Technical & Operations Conference

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Technical & Operations Conference

Technical & Operations Conference

Date: December 5-7, 2023
  • Day 1: Dec 5, 2023 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  • Day 2: Dec 6, 2023 8:30 am - 7:00 pm
  • Day 3: Dec 7, 2023 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Holiday Inn & Suites, 75 South 37th Avenue, St. Cloud, MN 56301
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The Technical & Operations Conference (or "T&O") is a not-to-be-missed event for Managers, Crew Leads, Lineworkers and others. This is the perfect venue to join fellow public power professionals to hear interesting speakers on timely topics, participate in discussions, share ideas and connect with friends old and new.

Check out the great lineup of speakers, presentations and topics that will be covered during this year's T&O! Plus learn about new products and services and speak with supplier representatives during the Vendor Showcase and Trade Show.

Program Details*

Tuesday, December 5

Noon–4:00 pm  Conference Registration Open (Lobby)

1:00  Welcome & Opening Remarks, Mike Willetts, MMUA (Ballroom)

1:15–2:45  Opening keynote: Ignite Unstoppable Momentum: How to be Ready for What's Now AND What's Next in a Rapidly Changing World that NEVER. SLOWS. DOWN.Kim Becking
There is no normal or new normal. There is only what’s now and what’s next. Changes, challenges, and uncertainty are hurtling towards us faster than ever, and it’s messy and unpredictable. This constant disruption and uncertainty has kicked off a brutal cycle of overwhelm for our leaders, teams, and organizations leading to fear, resistance to change, and unhealthy levels of stress.

It’s time to stop the cycle. It’s time to Stop. Shift. And Reframe Change and Challenge, because we either adapt, grow and move forward or we stay stuck and are left behind.

In this inspiring, engaging keynote, Kim reveals a proven framework for redefining resilience, reframing change, and reimagining what's possible so we can all ignite Unstoppable Momentum and break the constant cycle of overwhelm in a rapidly changing world that never slows down.

With healthy doses of humor, relatable authenticity, and motivation, Kim shares the story of her own journey to Unstoppable Momentum in work and life and offers proven research-backed tools for harnessing the power of adaptability and a grit up, don’t give up Momentum Mindset.

Get ready to turn your obstacles into opportunities, your fear into fuel, and your resistance into buy-in with the mindset, motivation and tools to bounce forward (not just back) and use every change, challenge, and uncertainty to fuel the next and better version of yourself, your teams and your communities.

3:00–4:30  Ignite and Accelerate: Unstoppable Momentum Deep Dive, Kim Becking
Come with challenges. Leave with solutions. Let's build momentum, together!

Building Unstoppable Momentum isn't a one-time event! Join Kim for a turbo-charged follow-up to her keynote. Dive deeper into her proven framework, share, connect, and brainstorm to build and grow your Momentum. This isn't just talk—it's action! Transform your challenges into opportunities in this hands-on, interactive session, turning every obstacle into the fuel towards unstoppable growth. Focus on the Mindset, Behaviors, Tools, and Solutions to Ignite Unstoppable Momentum.

4:45–6:00  Welcome Reception and Apprentice Recognition Ceremony
Presented by Northwest Lineman College

Wednesday, December 6

8:30–10:30 am  Keynote: Preparing Yourself for Dog Encounters and Attacks, Hector Hernandez
This presentation was developed by Hector Hernandez to protect you from the dog, owner, and camera. It is a presentation using real dog attack videos on Hector Hernandez to prove his methods work.

10:45–Noon  Roundtable Discussions
Join your peers and a facilitator to discuss issues that are important to your utility/city. You'll hear what others are doing and share what you know in these candid exchanges. Choose from a diverse list of topics. (Full list to be announced.)

Noon–1:00 pm  Luncheon

Two Breakout Session Options: Managers Session and Crew Leaders/Foremen Session

Managers Track

1:00–2:00  Being a Leader in a Multi-Generational Workforce, Hector Hernandez
Hector Hernandez is a motivational speaker, veteran, immigrant, entrepreneur, former law enforcement officer, and author. He has a diverse background and has developed presentations that incorporate first-hand leadership knowledge with a keen understanding of human behavior in a multicultural workforce. His work has been heard and applied nationwide, and he is always eager to learn and connect with his audience. 

2:00–3:00  Microgrid Systems and Development, Mahmoud Kabalan, PhD, Center for Microgrid Research, University of St. Thomas

3:15–4:15  Mitigation of Physical Security Threats and Planning, Jessica Burdette, Minnesota Department of Commerce and Glenn Sanders, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
The North American 
electrical grid infrastructure is vulnerable to security breaches. Consequences of security breaches include the possible damage or destruction of electrical infrastructure resulting in service outages, as well as cross-sector impacts to other supported and supporting critical infrastructure sectors. The purpose of this session is to increase awareness of available options that can enhance the physical security of electrical infrastructure, establish a means and path forward toward protected and resilient electrical infrastructure, and help mitigate the inherent risks of owning and operating an electrical infrastructure. Layered physical security is of the utmost importance to protecting electrical infrastructure and each facility requires a security approach tailored to its unique operating environment.

4:15–5:00  Pole Attachment Agreements and Railroad Crossing Permits, Kent Sulem, MMUA
This session will serve as a quick refresher on the applicable statutes governing pole attachments ach railroad crossings, as well as look at current issues surrounding them.

Crew Leaders/Foremen Track

1:00–2:00  De-Escalation Techniques for Frontline Workers, Stefan Salmonson, PROtective Services, Inc.

2:00–3:00  Substance Use In and Out of the Workplace, Shauna Reading, LSW, LADC
This presentation will primarily focus on marijuana and the different forms in which marijuana is produced and used. It will explain how marijuana impacts the body and the brain and how in turn this can impact someone under the influence of marijuana on a job site as well as ways to identify someone who is under the influence. There will be some explanation and review of the new law that took effect August 1, 2023, in regard to legalization of recreational marijuana and how this law impacts use in and out of the workplace.

3:15–4:15  Air Insulated Vacuum Padmounted Switchgear, Mike Crane, ElectroTech, Inc.
This presentation will cover the design, construction and application of Air Insulated Vacuum Switchgear. Mike will also cover some of the advantages of air insulation vs. oil or other insulating mediums.

4:15–5:00  Smart Fault Indicators, Scott Ware, Power Delivery Products
Reliability is key to running an electrical grid. Regardless of how many resources and how much money is invested, faults will occur. When they do, faulted circuit indicators are one of the simplest, least expensive, and most effective ways to locate issues and get them repaired quickly. This session will cover how fault indicators work, where to place them to get the most value, and the more recent technology that provides remote fault indication as well as system data.  

5:00–7:00  Trade Show and Reception (Atrium)
The ideal venue to meet with your suppliers, learn about new products and services, and catch up with colleagues from around the state while enjoying beverages and hors d'oeuvres.

Thursday, December 7

8:30–8:40 am  CEO MinuteKarleen Kos, MMUA

8:40–9:45  Skid Steer Fatality—What happened? What did we learn? Chad Briese, Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative
May 10, 2022, the unthinkable happened, the phone rang, and it was a foreman on the other end telling the Director of Safety that Tanner was just run over by the skid steer and EMS was on site working on him. Shortly after that discussion ended, the second call was received, Tanner didn’t make it! Tanner Dosch was a 23-year-old Apprentice Lineman who had been with Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative since October of 2020. Tanner was quiet, but a hard worker that loved doing line work. After the ensuing investigation internally and by MNOSHA many lessons were learned. We will discuss some of the lessons in this presentation to hopefully leave you better prepared in case the unthinkable happens at your workplace.

10:15–Noon  Closing keynote: 12.5 Still Alive; Life After 12,500 Volts, Gary and Jeanne Norland 
Is it okay to take that shortcut, even a small one, if nothing happens to you? You might think so, until something does happen. Safety is a choice we make every minute of every day of our lives. And your life can change dramatically if something goes wrong.

Too many people think that if a poor choice is made about our safety that it only affects that person. Hear Gary's vivid story of how his life changed in the blink of an eye and dispel this dangerous myth.

Noon  Conference Adjourns

*Schedule/program subject to change without notice.


Holiday Inn & Suites
75 South 37th Avenue, St. Cloud, MN 56301
Phone: 320.253.9000

MMUA has secured a reduced room rate of $99 per night + tax. Use our special link for online reservations. You can also call the hotel directly at 320.253.9000, option 2 and ask for MMUA's room block.

The hotel block closes on November 4, 2023, however, the hotel may continue to accept reservations after the cut-off date on a space available basis, at prevailing rates. Please make your hotel reservations as soon as possible as availability is limited and cannot be guaranteed

Events for Associate Members

TRADE SHOW:  Associate members can have a booth at the Trade Show to be held on December 6. For more information or to register, see our Trade Show page. 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. A sign with your company's logo will be posted at the event site and your company will be listed in the conference program. To sponsor an event, go to the Become a Sponsor page and scroll down to the item you wish to purchase.

HOSPITALITY:  How about hosting a hospitality suite? To sponsor a Hospitality Suite, please email Christian Glanville or call 763-746-0727. The cost of a hospitality suite sponsorship is $550. Hotel fees for room rental or food and beverage are not included. The Holiday Inn does not allow food or beverage items to be brought in from outside the hotel. 

Registration Fee

Conference for members:  $560 per person if registered by November 10.
Registration fee covers tuition, materials, refreshment breaks, lunch on Wednesday and admission to the Reception and Trade Show.
​Registration fee will increase $50 on November 11. 
Deadline to register is November 17, 2023.

Must be a MMUA member to register for this event.


Cancellations are subject to a $35 charge per person if received by 4:30 pm on November 17, 2023. No refunds issued after November 17.


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.


Please email Rita Kelly or call 763.746.0707 if you have questions.