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2018 Annual Conference participants are “Primed for Progress”

Thursday, October 11, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kerry Cordray
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Municipal utilities’ stars came “Primed for Progress” to attend the MPUA 2018 Annual Conference, October 3-5 at Tan-Tar-A Resort, on the Lake of the Ozarks. About 350 city officials, utility managers, vendors and other attendees from Missouri and surrounding states were on hand to learn from an outstanding lineup of speakers and enjoy a few hours of fun with friends, old and new.


On Thursday Oct. 4, the assembled professionals enjoyed conference sessions and discussions focused on leadership, policy, and the latest technical and management issues related to electric, water and wastewater utilities. A keynote presentation featured Springfield Mayor Ken McClure, discussing the ‘Politics of Governing’. Other morning sessions included a message on the value of municipal utilities from Meena Dayak of the American Public Power Association (APPA), followed by a unique exploration of “Presidential Principles of Leadership” presented by none other than Thomas Jefferson, believably brought to life by living-history performer Patrick Lee. The morning wrapped up with a panel discussion on legislative issues that included State Senator Sandy Crawford and State Representatives Rocky Miller and Bart Korman. 


After an annual luncheon to honor MPUA’s annual Alliance Awards recipients, Nathan Mitchel of APPA and Scott Mossbrooks of N-Dimension Solutions presented a session on cybersecurity matters, including information about APPA’s new Cybersecurity Scorecard. Mark Stombaugh from the Missouri Department of Economic Development then spoke about efforts to retain and encourage business development.


Breakout sessions to anchor the day of learning focused on technology issues, with concurrent sessions designed to meet more specific tech and management interests of water, wastewater and electric utilities. For water and wastewater specialists, a panel presentation on Integrated Management Planning included the shared perspectives of Chris Wieberg of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Trent Stober of HDR, and Erin Keys from the City of Columbia. In a later session, Andrea Collier of Barr Engineering, and Matt Everts of Moberly City Utilities discussed water supply planning.


For the electric utility pros, a breakout session by Dan Klasborn of Utility Financial Solutions focused on electric rate design. Another class centered on utility-scale battery storage, presented by Steve Stoddard from City Utilities of Springfield and Jay Lohrbach of NorthStar. Finally, Joe Jancauskas of Stanley Consultants shared about factors influencing future power supply and delivery.


The main exhibit hall was packed with an array of booths by vendors and consultants attending the conference. The exhibitors represented a wide range of companies there to showcase services, expertise and equipment.  


Members, associates and family members enjoyed the gathering’s receptions, meals and entertainment, including a Thursday evening popular return of the “Powers of the Mind” hypnosis show by Brian Powers.  For the second year, shooting sports enthusiasts held a trapshooting activity at an area shooting range, held on Wednesday at the same time as the long-running Earl Switzer Memorial Golf Tournament. New to this year’s activities, two 50-50 raffles were held with raffle benefits going to the Missouri 10-33 fund, to support the families of fallen utility workers.   


MPUA staff are already open to ideas and input about speakers, topics and activities for next year’s annual gathering, which will be held at the Branson Landing convention center on Sept. 25-27, 2019.

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