2019 Best Practices In Public Outreach For Transmission Projects

2019 Best Practices in Public Outreach for Transmission Projects

Building Stakeholder Trust and Streamlining the Permitting Processes

January 14-15, 2019 | Newport Beach, CA

Transmission infrastructure projects are often characterized by high perceived risk and low stakeholder trust.  A balance must be struck between the need for additional transmission development and landowner priorities, environmental impact considerations and regulatory compliance.

A comprehensive strategic public participation process is a key tenet to the success of any transmission project.  All stakeholders must be engaged throughout the process, using a wide variety of communication and engagement techniques that are tailored to the needs of each stakeholder.  But how do you tackle this daunting challenge?

As an attendee of this EUCI conference, you’ll hear best practice case studies from leading electric transmission professionals.  You’ll learn the strategies and methods they use to positively engage stakeholders, build trust with the community, and overcome project obstacles.  You’ll leave this conference with practical tools and techniques that can be immediately implemented within your own organization to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your public participation program.

Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze strategies to foster public trust and open communication around your projects
  • Explore best practices in crafting successful outreach plans to connect with external stakeholders
  • Determine the key components in successful coordination with tribal communities and cultural advocacy groups
  • Explore new technology and digital trends to utilize in effectively telling your project story
  • Compare best practice case studies on successful public participation programs
  • Assess the role of public participation in regulatory approval processes
  • Discuss techniques to build rapport with state and federal regulatory arms



EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this conference and 0.4 CEUs for the workshop.


Instructional Methods

Case studies, PowerPoint presentations and group discussion will be used in this event.

Requirements For Successful Completion Of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.


Monday, January 14, 2019

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Opening Remarks

1:15 – 2:15 p.m. :: Powerful Connections: Re-Energizing Public Trust Through Innovative Outreach

Building trust, credibility and integrity in the communities where energy providers construct and operate electric transmission infrastructure goes hand in hand with providing safe, reliable and cost-effective electricity. Energy projects are facing growing scrutiny; even renewable projects are not immune. For Dominion Energy, uncovering the underlying differences in perceptions among internal and external stakeholders was key to rethinking its public engagement efforts. After several successful years of public outreach, the company launched an initiative to reimagine how it connects with its customers on electric transmission projects. Participants will learn how the company works internally to build successful outreach plans and gain insight to new strategies and tactics to better connect with external stakeholders.

This session will explore:

  • Revamped messaging centered on visuals
  • Emphasis on using relatable, everyday language
  • User-friendly project webpages
  • In-depth project overview videos
  • Expanded open houses
  • Survey cards to better understand customer preferences
  • Social media/digital advertising

Tiffany Taylor-Minor, Communications Consultant, Dominion Energy

 2:15 – 3:00 p.m. :: Case Study: Coordinating Consistent Messaging in a Highly-Involved Suburban Project with Multiple External Stakeholders

Project Outreach Suburban Challenge – what happens when a suburb grows up around an existing transmission line? It creates a difficult and constrained setting for a transmission line rebuild project.  This is a case study and lessons learned about a current project that involves two distinct municipalities.  It’s a project that has siting, outreach, right-of-way, engineering and regulatory implications. The outreach strategy is complex and layered and involves communicating the need to rebuild and upgrade facilities, widen the right-of-way and remove hundreds of trees and outbuildings. 

Tama Davis, Project Outreach Manager of Transmission, American Electric Power

 Erin Miller, Project Outreach Specialist, AEP

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Networking Break

 3:30 – 4:15 p.m. :: Case Study: Collaborating with Tribes on Energy Projects

NextEra Energy strives to be a respectful and responsible developer, reaching out to all Tribes having ancestral ties to its project areas, and collaborating with them on a voluntary basis on both federal and non-federal projects.  NextEra has found the earlier they engage with Tribes to understand where sensitive resources are located, the more cost-effective it is to avoid them.  In recent years, Tribes have collaborated with NextEra during the development and construction process, including micro-siting, joint archaeological/tribal surveys, cultural sensitivity training, and construction monitoring, and demonstrated that many sites of religious and cultural significance are not adequately identified by typical survey methods. NextEra considers these resources to be important and believes that it is not only the right thing to do, but makes good business sense, to physically avoid them in project design and construction, where feasible. This session will explore NextEra’s approach and lessons learned during its six-year effort.

Carolyn Stewart, Director of Tribal Relations, NextEra Energy

4:15 – 5:00 p.m. :: Post-Project Communication: Keeping the Public Informed of Progress in Reliability and Clean Energy

Electric and gas utilities provide customers and communities they serve an essential service, but still face obstacles and opposition when building and rebuilding transmission infrastructure. Utilities advertise and market many services they provide, but transmission is typically not something highly promoted. Starting with the CapX2020 transmission expansion, Xcel Energy began using the start and completion of transmission projects to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of projects in improving electric reliability, driving renewable energy development and propelling economic growth. Xcel Energy transmission events attract state and local officials, regulators, state legislators, members of congress, customers and media outlets. These events provide an opportunity to talk face-to-face with important stakeholders about critical projects, outside the hearing room, council chambers and state capitols. This session will include examples of how to plan and implement an event, including video clips, invitations and other materials.

Tim Carlsgaard, Manager of Transmission Communications And Public Affairs, Xcel Energy

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. :: Networking Reception

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

7:30 – 8:00 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:00 – 8:45 a.m. :: Coordinating Collaborative Outreach for Multi-State Transmission Line Projects

Participating utilities in 2014 publicly announced plans for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project, which would electrically connect Iowa and Wisconsin. A NEPA review began in 2016, and state regulatory applications were submitted in spring 2018. The 102- to 120-mile, 345,000-volt project is currently being reviewed by state and federal entities.

This session will look at:

  • The Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project
  • Public involvement from project announcement to filing state regulatory applications
  • Developing innovative, visual materials to support effective public participation for multi-year outreach projects
  • Collaborative communication and outreach for multi-jurisdictional projects

Kaya Freiman, Corporate Communications Consultant, American Transmission Co.

Tom Petersen, Director of Public Affairs, ITC Midwest

8:45 – 9:45 a.m. :: Panel Discussion: Digital Outreach and Open Houses—Bringing the Conversation Online

As technology and digital connectivity evolves, so do the expectations of the public stakeholders in the community. Hosting online open houses is becoming more of an expectation than an exception, along with a general desire to have project information available online to access at their convenience. Furthermore, visual mapping has opened the door to a new mode of storytelling that breaks down technical barriers and confusion about what a project looks like. Join us for this panel exploring the evolving landscape of multi-channel digital stakeholder communication.   




Erin Gryniak, Lead Stakeholder Specialist, National Grid

Tiffany Taylor-Minor, Communications Consultant, Dominion Energy

Tama Davis, Project Outreach Manager of Transmission, American Electric Power

Todd Vorhees, Regional Public Affairs Manager of Major Projects, SDG&E

Kaya Freiman, Corporate Communications Consultant, American Transmission Co.

9:45 – 10:15 a.m. :: Best Practices in Outreach and Communications for Transmission Siting

Transmission projects require the time and attention of staffs at all levels within an organization. Be the project competitive or solely within the jurisdiction of the host utility, customers, businesses, elected officials, and interest groups have a right to accurate and timely information and data about the project – its need, cost, impact, and benefits. It’s never too early to plan and execute a public relations strategy and communications campaign to ensure support from permitting agencies and local communities. Not all transmission projects are the same, yet time and time again, turning lessons learned into best practices has its rewards.

Paul DeCotis, Senior Director, Energy and Utility Practice, West Monroe Partners

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. :: Networking Break

 10:45  – 11:30 a.m. :: Innovative Solutions to Curbing Public Environmental Concerns

John will share industry solutions for right-of-way access that will help calm the public’s fear of construction chaos. Build the community’s confidence by offering best practices and products for minimizing the environmental impact of your project, increasing safety on the jobsite, and maximizing your efficiency. John will also share solutions that will reduce heavy tractor trailer traffic and time required to create temporary site access.

John Capodice, Executive Vice President, Sterling Solutions

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

 11:30 a.m.  – 12:15 p.m. :: Case Study: Substations Aren’t Just for Electricity Anymore

In the greater downtown Phoenix Arizona, APS is in various stages of the planning, engineering and construction required to build seven new substations. Gone are the standard 10-ft block walls. These substations will include walkable, pedestrian elements, storage container retail, public art and significant landscaping. Learn how APS is working with property owners, residents, business owners, community stakeholders and governmental jurisdictions to blend engineering requirements with downtown codes, transit overlay districts and the neighborhood character. And of course, all within a tight schedule – the growth of the sixth largest city in the country doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon!               

Kendra Lee, Community Franchise and Outreach Consultant, Arizona Public Service

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:15 – 1:45 p.m. :: Understanding the role of Public Participation in the Changing Landscape of BLM Permitting

The presentation will look at the importance of early stakeholder participation and why one should carry out this important step in the permitting process.  Included will be a look at the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act requirements under Title 41 of the Act and requirements under the One Federal Decision Executive Order.  An important part of this overview will be how all of this fits into the Bureau of Land Management’s permitting process and best management practices developed to improve stakeholder outreach. 

Stephen Fusilier, Branch Chief, Rights-of-Way, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

1:45 – 2:30 p.m. :: Standing Out from the Rest: An Overview on FERC Order 1000 and How Stakeholder Outreach Can Help You Achieve Success

Many of America’s 200,000 miles of high-voltage electric transmission lines are aged and in desperate need of an upgrade.  Due to the fact that utility companies have historically dominated the development of electric transmission around the country, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order 1000 in July 2011. FERC sought to increase regional transmission development by permitting utilities and developers, other than the transmission owner, to propose and bid on new projects. The Order’s main goal is to eliminate the long-standing monopolies in the industry and allow for the creation of innovative, transparent and cost-effective projects by all bidders.

This session will explore:

  • The New York State Public Service Commission’s initiative of the competitive AC Transmission proceeding, which will alleviate the existing transmission congestion and provide reliable electric service to New York City
  • National Grid’s response to the AC Transmission proceedings, the New York Energy Solution, a $1 billion upgrade of two existing 345kV transmission lines across New York State
  • The importance of standing apart from your competitors by crafting a comprehensive and robust stakeholder outreach plan
  • How National Grid partnered with critics of the project to create a superior solution which minimized customer impacts and turned opponents to proponents
  • Where the AC Transmission proceeding is today and National Grid’s next steps

Erin Gryniak, Lead Stakeholder Specialist, National Grid

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. :: Conservation Easements Made Easy: How Utilities & Land Trusts Can Work Together to Ensure Smooth Siting

Conservation easements can be a powerful tool for protecting agricultural heritage, achieving environmental objectives and providing property owners with market-based incentives to manage land wisely. They can also be an obstacle to transmission siting if utilities, conservation organizations, landowners and other stakeholders don’t have a solid understanding of the lens through which each party views these complex legal and financial arrangements. In Colorado, one G&T with significant transmission mileage in rural areas is collaborating with one of the state’s leading land trusts to educate themselves and their respective constituencies about how conservation easements and transmission development can coexist peacefully and productively. Learn how this partnership can be a model for relationship-building in your service territory.

Erik Glenn, Deputy Director, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust

Drew Kramer, Senior External Affairs Advisor, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association

3:45 – 5:00 p.m. :: Panel: Building a Relationship and Open Communication with State and Federal Regulatory Arms

Erin Miller, Project Outreach Specialist, AEP

Tom Petersen, Director of Public Affairs, ITC Midwest

Stephen Fusilier, Branch Chief, Rights-of-Way, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)


Digital Tools to Manage and Mobilize Public Involvement

Monday, January 14, 2019

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 12:00 p.m. :: Workshop Timing


Good projects do not always garner support. With stakeholders on transmission line projects potentially numbering in the hundreds or even thousands, engaging and managing those contacts is an increasingly vital project responsibility to move even the most well-conceived proposal across the finish line.

In this hands-on workshop, a team of experienced strategic communications professionals will define and illustrate challenges and strategies of involving the public, triaging and tracking comments and questions, and using public input to make critical siting decisions. A variety of innovative communication tools will be presented, including GeoVoice, a location-based, interactive comment collection tool that builds project understanding and channels input along multiple pathways.

Learning Outcomes

  • Review an expanded tool kit of communication technologies
  • Identify new strategies for soliciting actionable public input
  • Review best practices for data base management
  • Discuss communication strategies in the digital era


Jason Pfaff, Director of Innovation,  POWER Engineers, Inc.

Jason Pfaff is an expert in the creation and application of visual solutions relating to planning, engineering, architecture, and litigation. He specializes in scenic inventory, agency visual management systems, visual analysis reporting, visual simulations, data visualization, and public presentation and graphics. He has many years of experience with public involvement and the use of visualization tools to bridge the gap between developers, planners, and the public.

Katherine Garrard, Stakeholder Relations, POWER Engineers

 Kathy Garrard began her career in communications and public relations 15 years ago, after starting her professional life in the health care industry. As a member of the Strategic Communications division at POWER Engineers, she is responsible for articulating and communicating the details and benefits of complex electrical infrastructure upgrade projects to the public.

Shawn Jackson, Project Manager, POWER Engineers

 Mr. Jackson is a Project Manager for POWER Engineers’ Applied Technology Group with significant experience developing visual communication tools for high-profile energy and facilities projects across the U.S. He is especially skilled in visual solutions for communications efforts, developing tools that help clients communicate the right information to their intended audiences in innovative and efficient ways.


John Capodice, Executive Vice President, Sterling Solutions

Tama Davis, Project Outreach Manager of Transmission, American Electric Power

Kaya Freiman, Corporate Communications Consultant, American Transmission Co.

Stephen Fusilier, Branch Chief, Rights-of-Way, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Erik Glenn, Deputy Director, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust

Erin Gryniak, Lead Stakeholder Specialist, National Grid

Drew Kramer, Senior External Affairs Advisor, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association

Shauna Laber, Senior Property and Right of Way Specialist, Basin Electric Power Cooperative

Kendra Lee, Community Franchise and Outreach Consultant, Arizona Public Service

Erin Miller, Project Outreach Specialist, AEP

Tiffany Taylor-Minor, Communications Consultant, Dominion Energy

Tom Petersen, Director of Public Affairs, ITC Midwest

Carolyn Stewart, Director of Tribal Relations, NextEra Energy

Todd Vorhees, Regional Public Affairs Manager of Major Projects, SDG&E


Renaissance Newport Beach Hotel

4500 MacArthur Blvd

Newport Beach, CA 92660

Reserve your room:

please call 1-949-476-2001

Room Block Reserved For:

Nights of January 13 – 15, 2019

Room rate through EUCI:

$189.00 single or double plus applicable taxes
Make your reservations prior to December 28, 2018.

Venue Information



Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package US $ 395.00


By clicking Accept or closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them. more information

By clicking Accept or closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. We use cookies during the registration process and to remember member settings.