R. John Miner, P.E.

President & Principal Consultant /
Course Instructor

John Miner is an accomplished executive manager, engineer, educator and consultant with over 45 years of experience in the utility industry. He is President and owner of Collaboration Unlimited and Collaborative Learning, Inc. since 1995 and has worked as a management consultant since 1987, providing services to clients in the electric, water, wastewater and communications utility industries.  He lives and works out of Austin, Texas and Cedar, Michigan.

John consults with utilities throughout the United States in a wide range of areas related to business strategy, governance, performance management, organizational development, and technical operations.  He is nationally known and respected for his subject area knowledge of utility enterprises and his skills as a consultant and facilitator.  John is often called on to organize and lead governing board and executive management retreats as well as guide management and employee work teams and interventions aimed at resolving specific performance problems.  John works with governing boards on policy and strategy development, executive recruitment and executive evaluation.  He has also conducted numerous organizational and management reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of and recommend changes to existing organizational structures, work processes and practices, and support facilities and equipment.  John has delivered management and technical education programs for organizations throughout the U.S. and in six overseas locations.

John has served as Chief Operating Officer for the Austin, Texas, Electric Utility Department, as General Manager of the Rochester, Minnesota Public Utilities, and as Senior Engineer/Project Manager for the Toledo Edison Company. His academic experience includes an appointment as Assistant Professor on the faculty of the University of Houston’s College of Technology.

John received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with honors and master’s degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toledo.  He is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa NU honorary engineering societies, and is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Texas and Minnesota.  John is a Senior Life Member in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

M. Thomas Black, P.E.

Management Consultant / Course Instructor

Tom Black
is an accomplished executive manager, engineer, educator and consultant with over 30 years of experience in the utility industry.

Tom is an independent consultant and course instructor in the electric and gas utility industry.  His experience includes both municipal (Colorado Springs and City of Fountain, CO) and Investor owned (Progress Energy) utilities across multiple jurisdictions in Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.  His range of experience in the utility industry covers 30 years and includes planning and engineering, standards, Construction and Maintenance Manager, Energy Delivery General Manager and Chief Energy Officer responsible for all aspects of energy supply, electric transmission and distribution and gas distribution.

Tom has extensive executive level experience in managing electric and gas utility systems.  He managed system operations and distribution operations for several multi-utility providers including both gas and electric services.  System responsibilities include gas pipeline safety, energy management (EMS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), outage management (OMS), field-related outage response and the planning and implementation of a SMART Grid system. 

Tom has significant utility experience in the development of tracking and reporting electric and gas system performance metrics. Results were used in the development of targeted maintenance and replacement programs intended to improve system performance and manage overall costs. As the Energy Delivery General Manager, Mr. Black was responsible for the development of Colorado Springs Utilities first NERC compliance program. 

Tom has served on the boards of RMEL and the Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities CAMU and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He received his bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis with honors and is a registered professional engineer in Colorado and Arizona.

Tom DeBell, P.E.

Executive Consultant / Course Instructor

Tom DeBell is an independent consultant who works with Collaboration Unlimited-Collaborative Learning as a management/leadership consultant, instructor/ facilitator and coach. He recently completed a successful 34-year tenure in the public utility sector, primarily at Riviera Utilities in Foley, Alabama. Transitioning from this career in November 2023, Tom embarked on a new journey as the founder of an executive and leadership coaching enterprise.

Throughout his tenure at Riviera Utilities, Tom held various pivotal roles, including engineer, senior manager, and ultimately, President/CEO. Leading a team dedicated to serving 55,000 electric, gas, water, wastewater, and broadband/CATV customers in Southwest Alabama, Tom saw the successful implementation of a comprehensive customer information system (CIS) overhaul, revolutionizing crucial aspects such as financial/inventory systems, customer billing systems, and operational work order systems.

Tom's influence extended beyond Riviera Utilities as he dedicated nine years to the Board of the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA), the full-requirements power provider for Riviera Utilities. During his tenure, AMEA secured pivotal new power supply contracts, including a significant utility-scale solar development, diversifying its electric portfolio.

Tom's commitment to community and economic development is exemplified by his tenure and chairmanship on the boards of Electric Cities of Alabama, the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, and the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, situated in one of Alabama's fastest-growing regions.

Diane C. Johnson

Executive Consultant / Course Instructor

Diane Johnson is a respected leader in the utility and non-profit arenas, with thirty years of combined utility, human resources, health care and executive experience.  She maintains an active consultancy through her company IMMERGE Consulting & Executive Services, LLC. that she started because of her belief that extraordinary outcomes only develop when we openly and actively collaborate toward goals.  Her work includes leadership coaching and advising with a focus on woman executives along with non-profit boards and their members.  Diane lives and works out of Ogden Utah, and upstate New York.

Diane served as CEO for Yampa Valley Electric Association, Waverly Utilities, and executive at Colorado Springs Utilities.  Her technical expertise is complimented by her many years of work in the areas of Human Resources and workforce development/strategy.  Prior to her leadership in the utility industry, Diane also worked in manufacturing, healthcare, and non-profit services.

Her combination of experience and skills is unique, with strong hands-on and exec HR expertise grounded by many years as an executive, overseeing utility organizations and a home health care company.  Her work includes leading human resources, training & development, strategy, marketing, rates, operations, power supply, customer service, and all facets of these companies.  She is most fulfilled when working to support, motivate and develop the people who make the business succeed.

Diane is passionate about being a change catalyst with companies or people who want to define and achieve excellence.  Her work includes course instructor, utility & HR advisor, interim executive, leadership/executive coach, facilitator, and strategic planning expert.   

Diane specializes in not-for-profit companies, including cooperative & municipal utilities.  She holds a degree in Organizational Communication from the University of Colorado.  

Elizabeth L. (Betsy) Aylin,

Executive Management Consultant /
Course Instructor

Dr. Betsy Aylin
is an experienced executive and organization consultant with deep expertise in organization effectiveness and leadership development through experience in a broad array of industries, including more than 20 years work with utilities.

Betsy has over 25 years domestic and international experience working with organizations on strategic and business planning, organization change, leadership and management development, and building human resource capabilities.  She specializes in helping leaders set direction, build strong work teams, and drive results. Betsy provides coaching and consultation on such organizational issues as structure, culture change, succession planning, workforce planning, leadership and management development, and performance improvement.  She has designed and facilitated corporate strategic and business planning processes and a range of leadership and management development programs for domestic and international audiences.

Betsy has worked in the public utility and high tech industries as both an internal and as an external consultant. She has served as the senior HR executive at an international high tech company, as a Sr. OD specialist for a fortune 500 high tech company, as the Director of Organization and Management Development for an international utility consulting company, and as Organization Development and Training Manager for a public utility. 

Her client list includes a number of public utilities, such as those in Tuskegee (AL), Glendale (CA), Holland (MI), Muscatine (IO), and the Pedernales Electric Cooperative.  As a consultant with Resource Management International (now Navigant, Inc.), Betsy worked with utilities in the US, Egypt, Philippines, Russia, and Africa.  Other industries and clients include Zarllink Semi-conductor, Architectural Engineers Collaborative, Right Management International, Central Texas Highway Constructors, and Baker Hughes International.  Betsy has also worked with non-profit organizations such as Capital Area Food Bank and Salvation Army.  

Betsy holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas-Austin, an MA from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, and a BA from Randolph Macon Woman’s College (now Macon College).   She has
served as an adjunct faculty for a graduate program in the College of Business at the University of Texas-Austin, and in the Masters in Leadership and Ethics program at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas.  Betsy is a member of the Austin OD Network, Society for Human Resource Development, and other professional associations.  She has presentations, papers, and workshops on employee turnover, time to market, professional development, training design, and leadership.

Andrew (Andy) Boatright, P.E.
Management Consultant / Course Instructor

Andrew has been a passionate supporter of public power throughout his approximately 37 years of service in various leadership roles at small, medium, and large public power utilities.

Andy currently serves as the General Manager of the Zeeland (Michigan) Board of Public Works, a municipally-owned electric and water utility serving 6,600 electric and 2,800 water customers. His past experience includes serving as Deputy Director for the City of Independence (Missouri) Power & Light, a public power utility that serves 57,000 customers, and Electric Utility Manager for the City of Westerville (Ohio) Electric Division, a public power utility serving 16,000 customers. He has also held leadership positions at Richmond (Indiana) Power & Light and at the City of Rensselaer (Indiana).

He is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Otterbein University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer.

Andy has served on various American Public Power Association (APPA) committees as well as the Demonstration of Energy and Efficiency Developments (DEED) Board of Directors. He served on the Executive Committee of the APPA Board of Directors from 2011 to 2018, and was APPA Board Chair in 2016-2017. Andrew has also served as President of the Ohio Energy Project Board of Directors, a not-for-profit organization specializing in energy education in school districts throughout Ohio, and as the utility representative on the Boards of Directors/Commissioners of Michigan Public Power Agency, American Municipal Power, Inc., and the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, all of which are joint action agencies for public power utilities in Michigan, Ohio (and other states), and Missouri, respectively.

He is married to Eileen, his wife of 35 years, and they have three children – Sarah (New York, NY), Karl (Chapel Hill, NC), and Leah (New York, NY).

Ted Dimberio, P.E.

Executive Consultant / Course Instructor

Ted Dimberio, P.E. has 40 years of experience in distribution line design and has worked for rural electric cooperatives and consulting firms. He is currently a private business owner,
 President and CFO of Utility Line Design and President of Line Design University.

Ted has worked in all capacities of distribution line design that includes field staking, supervision, management, and consulting. Ted has a vision to enhance distribution line design by incorporating engineering software, best practice and engineering ethics.

Ted has been an industry leader in developing engineering software for electric distribution utilities that auto-generates profile drawings and required line design calculations to verify and document engineering decisions, and provide long-term engineering documentation. Ted keeps abreast with the engineering trends by maintaining close contact with numerous state engineering boards, the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors and the National Society of Professional Engineers.

Ted received his civil and structural engineering education from Mesabi State Junior College and the University of Minnesota, and is a licensed professional engineer in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Erich F. Schoennagel, P.E.

Executive Consultant / Course Instructor

Erich Schoennagel is an experienced engineer and manager with over 38 years in the electric utility industry.

Erich is a retired manager and engineer with CenterPoint Energy.  He managed the Transmission Project Engineering group, which served the company’s needs for transmission system design, substation and telecom site improvement, and civil engineering for transmission, substation, distribution, and telecom structures.

Erich began his utility career in 1977 as a co-op student with Houston Lighting & Power, where he gained exposure to power generation, fuel procurement, and civil engineering support.  Upon graduation in 1980 from Texas A&M University, he joined Houston Lighting & Power in the Civil Engineering group, where he designed structures and foundations for transmission, substation, distribution, and telecom projects.  In 1988, Erich joined the Fossil Plant Engineering group where he designed civil engineering projects for the generation assets of the company, while continuing to support the projects of the power delivery system.  He transferred to the Transmission Engineering group in 1996, where he designed upgrades and new lines for the overhead and underground transmission system. The group was later included in the consolidation of the regulated assets to become CenterPoint Energy.

Erich served for fifteen years as a member advisor and later, chairman of the Underground Transmission Task Force for the Electric Power Research Institute until his retirement from CenterPoint Energy.  There he directed research related to underground transmission and superconductivity.  He was a board member of the annual TSDOS symposium, and a former member of the American Concrete Institute 336 committee related to foundation design and construction.

Jillian S. Wolfe

Vice President,
Education and Development Consultant

Jillian Wolfe
 is an accomplished educator and human development professional with 15 years of diverse experience in management and public education. She is currently Executive Director of the Association for Utility Line Design Professionals

Jillian Wolfe brings 15 years of diverse experience to Collaborative Learning/Collaboration Unlimited. She graduated with her Masters Degree in Human Development with a California Teaching Credential from Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena California, and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Learning and Development from The University of Texas at Austin. She has been an Educator, Trainer, and Recruiter working in the fields of public education and high-tech.

She began her career working as an Operations Manager and Recruiter for a consulting firm within the high-tech industry. Her primary focus was recruiting mid-level candidates for various opportunities within the personal computer, communications, semiconductor, software and capital equipment industries. She managed a team of recruiters and multiple retained-search projects, consistently meeting or exceeding her sales and business development goals. She facilitated the growth of the firm’s candidate database and assisted in acquiring new projects with start-up companies and the Venture Capital firms who funded them.

Jillian then shifted her career aspirations and began pursuing a teaching position within the field of public education. She taught in the inner city as a classroom teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District for 10 years. Her primary focus was on meeting student needs through the integration of technology and standards-based instruction framework, while implementing constructivist methodology. She utilized multi-lingual instructional strategies and focused on differentiation for gifted and special needs students. She completed training with the Buck Institute on Education for Project-Based Learning, and attended training and conferences for Gifted Learners. She became a Master Teacher, trained and mentored student teachers and teacher’s aides, and managed teams of volunteers. She was a member of the Technology Council, served as a member of the School-Site Council and held the position of grade-level Chair for multiple years. She also assisted her school in the accreditation process to attain exemplary status for the State of California. She helped adopt and write the school-wide homework policy after having completed her Master’s thesis on the subject of homework practices in elementary education.

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