MEA Field Leader Training
Our Field Leader Training facilitators have a unique mix of rigor and expertise from years of service in the utility industry. They each go through extensive training, coaching, and continued learning to ensure they are delivering the best, most effective content for today’s leaders.
If you’re interested in exploring how to become a leadership facilitator for MEA, please reach out to our Leadership Programs Manager, Daneen Goncalves, to learn more.
Meet Our Facilitators
Phil has been a facilitator for MEA since 2021 and is based out of Missouri.
Phil Harris, a resident of Springfield, MO, holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Phil retired in May 2020 after completing 31 years with City Utilities of Springfield, and currently is supporting City Utilities as a part-time senior engineer. Upon retirement, Phil served as a manager – natural gas, water engineering and contract inspection, where he managed their growing main renewal initiative for both gas and water. Phil also managed the contract inspection group that had oversight of contract labor. Prior to this position, Phil served as a manager – GIS department. His key accomplishments were helping the engineering and contract inspection areas to adopt new technology to facilitate accurate and efficient data capture for ongoing records retention to facilitate compliance.
Phil has served on the MEA Distribution committee, including serving one-year as chair, representing City Utilities. Phil was a competitive cyclist for 15 years, participating on a regional cycling team, Oklahoma City Velo, and also enjoys fly fishing and backpacking.
Jeff has been a facilitator for MEA since 2020 and is based out of Indiana.
Jeff has more than 30 years of experience in the electric utility industry having held leadership positions in engineering services, leading technical implementations, and driving customer facing initiatives. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. in Engineering Management from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Jeff has extensive experience in the areas of distributed energy resources (DER), effective delivery and sourcing strategies (smart grids, microgrids, energy storage, smart meters), and impacting energy efficiency through emerging smart home technologies and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Jeff has worked for PSI Energy (now Duke Energy Indiana), Wabash Valley Power Alliance, Central Indiana Power (now NineStar Connect), Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities, and currently serves as a director for Clark Co. REMC and the Indiana Electric Cooperatives.
Frances has been a facilitator for MEA since 2021 and is based out of Alabama.
Frances worked at Alagasco/Spire for 42 years before retiring in 2022. She began her career providing customer service for walk-in customers which transitioned to leading and managing the Customer Accounting & Contact Center. Frances then spent the next 25 years in field operations managing the Dispatch Center and Meter Reading Department. At the time, meter reading was an entry level position in field operations, and over a three-year period Frances was responsible for hiring 94 entry level employees into the field.
Frances concluded her career managing field operations training, coordinating operator qualifications for Alabama operations and developing training programs for most job classifications covered by union contracts in Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri. Frances is passionate about the natural gas industry, training, leadership, local and National Gas Rodeo, the American Heart Association, United Ability (a local United Way Organization), the University of Alabama, and of course, her six grandchildren.
Gene has been a facilitator for MEA since 2023 and is based out of Kansas.
Eugene “Gene” Sicard is a union representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 304 in Kansas, and has been in the utilities industry for 30 years. He is a graduate of Kansas State University. His work history includes negotiations, labor management, apprenticeships, and member and partner engagement.
Gene has the intention and skills to further decrease barriers between employers and employees by sharing what he’s witnessed. He has a diverse background with career paths and apprenticeships completed in power plant operations, electrical substations, and power metering (electrical). With a track record of negotiating over 50 + successful labor contracts with a number of companies from private, municipal, rural electric, and investor-owned utilities. A combination of hands-on field experience and the world of Labor Management Relations lends a unique perspective he’s excited to share with the MEA community.
Dennis has been a facilitator for MEA since 2018 and is based out of Colorado.
Dennis Skubal is a Colorado native, currently residing in Littleton, CO. After attending the University of Southern Colorado, Dennis began his career as a local mechanical contractor where he mentored and led crews in HVAC installations for several years. In his 30+ years in the utility industry, Dennis has held multiple “in-the-field” positions including a gas journeyman service-fitter with Xcel Energy, where he was assigned to the newly constructed Denver International Airport leading crews, a supervisor with gas emergency and special services group and a gas operations manager leading teams in installation, maintenance, and compliance of the gas system.
Closing out his career, Dennis accepted a supervisor position with the Gas Technical Training Department in Colorado (and Minnesota for several years) where he was responsible for all gas training, apprenticeship, and operator qualification programs. He also oversaw the construction of a new state of the art gas and electric training facility in Henderson, CO. Dennis successfully presented a business case for the construction of outdoor “Leak City” training facilities in Henderson, CO and Hugo, MN. Additionally, Dennis was an active member of the MEA Energy Association Technical Training Committee.
Jerome has been a facilitator for MEA since 2017 and is based out of Illinois.
Jerome Themig is a consulting engineer with over thirty years of utility experience in gas transmission, distribution, operations, maintenance, and construction with a primary focus in regulatory compliance and training. In retirement, Jerome continues to share his knowledge and experience with future leaders as a leadership facilitator and in his spare time, enjoys outdoor activity such as hunting, fishing, skiing, or just time at the lake with his trusty yellow lab, Maggie.
Jerome’s many years of involvement with industry associations such as AGA and MEA has positively impacted the utilities industry by sharing knowledge of best practices. Jerome is currently a member of MEA’s Gas Piping Technology Committee providing guidance in regulatory compliance.