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News & Press: Member News

2019 Annual Conference participants focus toward the future

Thursday, October 3, 2019  
Posted by: mpuaonline
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Municipal utility leaders joined together to focus on “Building Your Utility’s Future” at the MPUA 2019 Annual Conference, September 25-27 at the Branson Convention Center. About 330 city officials, utility managers, equipment/service vendors and other attendees from Missouri and several surrounding states were on hand to learn from an outstanding lineup of speakers and enjoy some good times with friends, old and new.

On Thursday Sept. 26, the assembled professionals enjoyed conference sessions and discussions focused on a wide variety of issues related to electric, water, wastewater and natural gas utilities. A keynote presentation featured the American Public Power Association’s Patricia Taylor, Manager of Regulatory Policy & Business Programs, discussing “Municipal Utilities Moving Forward”, centering on trends, technologies, and customer expectations for the electric industry that could apply to any utility.

Other morning sessions included uses of advanced metering infrastructure from Sonja Berdahl, of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, followed by an engaging presentation on medical marijuana’s impact on the utility industry, by Arkansas attorney Walter Wright, Jr. The morning wrapped up with a panel discussion on legislative issues that included State Senator Ed Emery and State Representative Bob Bromley.  

After an annual luncheon to honor MPUA’s annual Alliance Awards recipients, Kyle Loven of Computer Forensic Services presented a session about new threats to cybersecurity, including cybercrime events, dangerous developments in the digital underground, and realistic advice for cyber protection.  Another session included environmental attorney Aimee Davenport and Darcy Bybee, director of DNR’s Air Pollution Control Program, in a panel discussion about air, water, and wastewater regulations. After a break, the final session of the day took a serious turn, fixed on preparing for and responding to the possibility of an active shooter situation, presented by Troy Murdock, a special agent with the FBI’s Kansas City field office.

Members, associates and family members enjoyed the gathering’s receptions, meals and entertainment, including Ernie Biggs Dueling Pianos show on Thursday evening.  For a third 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. In addition to special giveaways by vendors and sponsors, two 50-50 raffles were held, with raffle benefits going to the Missouri 10-33 Benevolent 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 St. Charles Convention center on Sep. 30 – Oct. 2, 2020.

Conference presentations available
Several of the Sept. 26 presentations from our 2019 annual conference are now available on the MPUA website (not all of the presentations could be shared).

Those now available on the web include:

  • Municipal Utilities Moving Forward (Patricia Taylor, APPA)
  • Medical Marijuana’s Impact on the Utility Industry (Walter Wright, Jr., Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard)
  • Missouri Public Water Council (main meeting presentation)
  • Voices of Experience: Leveraging AMI Networks & Data (Sonja Berdahl, NREL) -
    The “Voices of Experience” project guidebooks are also available through this U.S. DOE webpage)

For links to these presentations please visit MPUA's Annual Conference webpage.


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