Demonstrating how electric cooperatives and their business members are embracing the future is at the heart of Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives' ever-popular NET Conference.

Conference tracks on forward-looking topics such as artificial intelligence, electric vehicles and serving unique loads are on the schedule for the 19th annual NET conference Feb. 11-13 in San Diego. Participants will also learn about revitalization efforts in rural downtowns and businesses and how co-ops can play a role.

"The 2019 program increases focus on community development, renewables and technologies that embrace the future and increase engagement with commercial and industrial members," said Josh McGhee, strategic communications manager at Touchstone Energy.

The interactive "Economic Development Workshop: Innovating Today for Tomorrow" on Feb. 11 will include presentations from national experts on attracting and retaining businesses on Main Street.

Other pre-conference workshops include a session for key accounts professionals and a roundtable conversation, "The Changing World of a National Energy Manager."

Highlights from the NET conference include:

  • Opening General Session, Feb. 11. Annie Duke, a national World Series of Poker champion and bestselling author, will discuss "Thinking in Bets: Making Decisions When You Don't Have All of the Facts." That day will also include conference breakouts on renewables, battery storage and artificial intelligence.

  • General Session II, Feb. 12. Harvard Business Review contributor David Burkus will speak on the value of cultivating contacts in "Friend of a Friend: Understanding Hidden Networks." Breakouts on innovative national energy managers, electric vehicles and serving unusual loads such as cryptocurrency and microbreweries also will be offered.

  • General Session III, Feb. 12. A panel of futurists will talk about being a pioneer in industry tech, energy innovation and consumer expectations.

  • General Session IV, Feb. 13. The closing keynoter will be elite marathoner Bob Bardwell, the founder of Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch, a retreat for wounded, returning soldiers. Bardwell was recognized by his community through Touchstone Energy's #WhoPowersYou contest.

Running throughout the conference will be several networking activities and the NET 2019 Expo, a showcase of cutting-edge energy solutions from sponsors.

More information, including registration details, is available on the NET 2019 website.