Summer Conference

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Summer Conference

Summer Conference

Date: August 21-23, 2023
  • Day 1: Aug 21, 2023 12:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • Day 2: Aug 22, 2023 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Day 3: Aug 23, 2023 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, 350 Harbor Dr., Duluth, MN 55802
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MMUA's Summer Conference is an opportunity for networking, educational programs, and social time for municipal utility leaders from around the state. This year's conference will be held in Duluth, Minnesota.

Two pre-conference sessions have been added to Monday morning's program. Find more information and how to register hereSeparate registration is required.

The bulk of our conference agenda will be held at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, however, Monday's registration and the pre-conference sessions will be held at the hotel. Watch agenda carefully for location details.

We continue to put final touches on our program, so check back for more details. For best rates, register by July 21.

Tentative Schedule *

Monday, August 21

LOCATION: Holiday Inn & Suites Downtown200 West First Street, Duluth

8:00 am to 5:30 pm  Registration  (hotel lobby)

8:30 to 11:30 am Pre-conference sessions (two options):
Utility Negotiation Skills
, Mark Fritsch, Current Compass
Successful Grant Strategies for Utilities, Karleen Kos, MMUA
​Separate registration is required. Click here for more info and to register for the pre-conference sessions.

12:00 pm  Golf "Best Ball Scramble" Tournament  (Enger Park Golf Course, 1801 W. Skyline Pkwy, Duluth)
Check-in at noon with shotgun start at 1:00 pm. NEW: A box lunch is included and will be served during check-in. See below for more details.

1:00 pm  Group Hike at Hartley Nature Center  (3001 Woodland Ave., Duluth)
Check-in at MMUA's registration (at hotel) by 12:15 pm or meet at the park for 1:00 start. See below for more details.

3:00 pm  Holiday Inn & Suites check-in

6:30 pm  Welcome Reception  (Hoops Brewing, 325 S. Lake Ave., Duluth)
Reception is included with registration to the full 3-day conference. Members coming for the golf tournament or trade show are invited to join us, but must purchase a ticket using this form.

Dinner is on your own.

Tuesday, August 22

Location: Duluth Entertainment Convention Center350 Harbor Drive, Duluth
City Side Convention Center—door B

7:00 am  Registration (lower level)

7:15 am  Continental breakfast served

8:00 am  Welcome and Opening Remarks, Karleen Kos, MMUA CEO and Don Martodam, MMUA Board President/Hawley Public Utilities

8:15 am  Opening Keynote: Navigating a New Energy Path for Resilience, Russell Gold
The world of energy is becoming more complex and riskier by the month. Energy expert Russell Gold will layout his vision for how to navigate this newly complicated horizon with an easy-to-understand formula that will help companies and citizens make informed decisions about energy and the climate.

9:30 am  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 four tables from a diverse list of topics. (Full list to be announced.)

12:00 pm  Luncheon and Awards Presentation

1:30 pm  Workforce Trends: The Economy and Labor Market in Greater Minnesota, Carson Gorecki, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
Minnesota has experienced historically tight labor market conditions. What does that mean for workers and employers in Greater Minnesota? This presentation will highlight Minnesota population and employment dynamics and trends, with the aim of providing a shared understanding of the workforce challenges and opportunities specific to municipal utilities. 

2:30 pm  Distributed Energy Resources and Avoided Distribution Costs, Gabe Chan and Matt Grimley, Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy, University of Minnesota
New policies such as the Inflation Reduction Act and 100% by 2040, create new opportunities and challenges for municipal utilities and distributed energy resources (DERs) like electric vehicles, distributed solar, batteries, and electrified heating. The session will talk about how DERs can fit into and even enhance integrated distribution planning.

3:45 pm  Federal and State Legislative Update—MMUA Government Relations TeamKent Sulem, MMUA; Doug Carnival, McGrann Shea Carnival Straughn & Lamb; and Michael Nolan, MMUA Washington Representative

5:00 to 8:00 pm  Trade Show and Reception  (Edmund Fitzgerald Exhibit Hall)

Dinner is on your own.

Wednesday, August 23

Location: Duluth Entertainment Convention Center350 Harbor Drive, Duluth
City Side Convention Center—door B

7:00 am  Registration (lower level)

7:15 am  Continental breakfast served

(Meeting for Regular & Affiliate Members Only)
8:00 am  Business meeting and MMUA update

9:00 am  Learning Tracks (select one)

  • Track I: Electric
    Residential Electric Demand Rates, Dave Berg, Dave Berg Consulting
    The electric industry is undergoing significant changes and many of these changes are impacting the way our customers, particularly our residential customers, consume electric energy. Distributed generation, electric vehicles, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), home electrification, smart home technologies, and other advances are altering the homogenous nature of the residential class as adoption of these technologies varies greatly among customers. This session will examine the concept of adding demand billing to the residential class as a way to impact customer use patterns and maintain ‘rate fairness’ amongst different customer use patterns. 
  • Track II: Water/Wastewater
    Resiliency and Sustainability: Ensuring Your Utility is Prepared for the Future, Morgan Salo and Kristopher Swanson, Bolton & Menk, Inc.
    As communities and utilities look to the future, it is more important than ever to evaluate and strategically plan for building a resilient and sustainable utility infrastructure system to support them for years to come. This presentation reviews the importance of resilient and sustainable infrastructure in water & wastewater utilities, how to assess current systems for areas of risk and liability, and how to begin implementing small or large-scale projects to improve and sustain the utility for the future.
  • Track III: Leadership
    AI-Driven Innovation: Revolutionizing the Modern Workplace, Chuck Gallagher, Business Ethics Expert and Author

  • Track IV: Governance
    How it all Works—Governance, the Grid, MISO, and More, Brian Morgan, Commissioner, Rochester Public Utilities and Vernell Roberts, General Manager, Detroit Lakes Public Utilities
    This session will cover how people think the grid works, how it actually works, an overview of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the difference between energy and capacity, challenges to maintaining reliability, and the ever-changing generation fleet.

10:00 am  Learning Tracks (select one)

  • Track I: Electric
    How to Become More Resilient to Climate Change, Mike McMahon, HDR
    How do you prioritize resilient actions as climate threats to the industry are changing? Take a look at HDR’s recent climate resiliency study for GRE with hydro-meteorologist and climate change and resiliency expert Mike McMahon as we dive into findings, ramifications, and resilient actions that affect the lives and livelihoods of Minnesotans. Experience a comprehensive look at how system climate risks can be quantified and prioritized within a resiliency framework, as seen through potential hazard consequences projected into the year 2100.
  • Track II: Water/Wastewater
    Advanced Monitoring Solutions for Wastewater, Ken Hayes, Core & Main
    This session will cover advanced monitoring solutions that implement the latest sensor and measurement technologies along with advanced analytics to provide actionable analysis so utilities can monitor their collection and distribution systems. Objectives are to help extend the life of your wastewater infrastructure, automate regulatory compliance reporting, provide sanitary sewer overflow alerting, provide real-time infiltration and inflow analysis, reduce the amount of stormwater incurring the expense of treatment, avoid negative customer images after overflows, and implement a smart wastewater resiliency platform.
  • Track III: Leadership
    Promising Practices in Customer Service, Krista Boston, Customer Relations Director, Rochester Public Utilities, and a panel of experts from utilities of all sizes. Christian Glanville, Marketing and Member Relations Manager, MMUA, moderator.
  • Track IV: Governance
    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Board/Commission Service but Were Afraid to Ask, Brian Morgan, Commissioner, Rochester Public Utilities and Vernell Roberts, General Manager, Detroit Lakes Public Utilities
    This session will discuss how to find your voice and contribute right away, what to focus on, pitfalls to avoid, and what it really means to be a board or commission member for your local utility.

11:00 am  Closing Keynote: From Adversity to Advantage: How Ethics and Resilience Go Hand-in-HandChuck Gallagher, Business Ethics Expert and Author
Ethics in the workplace is a serious matter, but talking about it doesn't have to be "business as usual". Long ago, Chuck Gallagher learned a lesson about ethical choices and consequences the hard way. Now he shares his experience so others don't have to.

12:00 pm  Wrap up

*Program subject to change without notice.

Registration Fee

Members:  $485 per person
Registration fee will increase $75 on July 22, 2023

Spouses and guests: $100 per person
This fee covers access to all social events (reception, lunch, and trade show).
Please note: Our website is unable to add this fee to your online registration. An invoice will be sent.

Deadline:  August 4, 2023


Holiday Inn & Suites Downtown
200 West 1st Street
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: 218.722.1202

Reservations can be made online using our special link. Enter your arrival and departure dates and hit search to see room options. Rooms range from $149 to $179 per night. Use group code MNM. We recommend making your hotel reservation as soon as possible, as availability cannot be guaranteed.

Cut-off date:  July 21, 2023

Check-in:  3:00 pm          Check-out:  11:00 am

Full hotel information can be found at

Golf Tournament

MMUA's golf tournament will be played on the Enger Park Golf Course in Duluth. The shotgun start will be at 1:00 pm, with check-in at the golf course beginning at noon.

Pre-registration is required. Walk-ons will not be allowed. Participants do not need to attend the conference to play in the tournament, but you do need to be a member of MMUA. Prizes awarded to registered players only.

Location: Enger Park Golf Course, 1801 W. Skyline Pkwy., Duluth

NEW THIS YEAR—A box lunch is included with your registration. Let us know if you have special dietary needs.

Tournament Fee

$135 per person
Includes green fee, cart, and a box lunch.

To golf with someone specific, please note his/her name on your registration. Please confirm with the group before registering to make sure they are golfing and they have room for you on their team. Individual players not registering with a team will be assigned to one.

You can register online at or use a printable registration form. When registering online, you will be directed to a site through Constant Contact (our website does not accommodate tournament registrations). Make sure you watch for confirmation that your registration went through.

Deadline:  August 4 or until course is filled (whichever comes first)

Find directions to the course here and more information about the course on their website.

Trail Hike

Join MIke Willetts for a group hike at Duluth's Hartley Park. Just 10 minutes from downtown, Hartley is a 660-acre city park with multi-use trails. The Hartley Nature Center is open to the public 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday-Saturday.

Address: Hartley Nature Center, 3001 Woodland Avenue, Duluth

Departure: 1:00 pm

You can register online at or use a printable registration form. When registering online, you will be directed to a site through Constant ContactThere is no charge for the hike, but we ask that you pre-register so we know who is joining us.

Find directions to Hartley Park here and more information about the park on their website. Park in the large lot in front of the Nature Center building. The group will meet at the front of the building.

Events for Associate Members

Important note for Annual Sponsors:

Annual sponsors eligible for items at no charge should select the "Bill Utility or Company" in payment options and we will adjust pricing accordingly. Credit card payments will be refunded less $20 processing fee. Not sure if you're an annual sponsor? Check our website for listings or contact Christian Glanville for options.

Trade Show

MMUA Associate members can have an exhibit space at the conference trade show. This show will be held on Tuesday, August 22, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Our new location at the convention center is allowing us to offer different options to make your space stand out. Reserve your spot today! Space is limited so don't delay. For best rates, register by July 22. Trade show information and to register can be found here.

Sponsorship Opportunities

We have also expanded the choices for Associate members to sponsor at the Summer Conference. A sign with your company's logo will be posted and your company will be listed in the official conference program. See our list of sponsor items on our website (scroll down to section for Summer Conference items). Have an idea that's not listed? Let us know! We are always looking for something new.

Hospitality Rooms

Hospitality rooms are a popular event that MMUA Associate members can host. Duluth offers many new locations for something different. If you'd like to host a room at the hotel, contact Regina Fodness at the Holiday Inn & Suites by email or phone: 218-727-7492.

Note: All hospitalities are required to register with MMUA. Use this link on our sponsor page and scroll to Summer Conference—Hospitality Room to register. Unsanctioned hospitality rooms will not be permitted.

Refund Policy

Registration cancellations are subject to a $50 charge per person if received by 4:30 pm on August 4, 2023. No refunds issued after August 4.


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


Contact Rita Kelly by email or phone 763.746.0707.

Printable registration form for the conference is also available.
Printable registration form for the pre-conference is also available.

Registering here is to attend the full 3-day conference.
To register for the trade show, click here.
To register for the pre-conference, click here.