Summer Conference


Monday, August 19, 2024
at
8:00 AM (CDT)
to Wednesday, August 21, 2024 at 12:00 PM (CDT)

Holiday Inn and Convention Center


3803 13th Ave S Fargo, ND 58103
* Registration open until 8/2/24 at 5:00 PM (CST)
Register Now
* Registration open until 8/2/24 at 5:00 PM (CST)
Become a Sponsor Create an Account

MMUA's Summer Conference is an opportunity for networking, educational programs, and social time for municipal utility leaders from around the state. The 2024 conference will be held in the Fargo/Moorhead area.

Two pre-conference workshops have been added to Monday morning's program. See agenda tab for more details. Separate registration is required.

Click on the blue "Register Now" button for a complete list of items available for registration.

We hope to see you in August!

This event is intended for municipal utility leaders, city leaders, commissioners, council members, mayors, affiliate members, and associate members.

Monday, August 19      8:30 am to 11:30 am

Select from two topics. Separate registration is required.

OPTION 1:
Telling Your Public Power Story: Using Data and Unique Value-adds to Communicate and Enhance how Stakeholders View Your Utility

Dave Berg, Dave Berg Consulting
Public Power utilities have many unique attributes that benefit their customers and communities. During this session, we will focus on data-based measures of your utility's performance as well as less quantifiable but equally important advantages of a municipally owned utility. We will also address ideas for communicating these qualities to your stakeholders. This will be an interactive session including robust attendee participation.

OPTION 2:
Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercise: Is your organization prepared for the worst?

Coordinated by Mike Willetts, MMUA and joined by a team of planning experts from DOC, CISA, and MNIT

MMUA is proud to collaborate with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Reliability and Security, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, MN Information Technology Services, and the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security to offer this comprehensive cybersecurity tabletop exercise.

Cyberattacks on cities and utilities across the country have resulted in significant financial losses, and the damage they can cause to an organization’s reputation can take an emotional toll.

Participating in this interactive activity will prepare you to better understand cyberattacks to make informed decisions and take proactive measures that can help protect your city/utility services and your customers’ personal information.

Exercise objectives:

  • Responding to a significant cyber incident; are we ready?
  • Discuss the importance of coordinated information sharing during a significant cyber incident
  • Cyber incident response plan
  • Addressing public affairs
  • Explore processes for additional incident response resources once organizational resources are exhausted

8:00 am  Welcome, Julie Kennedy, MMUA President and Karleen Kos, MMUA CEO

8:10 am  Opening Keynote
Navigating the Energy Frontier, Scott Corwin, President and CEO, APPA
In his role as APPA's leader for less than a year, industry veteran Scott Corwin will kick off the conference with a look at trends affecting municipal utilities. He'll offer ideas on the most important things local leaders can do to guide their communities through the challenges already here and those coming down the pike.

9:00 am Roundtable Discussions (select two)
1. Pay Equity
2. HR Trends in 2024, Shelly Dau, MMUA
3. Showcasing Municipal Utility Careers for the Next Generation
4. Infrastructure Investments: Managing Reliability and Affordability in a Capital Constrained World
5. Cybersecurity for Municipal Utilities, Chris Watkins, Energy Security Advisor, Minnesota Department of Commerce
6. Complying with the Davis Bacon Act
7. Grant Issues/Updates for Municipal Utilities, Karleen Kos, MMUA
8. Cold Weather Rule, Bill Black, MMUA
9. Electric Systems Resiliency, Christian Fenstermacher, Owatonna Public Utilities
10. Gas Systems Resiliency, Jeremy Carter, Hutchinson Utilities
11. Water and Wastewater Systems Resiliency, Kris Manderfeld, New Ulm Public Utilities
12. Utility Administration/Operations Resiliency, Harold Langowski, Ely Utilities Commission
13. Microgrids: Out with the Old and In with the New
14. Getting Ready for Renewables
15. Franchise Fees

10:20 am  Protecting Your Utility from a Buyout or Sellout, Ursula Schryver, SVP and Staff Liaison the Buyout/Sellout Working Group, APPA
Ursula Schryver has spent more than 27 years in public power, and she has seen a few things. As the staff liaison to APPA's Buyout/Sellout Workgroup, she collects data and works to understand the issues that lead to buyouts and sellouts in local utilities. With candor, grace, data, and case studies, she will bring this information to MMUA's members. While every utility should decide what is best for their town, after Ursula's session you will be better equipped to recognize issues and address circumstances that could limit the future of your community's assets.

11:10 am  TigerPath: How Education, Community, and Business Collaborate to Build Hutchinson's Workforce, Jeremy Carter, Hutchinson Utilities; Miles Seppelt, Hutchinson Economic Development Director; Andrea Moore, Hutchinson Public Schools; Mary Hodson, Hutchinson Chamber and Visitors Bureau
TigerPath is being promoted as a new national model for skilled workforce development. Learn about TigerPath and how education, community, and businesses in Hutchinson have come together to deliver better educational outcomes for students and build the skilled workforce we need.

1:30 pm  Managing a Utility Crisis: Sometimes it's Not a Drill, Julie Kennedy, Grand Rapids Public Utilities and Chad Seidel, Corona Environmental Consulting
In 2023, Legionnaire’s disease—a severe form of pneumonia—struck members of the Grand Rapids community. The illnesses were clustered in one part of town and the city’s water supply was suspected. Mindful that friends and neighbors were at risk, the utility faced pressure on its operations, regulatory agencies trying to help, advice from consultants, daily public relations challenges, and mounting expenses. Join Grand Rapids on its journey through the fears and frustrations of dealing with an unfolding crisis and find out what they learned so you can apply it at home. Attendees will:

  • Learn about the types of crises utilities face
  • Be able to recognize circumstanced and risk factors that often precede a utility crisis
  • Gain understanding of the cascading effect of multiple, sometimes competing, stakeholder needs and learn how to prioritize them
  • Identify important proactive measures utilities can take to prepare for crises and possibly limit their impact

2:30 pm  Utility Under Pressure: How the latest best practices in crisis communications will protect your reputation, Mark Weaver, Communications Counsel
Utilities have a lot going on, even when there isn’t a crisis. Communicating effectively about your work is essential to building community understanding and goodwill—something that will really pay off if disaster strikes. Mark Weaver is a battle-tested attorney and crisis communications expert with three decades of experience advising clients in more than 30 states at the highest levels of national government and corporate America. He counsels public and private sector clients on crisis communications, social media challenges, and high-profile litigation communications. He will share best practices that you can implement at your utility as soon as you get home.

3:45 pm  Federal and State Legislative Update, MMUA Government Relations Team
5:00 pm  Trade Show and Reception
              

8:00 am  Business meeting and MMUA update

9:00 am  Learning tracks
Electric: The Importance of Transmission Planning—Big Stone South to Alexandria 345 KV and Northland Reliability Transmission Project—Review and Update, Terry Wolf, Missouri River Energy Services

Water and Wastewater: Addressing Legionella in Grand Rapids: Case Study and Lessons Learned, Julie Kennedy, Grand Rapids Public Utilities and Chad Seidel, Corona Environmental Consulting
In 2023, Legionnaire’s disease—a severe form of pneumonia—struck members of the Grand Rapids community. The illnesses were clustered in one part of town and the city’s water supply was suspected. Mindful that friends and neighbors were at risk, the utility faced pressure on its operations, regulatory agencies trying to help, advice from consultants, daily public relations challenges, and mounting expenses. Join Grand Rapids on its journey through the fears and frustrations of dealing with an unfolding crisis and find out what they learned so you can apply it at home. In this session attendees will:

  • Learn how the GRPU water system is structured
  • Gain context for understanding GRPU’s Legionella crisis through a review of the MDH investigation
  • Understand how results from the Legionella and related sampling can complicate problem-solving
  • Identify lessons learned from GRPU’s implementation of disinfection tactics during a public health outbreak
  • Consider how GRPU’s insights for customer communication and suggestions for other water utilities can be adapted to their community’s water system

Leadership: The Business Case for Utility-focused Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts in Municipal Utilities, Roger Warehime, Owatonna Public Utilities, and Whitney Harvey, Minnesota Chamber Foundation
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is getting a lot of attention these days—but what is it really all about? What relevance does it have for smaller towns and municipal utilities? Join Roger Warehime and Whitney Harvey as they explore the moral, economic, and business rationales for approaching your work through the DEI lens. The impact it can have on morale, retention, and financial performance may surprise you.

Governance: More Than Showing Up—How to Represent your Utility, Brian Morgan, Rochester Public Utilities Commissioner, and Dan Nath, City of Luverne Council Member
Being a board/commission member requires knowledge, relationships, and influence to be effective.  Brian Morgan and Dan Nath will cover common challenges facing municipal utilities from the perspective of a commission member, and how to face those challenges head on.  Building effective working relationships with staff and city council, understanding the technical, financial, and enterprise risks, and embracing the value of public power are just a few of the topics to be covered. Feel free to bring questions or challenges you’re facing to the session for discussion.

10:00 am  Learning tracks
Electric:
Working Together: Aggregating Municipal Solar Projects for Federal Funding, Sam Wolfe, SolAmerica Energy

Water and Wastewater:
Update on Minnesota's PFAS Blueprint for Wastewater, Stephanie Lyons, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Municipal Wastewater PFAS Coordinator

Leadership: Follow the Leader Worth Following, Jon Colby, Jon Colby Speaks
You're not a leader unless people are willing to follow you ... and every good leader has learned how to follow others. Sometimes that is a mentor or coach; often it is members of the team you lead who are subject matter experts. Learn how to make the most of everyone's skills without getting hung up on the wrong things. 

Governance: Legal Issues in Utility Crisis Communications: Calming your Lawyer as you Communicate to your Ratepayers, Mark Weaver, Communications Counsel
Here's a question for municipal utilities -- when a comment appears on one of your social media feeds that’s contrary to your utility’s values or ignites controversy with the public, can you delete that comment? If you get this question wrong, your utility -- and you personally -- might be sued in federal court for a civil rights violation.

Knowing how the First Amendment applies to your social media feeds, meetings, and visitors to your campus can protect you from a lawsuit, legal fees, and damages. Many utility personnel are confused about legal issues surrounding the comments and behaviors of ratepayers, and many attorneys don’t  keep up with the latest First Amendment cases in this area. This training provides practical tips from a social media expert who is also an experienced First Amendment attorney.

11:00 am 
Closing keynote
"Yes, and ....." Improving Communication and Ratepayer Relationships Through Improv, Jon Colby, Jon Colby Speaks
The basic rules of improv deal with finding agreement, listening, leading by empowering others, making confident choices, and celebrating those choices. These same attributes can improve productivity, rate payer relations and networking skills, build stronger leaders and teams, boost creativity, and encourage employees and other stakeholders to feel more valued. This interactive keynote will give participants an entertaining opportunity to grow in a safe environment and walk away with valuable skills that can be put to use immediately.

12:00 pm  Conference concludes

Holiday Inn Fargo
3803 13th Ave S
Fargo, ND 58103
Phone: 701-282-2700
Reservations can be made online using our special link. Enter your arrival and departure dates and hit search to see room options. MMUA's room block rate is $134 per night. We suggest you make your reservations as soon as possible as availability cannot be guaranteed.
Cut-off date: July 26, 2024
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
If your spouse or guest would like to attend the social events held during the Summer Conference, advanced ticket purchase is required. Select from the welcome reception, awards luncheon, or the trade show. Purchase all three for a discounted rate over individual tickets.
MMUA's golf tournament will be played on The Meadows Golf Course in Moorhead. Check-in will begin at noon with a shotgun start at 1:00 pm. Preregistration is required. Walk-ons will not be allowed. Prizes awarded to registered players only. At registration, enter the names of your teammates who will be registering on their own. Individuals without a team will be assigned to one. Location: 401 34th St S, Moorhead.
The trail hike proved to be a popular option last year so we're doing it again. Join Mike Willetts for a hike at Fargo Mickelson/Tricom bike path. Meet at the trailhead for a 1:00 pm departure. Location: 100 2nd St S, Fargo.
The trade show will be held on Tuesday, August 20, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Your table purchase will include one attendee. Additional tickets can be purchased if you will have more than one attendee. Setup begins at 2:00 pm. Tables will be preassigned—no early arrivals allowed. Use door 11 or 12 for best entry to the Sterling/Crowne ballroom. Use the blue "Register Now" button for trade show items available for purchase. 
MMUA has several opportunities to sponsor events such as a speaker, a refreshment break, the trade show reception, advertise in the program, or the golf tournament. Increase your exposure among MMUA regular members and support the organization and municipal utilities. See our product page for options to purchase.
Annual Sponsors—please contact Christian Glanville to select items you wish to use for your sponsor credits.
Cancellations are subject to a $50 cancellation fee per person if received by 5:00 pm on August 5, 2024. Refunds issued to a credit card will be subject to a 3% fee. No refunds issued after August 5.
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.
Credits Price
Trail hike
Register to meet up for the trail hike with Mike Willetts. There is no charge, but we'd like to know who plans to attend so please register. Registration Ends 8/10/24 at 12:00 AM CDT
FREE
Welcome reception
The welcome reception is included with registration to the full conference. If you are not registering to attend the full conference but would like to join us for the evening, this ticket is required. Registration Ends 8/3/24 at 12:00 AM CDT
$50.00
Welcome reception
The welcome reception is included with registration to the full conference. If you are not registering to attend the full conference but would like to join us for the evening, this ticket is required. Registration Opens 8/3/24 at 12:01 AM CST
$60.00
Credits Price
Social event package for spouse/guest
This social package includes registration for your spouse or guest to attend the welcome reception, awards luncheon, and trade show reception. Purchase all three here or individually below. Enter name of the spouse or guest attending for name badge. Registration Ends 8/3/24 at 12:00 AM CDT
$125.00
Welcome reception
The welcome reception is included with registration to the full conference. If you have a spouse or guest who wishes to attend the reception, this ticket is required. Enter name of the spouse or guest attending for name badge. Registration Ends 8/3/24 at 12:00 AM CDT
$50.00
Awards luncheon
The awards luncheon is included with full conference registration. If you have a spouse or guest who would like to join you, this ticket is required. Enter name of the spouse or guest attending for name badge. Registration Ends 8/3/24 at 12:00 AM CDT
$50.00
Trade show reception
The trade show reception is included with registration to the full conference. If you have a spouse or guest who wishes to attend the trade show, this ticket is required. Enter name of the spouse or guest attending for name badge. Registration Ends 8/3/24 at 12:00 AM CDT
$50.00

Product Add-ons

Price
Electricity for Trade Show table (Summer Conf.) View Product $80.00

Agenda

August 19
8:00 AM - 5:30 PM Registration opens
Location: Hotel's Atrium (outside of the Embassy Ballroom)
8:30 AM - 11:30 AM Preconference workshop: Public Power Cybersecurity Threat: A Hands-on Tabletop Exercise
Led by a team from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, CISA, MNIT and MMUA

Location:
Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Ave N, Moorhead, MN
Separate registration required.
8:30 AM - 11:30 AM Preconference workshop: Telling Your Public Power Story: Using Data and Unique Value-Adds to Communicate and Enhance How Stakeholders View Your Utility
Presented by Dave Berg, Dave Berg Consulting

Location: Hotel's Prairie Room
Separate registration required.
1:00 PM - 5:30 PM Golf tournament
The Meadows Golf Course, 401 34th St S, Moorhead, MN
Noon check-in with 1:00 shotgun start
Separate registration required.
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Trail hike
Led by Mike Willetts, MMUA
Fargo Mickelson/Tricorn bike path
Parking/trailhead at 100 2nd St S, Fargo, ND
Separate registration required.
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM Welcome reception
The Welcome reception is included with registration to the full 3-day conference. Guests or those wanting to just attend the reception will be required to purchase a ticket.
Location: Hotel's Sterling and Crowne Ballrooms
August 20
7:00 AM - 8:15 AM Continental breakfast served
Join us for a light breakfast before the sessions begin. For conference attendees only.
Location: Hotel's Royale and Embassy Ballrooms 
7:00 AM - 5:30 PM Registration open
8:00 AM - 8:10 AM Welcome
MMUA President Julie Kennedy, Grand Rapids Public Utilities
All general sessions to be held in Royale and Embassy Ballrooms.
8:10 AM - 9:00 AM Keynote: Navigating the Energy Frontier
Scott Corwin, CEO, American Public Power Association
9:00 AM - 10:05 AM Roundtable discussions
Choose two 30-minute sessions from a wide variety list of topics
10:20 AM - 11:10 AM Protecting Your Utility from a Buyout/Sellout
Ursula Schryver, American Public Power Association
11:10 AM - 12:00 PM TigerPath: How Education, Community, and Business Collaborate to Build Hutchinson's Workforce
Jeremy Carter, Hutchinson Utilities Commission
Miles Seppelt, Hutchinson Economic Development Director
Andrea Moore, Hutchinson Public Schools
Mary Hodson, Hutchinson Chamber and Visitor Bureau
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Awards luncheon
Luncheon is included with registration to the full conference. Guests or those wanting to  just attend the luncheon will be required to purchase a ticket.
Location: Harvest Hall
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Managing a Utility Crisis: Sometimes it's not a drill
Julie Kennedy, Grand Rapids Public Utilities
Chad Seidel, President, Corona Environmental Consulting
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM Vendor setup for Trade Show
Tables are pre-assigned. Materials will be found at your table.
Location: Sterling and Crowne Ballrooms and Poolside
Use door 11 or 12 for best entry to hotel.
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM Utility Under Pressure: How the latest best practices in crisis communications will protect your reputation
Mark Weaver, Communications Counsel, Inc.
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM Federal and State Legislative Update
MMUA Government Relations Team
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Trade show and reception
The trade show is included with registration to the full conference. Guests or those wanting to just attend the show will be required to purchase a ticket.
Location: Sterling and Crowne Ballrooms and Poolside
Separate registration required for vendors wishing to exhibit or walk through the show.
August 21
7:15 AM - 8:15 AM Continental breakfast served
Join us for a light breakfast before the sessions begin. For conference attendees only.
Location: Hotel's Royale and Embassy Ballrooms 
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Business Meeting and MMUA Update
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM The Importance of Transmission Planning - Big Stone South to Alexandria 345 KV and Northland Reliability Transmission Project – Review and Update
Electric learning track
Terry Wolf, Missouri River Energy Services
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM Addressing Legionella in Grand Rapids: Case Study and Lessons Learned
Water/wastewater learning track
Julie Kennedy, Grand Rapids Public Utilities
Chad Seidel, President, Corona Environmental Consulting
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM The Business Case for Utility-focused Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts in Municipal Utilities
Leadership learning track
Roger Warehime, Owatonna Public Utilities
Whitney Harvey, Minnesota Chamber Foundation
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM More Than Showing up—How to Represent Your Utility
Governance/commissioners learning track
Brian Morgan, Rochester Public Utilities Commissioner
Dan Nath, City of Luverne Council Member
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Working Together: Aggregating Municipal Solar Projects
Electric learning track
Sam Wolfe, SolAmerica Energy
John Buffington, SolAmerica Energy
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Update on Minnesota's PFAS Blueprint for Wastewater
Water/wastewater learning track
Stephanie Lyons, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Municipal Wastewater PFAS Coordinator
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Follow the Leader Worth Following
Leadership learning track
Jon Colby, Jon Colby Speaks
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Legal Issues in Utility Crisis Communications: Calming Your Lawyer as you Communicate to Your Ratepayers
Governance/commissioners learning track
Mark Weaver, Communications Counsel, Inc.
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Closing keynote: "Yes, and......" Improving Communication and Ratepayer Relationships through Improv
Jon Colby, Jon Colby Speaks
12:00 PM Event concludes
* Registration open until 8/2/24 at 5:00 PM (CST)
Register Now
* Registration open until 8/2/24 at 5:00 PM (CST)
Become a Sponsor Create an Account

Lodging

Holiday Inn Fargo
3803 13th Ave S
Fargo, ND 58103
Phone: 701-282-2700
Reservations can be made online using our special link. Enter your arrival and departure dates and hit search to see room options. MMUA's room block rate is $134 per night. We suggest you make your reservations as soon as possible as availability cannot be guaranteed.
Cut-off date: July 26, 2024
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am

For More Information:

Rita Kelly

Rita Kelly

Director of Administration, Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association

View Profile

(763)746-0707