Wednesday General Session Speaker

Julie M. Albright, Ph.D.

Digital Sociologist: USC | Dornsife Applied Psychology and Viterbi Engineering
Board Member: Infrastructure Masons
Best-Selling Author: Left to Their Own Devices: How Digital Natives Are Reshaping the American Dream

Wednesday, May 20 | 8 AM
Fort Worth Convention Center | Second Level | Ballroom C

"Growing Up a Digital Native"

Sponsored by:

What does it mean to grow up in an always-on, always digitally connected world? How have technology and the electronic devices we engage with impacted the family, normal socialization, self-esteem, mental and physical health, even our driving behaviors, not to mention the rise of cyberbullying and increased cybersecurity risks? At a macro level, our society’s stabilizing foundations are being threatened; at a micro level, personal well-being is ever more fragile thanks to unintended implications faced by digital natives.

Dr. Julie Albright is a digital sociologist who has spent a career studying society’s behaviors, correlating inputs to outcomes and seeing into the future armed with research and insights. In her new book, Left to Their Own Devices: How Digital Natives Are Reshaping the American Dream, Albright examines how “young people brought up with the Internet, smartphones, and social media are quickly rendering old habits, values, behaviors, and norms a distant memory—creating the greatest generation gap in history.” A thought leader positioned at the growing intersection of society, behavior and technology, Albright’s keynote speech, kicking off Conference 44, promises to be stimulating, eye-opening and provocative.

Dr. Albright was the Project Lead on the Behavioral Component of the $121M Smart Grid Demonstration Project with LADWP, USC Information Sciences Institute, the Jet Propulsion Lab and UCLA, where she created the preliminary design for a large scale behavioral and digital technology energy study. She has appeared on national media programs including The Today Show, CNN, NBC Nightly News, National Geographic, CBS, Dr. Phil and NPR. She is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time and Newsweek magazines.

Thursday General Session Keynotes


“It’s All Connected: The Modern Culture of Customer Engagement”

Debbie Dennis, SVP, HR & Corp Affairs & CCO and Joel Austin, SVP & Chief Digital Officer, both of Oncor

Thursday, May 21 | 8 AM
Fort Worth Convention Center | Second Level | Ballroom C

Sponsored by:    
Culture change takes a multi-pronged effort. Listen as Debbie Dennis, SVP, HR and Corp Affairs & CCO and Joel Austin, SVP & Chief Digital Officer, sit for a ‘fireside chat’ to share how Oncor has broadened this value driver: Customer engagement involves all stakeholders and every employee. By aligning HR with customer service functions and deploying tools, technology, data and AI, this utility is updating skillsets and mindsets. More staff are engaging with customers and becoming utility advocates.

Debbie Dennis 
SVP, HR & Corp Affairs & CCO
Joel Austin
SVP & Chief Digital Officer

Expanding Excellence Award Announcements

Thursday, May 21
Following Thursday Keynote

Fort Worth Convention Center | Second Level | Ballroom C

The announcement of the 2020 Expanding Excellence Award-winning utilities and a brief video summary of
their successful strategies set a high standard for the workshops, events and educational groups of Conference 44 that follow.

A series of brief videos will introduce the winning utilities – large and small – for:

 Best Analytics Project

Best CIS Implementation
Innovation in Digital Customer Engagement
Innovation in People & Process

Friday, May 22
Before Executive Panel

Fort Worth Convention Center | Second Level | Ballroom C

EEA Individual Awards

Launched in 2019, individual Expanding Excellence Awards for Distinguished Leader and Rising Star will be presented on Friday. They identify and honor utility employees who have made significant leadership contributions or whose track record reflects a strong potential for growth and higher accountability. Our 2019 winners set a model example of those who will be named for 2020.

Friday General Session Panel

Friday, May 22 | 9:45 AM
Fort Worth Convention Center | Second Level | Ballroom C

“If I’d Only Known Then What I Know Now: Myths vs. Facts”

Moderator: Todd Arnold

Join the Closing General Session where a panel of respected, seasoned utility leaders will offer their perspectives on common utility customer service myths. The moderator will likely tee up myths about customers or employees or management or data and invite panelists to unpack, discuss and debunk them with real-life examples. The audience will participate on their smart phones/devices by responding to and asking questions. Plan to attend this prescient panel discussion, then stay in your seats for CS Week’s signature Vehicle Giveaway, which happens immediately thereafter.

Allyn Giles
VP, Customer Engagement
Kara Shuror
Deputy Water Dir
City of Fort Worth
Jeff Martinez
VP, Customer Service
Atmos Energy