By - Jon Brown

Business Essentials for Engineers
March 11-12, 2019 | Denver, CO

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For the past 20 years, utilities have gradually been transitioning from engineering-driven to business-driven decision-making. In the past, most top executives at utilities came from the engineering ranks and understood engineering issues in detail. Today, most top executives at utilities have business backgrounds and are primarily concerned with investor relations and “the bottom line.” One consequence of this shift is an increasing communications gap between utility executives and the engineers. Spending can no longer be justified with the argument “it makes good engineering sense.” Rather, spending must be justified with “it makes good business sense.” It is now the responsibility of the engineer to communicate engineering needs in terms of business goals and metrics. To do this, it is critical for utility engineers to be armed with the essential business skills covered in this two-day course.

The book Business Essentials for Utility Engineers, written by course instructor Richard Brown, will be included with the course materials.

Learning Outcomes

This course will review and discuss seven topics that are essential for utility companies transitioning from an engineering-based to a business-based paradigm:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Risk management
  • Utility ratemaking
  • Business case justification
  • Spending prioritization



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 1.2 CEUs for this course.


Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

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

Instructional Methods

PowerPoint presentations, discussion, and case studies will be used in this program.


Monday, March 11, 2019

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

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. :: Introduction: Why Engineers Need to Understand Business Issues

  • Communications gaps
  • Cultural gaps
  • Perspective gaps

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. :: Economics and Regulated Monopolies

  • Microeconomic theory
  • Vertically integrated utility regulation
  • Vertically unbundled utility regulation
  • Ratemaking process and the rate base

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:15 – 11:45 a.m. :: Basic Accounting

  • Types of accounting
  • Accounting principles
  • Journals, ledgers, and accounts
  • Depreciation, amortization, and the rate base depletion

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

12:45 – 2:15 p.m. :: Financial Statement Analysis

  • Balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Statement of cash flows
  • Financial ratios

2:15 – 2:30 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

2:30 – 4:00 p.m. :: Finance and Capital Structure

  • Company valuation
  • Market efficiency
  • Debt and equity financing
  • Tax shields and bankruptcy effects

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

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

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. :: Financial Risk Management

  • Portfolio theory
  • Beta and the capital asset pricing model
  • Financial options and Black-Scholes pricing
  • Real options

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:15 – 11:45 a.m. :: Utility Ratemaking

  • Revenue requirements and the rate base
  • Rate design
  • Rate cases
  • Rate base misconceptions

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

12:45 – 2:15 p.m. :: Business Case Justification

  • Cost considerations
  • Projects, programs, and blankets
  • Benefit assessment
  • Budget impact assessment

2:15 – 2:30 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

2:30 – 3:45 p.m. :: Budgeting and Spending Prioritization

  • Utility budgeting process
  • Marginal benefit-to-cost assessment
  • Multiple performance targets
  • Risk-based spending

3:45 – 4:00 p.m. ::  Summary and Conclusions


Richard E. Brown, Practice Director, Exponent

Richard E. Brown is Director of the Engineering Management Consulting practice for Exponent. He has been on the leadership team for three successful startup organizations, has published more than 90 technical articles related to asset management and performance management, and is the author of the books Business Essentials for Utility Engineers and Electric Power Distribution Reliability. Prior to Exponent, he held executive positions with ABB, KEMA, Quanta Services, and WorleyParsons. Richard earned his BSEE, MSEE, and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle and his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a registered professional engineer and a Fellow of the IEEE.


EUCI Office Building Conference Center

4601 DTC Blvd, B-100

Denver CO, 80237


Suggested Hotel

Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center
8300 E. Crescent Parkway
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
0.9 miles away
Nightly Rate for EUCI Attendees: $158.00 (Hot Breakfast included and Free Shuttle to and from EUCI)

Click on the following booking link: Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center – EUCI and use Group Code: EUCI or

Call Central Reservations at 888-492-8847 and ask for the EUCI rate of $158 under the corporate/group code EUCI

Other Nearby Hotels

Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center
7800 E Tufts Ave
Denver, CO 80237
Phone: 303-779-1234
0.3 miles away

Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center
7675 E Union Ave
Denver, CO 80237
Phone: 303-770-4200
0.6 miles away

Denver Marriott Tech Center
4900 S Syracuse St
Denver, CO 80237
Phone: 303-779-1100
0.7 miles away


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