Executive Panel Discussion: Building an Agile, Innovative, Customer-Centric Culture


In many ways the COVID crisis continues to bring out the best in the industry, accelerating digital initiatives and pushing utilities to become more agile, innovative, and resilient. Clear communication with customers and employees along the way is essential. Panelists will share their recent successes, insights into the challenges ahead and strategies for keeping the customer first and foremost across the organization.


Moderator: Scott Johnson

Vice President, Chartwell, Inc.

Scott oversees Chartwell’s Data Analytics and Research initiatives as well as content development for conferences, leadership councils and other events. An accomplished researcher, editor and facilitator, he joined Chartwell in 2006 as a senior research analyst and launched the company’s Outage Communications efforts. He was promoted to Director of Research in 2011 and Vice President in 2014. Scott frequently presents Chartwell’s latest research at utility industry conferences.  



Jim Pratt

Chief Customer Executive, Salt River Project

Jim has worked in the utility industry for 37 years.  He has previously held a variety of engineering and management positions relating to the generation, transmission, distribution, and grid modernization segments of SRP’s utility business.  He currently serves as SRP’s Associate General Manager of Customer Operations & Chief Customer Executive.  This role is responsible for delivering customer value to all of SRP’s water and power customers through our Water Services, Customer Services & Strategy, Customer Programs, and Distribution Grid Services operations. 


Karen Sparkman

Vice President, Customer Experience, Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas

Karen joined the company in 2017 and has played a key role in the transformation of the broader customer experience organization across contact centers, customer billing, credit and collections and payment operations. Previously, she led CX efforts at Snohomish County PUD and worked at Colorado Springs Utilities.  


Lisa Gearhart

Director, Customer Experience Strategy & Solutions, Arizona Public Service    

Lisa Gearhart is the new Director of Customer Experience Strategy and Solutions at APS. She brings more than 30 years experience in strategic planning and implementation of brand, customer and employee experience initiatives across a wide range of industries, including financial services, healthcare, consumer products, education, entertainment, retail and utilities. At APS, Lisa is responsible for developing, leading and overseeing the implementation of the company-wide, long-and short-term customer experience strategy in alignment with the organization’s business goals and objectives. She leads a team of more than 45 professionals in providing Voice of Customer/Voice of Employee insights, customer experience strategies, and the creation and marketing of digital and programmatic solutions that increase customer satisfaction and engagement.