About Us

ISM®'s Utility Purchasing Management Group (UPMG) Annual Conference is recognized as one of the premier educational events within the utility supply chain industry. Focused on innovations in purchasing and materials management, UPMG has been designed to drive transformation and innovation in your organizations, communities, and environment.


Utility organizations are focusing not only on innovation, technology changes and their bottom-line, but also their impact on communities around them. Join us at ISM's Utility Purchasing Management Group (UPMG) Forum Annual Conference and learn how you can drive transformation and innovation in your organization, community and the environment.

You'll have the opportunity to:

  • Network with peers and gain insight into what others are doing to transform their organizations
  • Hear from industry leaders on topics relevant to you and your career
  • Meet with suppliers to find new innovations and technology that can make an impact to your bottom-line

If you want to stay on top of the latest trends in energy and utilities, attend the conference developed by utility supply management professionals, for utility supply management professionals.

2019 Keynotes

2019 Agenda

  • 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
    Take a tour of the Motor City and network with other utilities supply professionals – all for a good cause! Additional Details
  • 4:30 - 5:00 p.m.
    First Time Attendee Reception
  • 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
    Welcome Reception
  • 8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
    Opening Remarks and Presentation to Charity
  • 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
    Join Gerry Anderson for this interactive session on how DTE Energy has transformed and become a purpose-driven organization.
    Gerry Anderson, Executive Chairman and former President and CEO, DTE Energy
  • 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
    Rapidly expanding investment in energy infrastructure, combined with a decades-long reduction in focus on skilled trades as a viable and lucrative career option, has created a shortfall in skilled workers to complete the vital work of providing reliable, low-cost energy to our customers. This presentation will highlight DTE’s leadership in enhancing pathways for these high-demand careers, and the resulting economic impact for the communities we serve.
    Tony Tomczak, Vice President of Corporate Services and Chief Procurement Officer, DTE Energy
    Susan DiSanto, Manager - Workforce Planning & Development, DTE Energy
  • 10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
  • 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
    Utility Supply Chain organizations continue to face dramatic disruptions. Natural disasters and corporate liability, foreign trade tariffs, cyber threats, constrained labor markets, the shift in what we buy and the threat to its availability are all causing a pivot in how we as Supply Chain professionals must approach our work. This session will give you new perspective and insight from dozens of supply chain executives describing how innovative supply chain organizations are not only coping but using these disruptions to transform their approach to Procurement and Logistics.
    Conrad Snover, Executive Vice President, ProcureAbility
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    Does your utility use drones yet? Drones are currently being adopted by electric utilities as a powerful new work tool. As this trend continues to accelerate, new applications are being vetted every day. Getting started with this new technology can be both exciting and daunting. This session will explore approaches used by enterprises to build a successful foundation for launching a drone program.
    Jamie Gose, UAS Sales Manager, Gresco Utility Supply
  • 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
    Lunch (on your own)
  • 1:30 – 2:15 p.m. | Breakout Sessions
    “SUPPLIER AND EMPLOYEE OF COMPANY STEAL MILLIONS!!!” How many times have you read a news article with a caption like this? Typically, when supply chain makes the news it is not because of the great contracts they write, or the savings goals achieved. Often it is because one of their suppliers defrauded the company and stole rate payer’s money. This session will focus on different types of fraud, how to identify it, and most importantly, how to build a culture of fraud prevention.
    Dave Frank, WTEC Energy
    Brandon Zimmerman, Southern Nuclear
    Markley Ward, Director, Contract Services, AMS-PAR

    New technology is exciting…and a lot of work. How do you transition from proof-of-concept demonstrations to new value-producing ways to operate? For drones, there are many things to consider and plan beyond the scope of the technology itself. Learn how, as the deployment of this technology expands, to make sure you are building scalable systems to capture the value drones offer to our organizations.
    Rusty Ortkiese, Manager of UAS, Gresco Utility Supply

    Supply Management - if positioned appropriately and executed correctly - can make the difference between mediocre and outstanding utility performance. Whether regulated or unregulated, investor owned or municipal – stakeholders have an expectation that a utility will spend wisely and be good stewards of rate payer and/or investor dollars. Learn howbrand building can create an emotional connection with stakeholders to generate confidence and loyalty.
    James M. Baehr, Group Lead, Sourcing Strategies Group, LLC
  • 2:15 – 2:30 p.m.
  • 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Breakout Sessions
    Urban and rural areas are evolving to changes in technology, which presents new opportunities for improved public safety, connectivity and the overall experience for residents and visitors. Physical connectivity is the crucial layer that supports the end goals of security, mobility and efficiency. This session will explore five key technology areas cities can integrate innovative solutions to meet their smart city needs:
    • Risk Management
    • Network Performance
    • Power Optimization
    • Community Experience
    • IoCT Enablement
    Matt Powers, VP Global Technology Services, Anixter
    Steve Anson, VP Marketing, Anixter

    Supply Chain RFP's always include a section about Supplier's Quality Program. Many companies feel this is just a "check the box" field, and if the supplier checked “yes", that's all required. In today's world, manufacturing is done globally, and the need to know where finished and raw goods are coming from are paramount. Especially considering the recent US Tariffs placed on countries where this disruption to supply can have many consequences.
    Gregg Walden, HQ Senior QA Manager – Product Integrity Team, Wolseley Industrial Group

    Join us for this engaging panel discussion on what it takes to be successful in supply chain. Gain a better understanding of supply chain career paths, hear lessons learned (successes and missteps) and what your organization can do to attract multi-generational employees.
    Faith Young, Manager, Sourcing II, Duke Energy
    Paula Pell, Senior Consultant, AMS-PAR
    Caleb Wright, Associate Buyer, DTE Energy
    Sim Louangaphay, Category Manager – EU, PPL Electric Utilities
    Moderator: Melanie Cross, Senior Manager – Generation Contracts, Tennessee Valley Authority
  • 3:30 – 3:45 p.m.
  • 3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
    Many organizations are feeling the impact of tariffs. Hear from a panel of leaders in utility supply chain on how tariffs are affecting their organizations globally and nationally. They will discuss what is on the horizon in the short and long term as well as the financial impact of the tariffs. Find out what companies like yours are doing to mitigate these issues and how to manage the impact to customers.
    Scott Roesle, AVP, Procurement Operation – Power, Black & Veatch
    Jon Schemmel, Director North America Power Distribution Commercial Operations, Prysmian Group
    Christina Valadez, Director, Global Procurement Operations, Siemens
  • 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
    Supplier Networking Display and Reception
  • 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
  • 8:00 – 8:15 a.m.
    Opening Remarks
  • 8:15 – 9:15 a.m.
    This presentation supplies detail discussions regarding, global, national, and regional economic performance using the most current data available. Special attention is devoted to certain aspects of economic life, including the performance of financial, labor, real estate, and construction markets.
    Anirban Basu, Chairman & CEO, Sage Policy Group, Inc. and Lecturer Johns Hopkins University
  • 9:15 – 9:30 a.m.
  • 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. | Breakout Sessions
    The current workforce shortage is hitting many industries including utilities. Power generation, construction, and maintenance are just the tip of the iceberg. This fast-paced presentation will explain the latest trends, economic impacts, and what it means to you and your organization.
    Kevin G. Sell, CVO, United Group Services, Inc.

    RFID technology has been around for many, many years but we have now reached a point where the costs of the tags and the capability of the software and implementing hardware are such that the traditional model of warehouse operations is rapidly becoming outdated. This presentation will explore the potential for manpower reductions and gains in efficiency by changing our 1950’s model of how to run a warehouse into the current day, and beyond.
    Pat Long, Southern Nuclear
    Jim Ripple, Supply Chain Director, Southern Nuclear

    This presentation will summarize the financial and operational challenges distributed energy resources (DER) creates today and in the future for electric distribution utilities. It will also point out some of the hardware, software and communications infrastructure investments required to address the operations challenges, improve reliability, provide additional customer services and provide additional revenue streams for utilities. The takeaways will be useful for planning utility technology and business road maps.
    John Barnick, Director Business Development, ABB Network Control
  • 10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
  • 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
    Digital Transformation: How Amazon Business Help Transform and Innovate your Procurement Practice
    Mario Marin, Head of US Sales, Government, Amazon Business
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    General Motors has been pushing the limits of transportation and technology for over 100 years. Today, we are in the midst of a transportation revolution. We envision a future of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, and we have committed ourselves to leading the way toward this future. General Motors also produces more than 8.3 million vehicles throughout the world, serving customers on six continents across 23 time zones and 70 languages. This session will focus on some of the external forces faced by GM, the challenges and opportunities of an industry in transition and how GM Supply Chain is contributing to deliver excellence into the next century.
    Marc Menden, Vice President, GM South America, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, GM
  • 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
    In this luncheon session you'll hear from supply chain management students from Wayne State University and Michigan State University.
    Alex Christiansen, Senior, Michigan State University
    Luke Tippen, Senior, Wayne State University
    Caleb Wright, Wayne State University Alum and Associate Buyer, DTE Energy
  • 2:00 – 2:45 p.m.
    The UPMG Supply Chain Benchmarking Study is the only comprehensive study conducted by and for the utility industry. More than 70 utilities have participated in the study, with an average of 27 companies each year.

    During this session, attendees will learn how the study is conducted, the type of information generated, and trends identified from the data. Every utility at this conference can benefit from participating in the UPMG Supply Chain Benchmarking Study.
    Lonny O’Rourke, Principle Consultant, TLJ Energy Consulting
    Jack Cusack, Principle Consultant, TLJ Energy Consulting
  • 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
    There is a seismic shift in the way we work, and the leadership skills required now and for the future. As we are faced with massive industry disruption, rapid advancements in technology, multiple generations in the workplace and other challenges, it’s imperative that we must have a compelling vision of our supply chain. Shifts of consciousness that demand a culture of moral and social responsibility along with a clear and defined purpose prove that this is the time for supply chain to rise up and lead! Don’t miss this high-energy, engaging session.
    Jan Griffiths, CEO, Gravitas Detroit
  • 3:45 – 4:00 p.m.
    Closing Comments
  • 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
    Closing Networking Event

2019 Conference Location

Detroit, MI

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

Room Rate | $169/night

Reserve your room by August 29, 2019 to receive the ISM rate.

2019 Sponsors

Become a Sponsor at UPMG2020

For more details on Sponsor/Exhibitor opportunities contact us by completing the form below.

2019 Exhibitors