You are invited to the WBDC 2021 Central States Virtual Utility Conference & Business Matchmaking 

Join us for a dynamic day of interactive learning from industry utility leaders. Featuring keynote speakers, laser learning sessions, industry roundtables, virtual networking, and the opportunity for category specific business matchmaking. 

DECEMBER 8-9, 2021








Registration is now closed.

Click here to access the event program


Morning Session (All)

KEYNOTE SPEAKER | Kevin Bryant, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Evergy

As executive vice president and chief operating officer for Evergy, Kevin Bryant has management responsibility for all utility operations, including generation operations and generation services, transmission operations, transmission and delivery services, distribution operations and customer operations.

Since joining KCP&L in 2003, Mr. Bryant has held several positions that have drawn on his strategic insight and finance/marketing experience. Prior to his current position, Mr. Bryant served as vice president of Strategic Planning, president of KLT and vice president of Investor Relations and Treasurer. He was named Executive Vice President Finance & Strategy and CFO in 2015.

Mr. Bryant serves on the board of directors of Winnebago Industries, a publicly traded company that serves its customers by offering outdoor lifestyle products, including motorhomes, travel trailers and boats. Mr. Bryant also serves on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, a non-profit organization that works to lead youth down a path to success by ensuring they have the skills needed to pursue a career.

9:00 – 9:10 | Welcome

9:10 – 9:25 | Keynote Address

9:25 am – 10:10 am, CST | Utility Laser Learning Sessions (Registrants attend 2 of total)

  • Cybersecurity in the New Now
  • Driving in the Future of Electric Vehicles
  • New Developments in ESG for Utilities-Innovation
  • Energy Impact Partners – Funding the Innovation of the Future
  • Success with Subcontractors

 10:10 – 10:25 | Break

10:25 – 10:55 | Industry Roundtable:  A Conversation on Industry Transformation

 10:55 – 11:55 | Utility Partner Zoom Rooms (Registrants attend 3 of total)

 11:55 – 12:00 | Wrap-up

Afternoon Session (Utilities and Utility Prime Contractors Only)

1:00 – 1:05 | Welcome

1:05 – 1:55 | Diversity Best Practices Laser Learning

  • Diverse Partnership Investment – Sharing “Winning” Opportunities.
  • Tier 2 Reporting – Knowing Your Supply Base
  • Working It: Workforce Development & Inclusion
  • The Value of Advocacy Organizations in Advancing DE&I

Morning Laser Learning Sessions – ALL         

Cybersecurity in the New Now

Moderator: Paul Reyes, CISO and VP Cybersecurity, Risk and Compliance, Vistra Corp.


  • Tabice Ward, Area Vice President, Business Security Risk Advisory and Support Services
  • Randy Anderson, CISSIP & Manager of the Cybersecurity and IT Consulting, Loffler Companies

Driving in the Future of Electric Vehicles

Moderator: Byron Witherspoon, Director Supplier Diversity, Ameren


  • Ken Patrick, Senior Manager, Electrification, Sustainability and Innovation, Ameren
  • Nick Voris, Senior Manager Products and Services, Electrification, Evergy
  • Karen Hsu, Director of Business Development – Utilities, Enel X

New Developments in ESG for Utilities

Moderator: Ellen Fairchild, VP Chief Compliance Officer • Corporate Compliance & IA, Evergy


  • Diane Saftic, Senior Manager, Sustainability & Environmental Services, Ameren
  • Jessica Groshek, Director Investor Relations & Sustainability, Vistra Corp.

Energy Impact Partners – Funding the Innovation of the Future

Presenter: Anthony Oni, Managing Partner & CEO EIP Elevate Future Fund, Energy Impact Partners            

Success with Subcontractors

Moderator: Lex Silbernagel, Special Projects Manager – Utility, Border States


  • Maureen O’Connor, President & CEO, LEM Products Inc.
  • Wendy Moreno, Supplier Diversity, Strategic Sourcing & Planning, Xcel Energy
  • John Giacomini, Alliance Director, SCS, Border States

Utility Industry Roundtable:  A Conversation on Industry Transformation                            

Moderator: Linda Graves, Lead Analyst, Supplier Diversity, CenterPoint Energy


  • Tim Sullivan, Director of Substation Operations, CenterPoint Energy
  • Paul Wilson, Director Distribution Operations & Programs, CenterPoint Energy

Afternoon Laser Learning Sessions – Utilities and Utility Prime Contractors Only

Diverse Partnership Investment – Sharing “Winning” Opportunities

Moderator: Valerie Coyazo, Lead Supplier Diversity Manager, Evergy


  • Nilson Goes, President, Infinite Energy Construction 
  • Gabe Hernandez, Vice President, Business Line Operations, Burns & McDonnell

Tier 2 Reporting – Knowing Your Supply Base

Moderator: Wendy Moreno, Supplier Diversity |Strategic Sourcing & Planning, Xcel Energy


  • Mary Gano, Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity & Sustainability, Vistra Corp.
  • Anjanette Brooks, Supplier Diversity Specialist, Ameren
  • Amy Busek, Corporate ESG Manager and Supplier Diversity, Power Engineers


Working It:  Workforce Development & Inclusion

Moderator: Lesley Elwell, SVP Chief HR Officer, Evergy


  • Jim Garness, Manager, Supplier Diversity, Xcel Energy
  • Byron Witherspoon, Director, Supplier Diversity, Ameren
  • Anette Underwood, Chief Diversity Officer, Vistra Corp.                                   

The Value of Advocacy Organizations in Advancing DE&I

Moderator: Heather Herndon Wright, Director, Supply Chain Diversity & Sustainability, Vistra Corp.   


  • Vicki Irwin, General Manager, Supplier Sustainability & Equity, Southern Company
  • Jewel Smith, Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Consultant, Business Diversity Committee

Ready to pitch your product or service to Utilities’ or Utility Prime contractors’ representatives?

Register for the Business Matchmaker, submit your profile, and you might have the chance to meet one-on-one with a representative --or two or three!  Matches are based on buyer procurement needs with no guarantee of a match.

DECEMBER 9, 2021

Confirmed Buyer Representatives include, but are not limited to: 

  • Ameren
  • Border States
  • CenterPoint Energy
  • Evergy
  • Malark Logistics
  • Vistra Corp.
  • Wesco | Anister
  • Xcel Energy

 Category Opportunities include, but are not limited to:

Project Development Opportunities: Environmental Services, Permitting, Technical Studies, Pre-construction Work, High-Voltage Tie-ins/Interconnects, Abatement & Demolition, and Engineering Services 

Construction – Substation Construction, Transformers, Invertors, Electrical

Q&M – Preventative Maintenance, Vegetation Control, Panel Washing, Fence & Road Maintenance, HVAC Maintenance   

IT – IT Consulting, Software

Consumer Facing Services – Marketing, Other Services

Transportation & Logistics – Fleet Materials and Services         

Matchmaker Registration Deadline:  COB Friday, 12.3.2021 



Registration is now closed.

Thank you to Our Generous Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

The mission of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is to support and accelerate business development and growth, targeting women and serving all diverse business owners, in order to strengthen their participation in, and impact on, the economy.

Women's Business Development Center 8 S. Michigan Avenue. 4th Floor Chicago, IL 60603
P: 312.853.3477

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