Attendee Schedule

Sunday, June 23, 2024

8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Pre-Conference Workshop: So, You Want to be a General Manager?

Sponsored by Special District Leadership Foundation

Scott Carroll, CSDM, Costa Mesa Sanitary District

This is a practical career development workshop for senior executives and emerging leaders in special districts. This action-oriented workshop includes group and panel discussions on the journey, roles, and skill sets of a general manager; identifying general manager opportunities; developing positive relationships with the board, staff, and peer agency executives; and leadership best practices.

*Separate registration and payment required. Space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Includes continental breakfast and buffet-style lunch.

11:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

NEW! Pre-Conference Workshop II: Passing the Torch: How to Recruit, Engage, and Carry Your Dream Team Forward

Christine Sliz, Regional Government Services Authority
Gabe Lanusse, Greater Vallejo Recreation District
Ryder Todd Smith, Tripepi Smith

In October 2021, 3 million adults took early retirement in the U.S. Many agencies were caught flat-footed after losing organizational talent and district knowledge about history, processes, and decisions. Innovative recruitment, engagement and succession planning processes can reignite the energy in your organization. In this two-part workshop, we will address the foundation of every agency’s success: innovative recruitment and succession planning.

PART ONE: Building Your A-Team

PART TWO: Passing the Torch without Burning Your Fingers

*Separate registration and payment are required. Space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Includes buffet-style lunch

3:45 - 5:15 p.m.

Speed Networking

Come and enjoy lively and fun speed rounds of networking and prizes and learn about CSDA business affiliate members that can save your district time and money - or both! Limited space, so register now! Limited to special district staff and board members only.

5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Welcome Reception and Registration – It’s an MVP Party!

Join us for a spirited celebration as we honor our Most Valuable Partners (MVPs) at our themed reception! Embrace the team spirit by donning your favorite sports jersey as we recognize and appreciate the invaluable contributions of our partners. It's a winning combination of recognition, camaraderie, and fun!

Sponsored by SitelogiQ 

Monday, June 24, 2024

8:00 a.m.

Conference Registration Opens

Sponsored by Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Continental Breakfast with the Exhibitors

Sponsored by Streamline

8:30 - 10:00 a.m.

John SpenceOpening Keynote: The Future of Leadership

John Spence, Global Business Expert, Coach, Trainer, Speaker
Sponsored by Special District Leadership Foundation

Some fundamentals of leadership will never change. Honesty, integrity, courage, fairness, vision, and a handful of other elements are essential to being a successful leader. However, as the speed of change accelerates, it demands that leadership evolve to keep pace. To successfully navigate tomorrow's business challenges, you must increase the leadership and management capabilities of your existing leaders and ensure the readiness of your top talent to move to their next role.

10:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Break and Networking with the Exhibitors

Sponsored by Brandis Tallman, a Division of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

10:30 - 12:00 p.m.

Breakout Session Options

Leadership Lessons from Your Peers - Collaboration and Transformation

Leah Harris, San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District
Ian Prichard, Calleguas Municipal Water District

This breakout session will help show you how to lead an organization through a collaborative approach with a department-wide organizational skillset that will change how governing bodies, management, and staff work together as a team with the same vision. From there, you can plan for the transformation of your organization through strategic plan implementation as a process of change. This will create a work culture that is measurably more productive and brings joy back into public service.

Navigating Funding Strategies for Capital Projects

Dmitry Semenov, Ridgeline Municipal Strategies, LLC
Tom Neisler, Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District
Rick Brandis, Brandis Tallman, A Division of Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.

Project financing can be a daunting task. Recent market turbulence and California's budget deficit make it even more complicated and may require adjustments to the financing plan. In this session, we discuss funding strategies available to special districts for infrastructure and facility projects. We will also discuss the management of financing in a higher interest rate environment. A market update will be provided because even though we may not always know what the future holds, we should always know where we stand right now.

Better District Leadership Through a Productive Partnership Between the Manager and Board

Martin Rauch, Rauch Communication Consultants, Inc.

This session recognizes the crucial importance of maintaining the best relationship between the manager and the board. It will provide tips on defining roles and relationships, building an effective team between the board and manager, helping your board fulfill its role, maintaining communication over time, executing a useful performance evaluation, and much more. This interactive session will also provide real-life examples, and opportunities for questions, answers, and discussion.

12:15 - 1:30 p.m.

Networking Lunch with the Exhibitors

Sponsored by California Special Districts Alliance

1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Breakout Session Options

Leading a Values-Based Organizational Culture

Sean Barclay, Tahoe City Public Utility District

Creating alignment around a shared set of values at an organizational level requires so much more than just adopting a “set of words on a wall.” This session will examine one district’s journey towards implementing a set of shared values and behaviors that guide decision-making, from strategic planning to everyday customer interactions. The session will share actual experiences along the way toward implementation, the challenges, and the real benefits realized over time. Come learn firsthand from our mistakes and successes and take-home practical tips to help you understand if a values-based organizational culture is the right fit for your district.

Cybersecurity and IT Strategy for Special District Leaders

Corey Kaufman, VC3

In this session, we will outline the necessary items to build out an effective IT strategic plan. This will include addressing the following items:

  • What is required to build an IT Strategic Plan
  • Identifying the goals of the local government agency
  • How to identify the current risks and build a realistic plan to remediate those risks
  • How does this impact the budget
  • How to make sure that we have executed the plan we put together

Navigating Legal Landmines: Essential Updates for Special District General Managers

David Boyer and Suparna Jain, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

In the dynamic landscape of special districts, staying abreast of legal updates is essential. As stewards of public resources tasked with ensuring the smooth operation of their districts, General Managers must keep up with the latest legal developments to mitigate risks and ensure compliance. This presentation will offer a comprehensive overview of essential legal updates tailored specifically to the needs of General Managers and special districts.

3:00 - 3:45 p.m.

Break and Networking with the Exhibitors

Sponsored by Stifel Investment Services

3:45 - 5:00 p.m.

Breakout Session Options

Money Market Securities and Joint Powers Authority Pools

Tom Tight, California CLASS

The investment portfolio is one of the only areas where state and local governments can generate income without charging taxes or fees to the citizenry. With rates rising last year, interest income has become a more relevant and valuable revenue source. Drawing from real-life success stories, this session will provide insights into the key components of an effective investment plan including cash flow analysis, portfolio diversification, and effective investment and risk management strategies.

Thriving Together: Navigating Community Engagement in the Fast Lane

Nicholaus Norvell, Best Best & Krieger LLP
Melanie Mow Schumacher, Soquel Creek Water District
Ashley Metzger, Regional Government Services Authority

In our fast-paced world, community engagement fosters meaningful connections and drives collective progress. The session will give attendees the “who, what, when, where, and why” of community engagement. It will share a variety of proactive engagement strategies that will position your district for success when the time comes to react to emerging issues. The group will discuss a range of options (both informal to formal), lessons learned, and discuss the strategic and legal considerations at various levels.

How to be a More Strategic Thinker

John Spence

Your strategic plan is essentially a decision-making tool. How will you allocate your scarce resources? What markets will you serve? What products and projects are priorities? Every critical decision you make is tested for alignment with the plan. This is why organizations take the strategic planning process so seriously, and they should. There is a computer programming term: GI=GO. Garbage In; GO= Garbage Out. It is much the same with strategic planning. If the thinking that goes into the planning process is flawed, your plan will be too. Therefore, the leaders in your organization must be superior strategic thinkers.

5:15 - 6:45 p.m.

Food & Wine Experience Reception

Sponsored by SDRMA

Join your fellow attendees and exhibitors for more networking while enjoying food, wine, and beer sampling.

8:30 - 10:00 p.m.

Show starts at 9:30 p.m.

Enjoy the View: Private Rooftop theme park Fireworks Viewing

Sponsored by California CLASS, Centrica Business Solutions and Umpqua Bank

You are invited to our special fireworks viewing party. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Drinks will be provided.

Special District Attendees and Sponsors Only

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Continental Breakfast with the Exhibitors

9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Jennifer EdwardsGeneral Session Keynote: Bridge the Gap

Jennifer Edwards, Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, Coach
Sponsored by California Bank of Commerce

Let’s face it, many conversations can go sideways. Many of us feel “squeezed” in these polarizing, cancel-culture times, and shocking data shows that this tension is seeping into the workplace and costing organizations millions.

How can we engage optimally with people, especially if they hold different perspectives, values, and beliefs… and sometimes seem to be on a “whole other planet?” In a fast-paced, reactive, and noisy world, listening and speaking the truth has become more complicated than ever. The quality of our conversations has never been more important. It is time to level up. Participants will leave with 5 practical skills to help them communicate and collaborate better with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

10:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Break: Networking with the Exhibitors

Sponsored by CPS HR Consulting

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Breakout Session Options

Let’s Invite Attention: It’s Time to Stop Flying Below the Radar and Tell Your District’s Story

Rachel Murphy, Contra Costa Water District
Ryder Todd Smith, Tripepi Smith

Developing a brand, marketing strategy and comprehensive communication plan is a wise investment to increase presence in the community and build trust. There are foundational steps needed to have an agency-wide brand platform to which marketing goals, objectives, and tactics are tied. Brand development for public agencies is foundational to raising awareness, increasing trust enhancing communications, and elevating connections with customers and key audiences.

Harnessing AI: Strategies for Productivity and Protection for Special Districts

Mac Clemmens, Streamline
Nick Clair, Lozano Smith, Attorneys at Law

In an era where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to transform the public sector, this presentation explores the transformative potential of AI for special districts. We delve into practical applications that promise to significantly boost productivity, from automating tasks for general managers and district staff to revolutionizing how districts do business. This session will highlight both the unprecedented opportunities and the legal and ethical challenges they present, such as data privacy, bias, and security risks. Attendees will come away equipped with actionable strategies to harness AI's potential responsibly while safeguarding against its pitfalls.

Stellar Public Sector Customer Service

Emanuela Tala, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

The session will cover an expansive myriad of pressing issues. The following issues: Public Sector Responsibility and Accountability; Public Sector Transparency; and Public Perception of Public Sector Employment.

  • Deep dives into the Public Sector Customer Service
  • Deep dives into the Public Service Standards of Conduct
  • Deep dives into the Implicit Bias.

12:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Closing Lunch: Special Districts Face an Existential Threat in CA as NSDC Works to Define Them in DC

Kyle Packham, CSDA
Aaron Avery, CSDA

Sponsored by California CLASS

2024 could be the most important year for advocacy yet, with a statewide ballot measure to revise the Constitution threatening severe, retroactive invalidation of special district revenue and rejection of local control over our essential services. Meanwhile, in Washington, the National Special Districts Coalition, of which CSDA is a founding member, is pressing forward with an effort to define special districts in federal law and ensure districts receive equitable access to federal grants. All that, and a run-down of the hottest bills and budget proposals facing special districts, including ERAF property tax shifts, development impact fee restrictions, Surplus Land Act guidelines, zero emissions vehicle mandates, labor laws, and more.