew Leader/Foreman Track

1-1:45 pm  Safety Culture Within, Matt Tupper, Rochester Public Utilities and Marc Machacek, MMUA
Employers are focusing on safety culture as the way to improve safety performance. Understanding how safety is viewed from the ground level is essential.

Define Safety Culture:  The Attitudes and Behavior

Measure Safety Culture:  How do you know whether the safety culture at your job site is good or bad? How can you show that safety culture has improved? How metrics are most useful?

What methods or best practices could be used to improve safety culture? Which are most effective?

Elevating (Enriching/Inspiring/Uplifting) Your Safety Culture: Enhancing your safety culture is about more than removing hazards and institutionalizing safety procedures. It’s about peopletheir attitudes, behaviors and thoughtsand the changing dynamics of today’s world.

2-2:45 pm  PCB SnapshotSamantha Adams, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
During this session, Sam will give you a snapshot of PCBs covering PCB recordkeeping, PCB testing, PCB storage, PCB disposal and PCB spill response. Note: PCB requirements are Federal requirements under TSCA and not state requirements.

3-3:45 pm  Minnesota Lineworker Apprenticeship, Rick Martagon, Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry
Learn about registered apprenticeship as a time-tested employee training system that combines job-related technical instruction with structured on-the-job learning experiences. Registered apprenticeship has been established in Minnesota since 1939. The presentation will include essential elements of a registered apprenticeship program; the State of Minnesota registered apprenticeship including utility lineworker program and current Apprenticeship Minnesota initiatives. Learn the ins and outs of the lineworker apprenticeship program and how it aligns with MMUA’s apprenticeship programs. We will discuss what is expected when it comes to paperwork and filings.

4-4:45 pm  Vendor Showcase
This session will give you a rapid-fire look at the latest in goods and services for the utility industry. We give each participating vendor a few minutes; they give us their best shot.

5-7 pm  Trade Show & Reception (Grand Ballroom)
Be sure to join us for our product show. There is always a lot of good information changing hands at the show. This is a great place to see what's new to the industry and provides an opportunity to make new connections.

Friday, December 8

8:30-9:30 am  How Distraction Changed My Life, Matt Logan
A father of four, native of Rochester, Minnesota, shares his story of dreams shattered when he lost his oldest daughter in a car crash. His goal, hope and dream is that sharing his story will challenge you on how you focus when behind the wheel.

10-10:45 am  Distributed Energy ResourcesIt's Not That SimpleBob Jagusch and Bill Black, MMUA
The presenters will provide a toolkit your utility can use to comply with the present regulations to interconnect DER’s in Minnesota and discuss efforts at the regulatory state level to update the interconnection process. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has convened a working group by Commission Order (Jan. 24, 2017) to transition Minnesota’s Interconnection Process to one based on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Small Generator Interconnection Agreements and Procedures. This change will require new procedures and processes for utility interconnection. Join the discussion and get an understanding of the changes being planned.

10:45 am-noon  MMUA Update

noon  Adjournment

Registration Fee

The cost to attend this conference is $465 per person. The registration fee covers tuition, materials, refreshment breaks, lunch on Thursday and admission to the reception and trade show.

Registration fee will increase $50 on November 17, 2017. Deadline to register is November 22. 


A refund will be given on advance registrations if the MMUA office is notified by 4:30 pm on November 22. A cancellation fee of $25 per person will be charged. No refunds given after November 22, 2017.

Hotel Information

Best Western Plus Kelly Inn, 100 4th Avenue South, St. Cloud, MN 56301

Reservations can be made online using this special link for our room block. (If you run into an error, change the date of the search and the rate will come up.) You can also call the hotel directly at 320.253.0606 and ask for MMUA's room block. Our special pricing is $94 per night (plus tax). If you would like information for a suite upgrade or have special billing requirements, please contact the sales department directly at 320.258.8404 or by email.

Cut-off date is November 21, 2017. After that date, reservations are accepted on a space available basis at prevailing rates.

Events for Associate Members

TRADE SHOW: Associate members can have a booth at the trade show to be held on December 7. Reserve your spot by clicking HERE. This one fills up fast so don't delay!

SPONSOR: We also have an opportunity for Associate members to sponsor events at the T & O Conference. We will post a sign at the event site with your company's logo and have you listed in the official conference program. To become a sponsor, click HERE and scroll down to the list of T & O Conference events.

VENDOR SHOWCASE: Vendors will have 5 minutes to talk to conference attendees about their products or services. Space is limited to 10 and will be taken on a first come basis. Our system does not have the ability to list this as an option within the trade show event so it was added it to the Become a Sponsor section of our website. Click HERE and scroll down the list to T & O Conference — Vendor Showcase to register.

HOSPITALITY: How about hosting a hospitality suite? Call Kelly Inn Sales Department at 320.258.8404 or email Lindsay Latterell for more information. Kelly Inn does not allow you to bring in food items from outside the hotel.

Conference Brochures

A printable copy of the conference brochure is available. Associate members can print a copy of the brochure for the trade show, reception, sponsoring and hosting hospitality suites.


By registering for this conference, I/we the registered attendee(s), authorize Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) to photograph me at this event and use such photographs in MMUA marketing pieces (both electronic and print). I understand that I will not be paid for giving this consent.


If you have questions, please contact Rita Kelly at 763.746.0707 or

Thank You, Annual Sponsors

View all Annual Sponsors

Video Captures 2016 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo

We now have a 4-minute rodeo recap video of the 2016 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo, live on the MMUA YouTube channel.  It features great footage and interviews with a number of key players in the event.  The April 2 event was hosted by Shakopee Public Utilities and MMUA, and brought together lineworkers from across the country. Watch this video and enjoy reliving that amazing day.  Be sure to bundle up before you click!