About the Roundtable

APPA’s Public Communications Committee Spring Issues Roundtable will be held Monday, April 10, 2017, at APPA’s offices in Arlington, Va. This annual one-day event covers issues common to strategy development as well as managing, budgeting, and staffing the communications/marketing function for public power systems.  All APPA members who work for a utility, state association or joint action agency are welcome to attend this free event. 


Contact APPA's Integrated Media and Communications Department 202/467-2900 or communications@publicpower.org for more information or to RSVP for the event.

2017 Agenda

MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2017

8:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M.

1. Welcome and Introductions - 8:30-9 a.m.

Sue Kelly, American Public Power Association President & CEO

Meena Dayak, American Public Power Association Vice President of Integrated Media and Communications

Tony Benson, Public Communications Committee Chair and Communications Coordinator at Rochester Public Utilities, Minnesota

Joe Gehrdes, Public Communications Committee Vice Chair and Director, Communications & Public Relations Huntsville, Alabama, Utilities

2. Legislative and Regulatory Update – 9-9:45 a.m.

Laura Marshall Schepis, American Public Power Association Senior Vice President, Advocacy & Communications

Desmarie Waterhouse, American Public Power Association Vice President of Government Relations and Counsel

Get an update on legislative and regulatory action on tax-exempt financing, grid security, electric markets, distributed generation, and more.

3. Distributed Energy Resources and Emerging Technology– 9:45-10:30 a.m.

The proliferation of distributed generation presents challenges and opportunities for public power utilities, and customer expectations are evolving when it comes to emerging technology (e.g. “smart” devices and mobile apps). Come prepared to discuss trends you are seeing in your community.

4. The Words We Use: Key Findings from the Edison Electric Institute’s Lexicon Project – 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Join representatives of the Edison Electric Institute (the trade association that represents the investor-owned electric companies that serve more than 220 million customers) to discuss their extensive research pertaining how we talk to our customers and stakeholders about utility and power issues.

5. Best Practices for Staffing a Public Power Communications Team – 11:30-12:15 p.m.

Public power utilities come in different shapes and sizes, but each must put together a crack team of communications/public relations experts. How do you right-size your team to get the job done? How do you make the case to leadership? What roles and assignments are most difficult to manage?

6. Lunch/Association Update on the “Raising Awareness of Public Power” Campaign – 12:15–1:15 p.m.

7. Measuring Customer Satisfaction/Surveys – 1:15-2 p.m.

It’s essential that public power utilities, state associations, and joint action agencies dedicate time and resources to measuring customer satisfaction. This can be accomplished by way of qualitative and/or quantitative research. Come prepared to discuss how you “take the temperature” of your key stakeholders and share some of your recent findings.

8. The Crisis Is Coming. Are You Prepared? – 2-2:45 p.m.

It’s a holiday weekend and you are settled in with friends and family. Then you get the phone call. Are you prepared to handle an international media frenzy centered around your utility? One public power utility recently weathered a storm of this nature and came out stronger for it. In this session, we will discuss best practices before, during and after crisis.  

9. Roundtable Discussion/Group Therapy – 2:45-3:45 p.m.

Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss (in a “safe place”) the hot topics in their respective communities. What’s taking up your time these days? What’s getting your goat? What are your customers asking for?                  

10. Discussion of Wish List for 2017 Customer Connections Conference – 3:45-4:30 p.m.

Attendees will have the chance to recommend topics and even speakers for the 2017 Customer Connections Conference.

11. Adjourn – 4:30 p.m.


Hotel Information



Listed below are the Corporate Guestroom Rates available to APPA members visiting Washington, DC area in 2017. To qualify for these rates you must mention, “Am. Public Power Assn” or the corporate number, “09978” when making your room reservations. Rates are subject to availability and may vary due to the occupancy level of the hotel; therefore it is advisable to request the best available rate at the time of booking to ensure that the best rate is offered.

2799 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202
800/223-1234 (Reservations)
Online Reservations: https://aws.passkey.com/go/APPAApr2017

*APPA’s office is a five minute walk from the hotel heading north on Crystal Drive.

Group Rate for Spring Issues Roundtable
Standard Room
April 9 - April 11:  $199

*For an additional $25, guests can upgrade to Deluxe King Room.

Overnight parking per night/per car is $32.00 and is valet only.

Complimentary shuttle service is available to Ronald Reagan National Airport and the Crystal City Metro Stop.