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Meet the Speaker: Denise Hutchinson of Arizona Public Service Company

Meet Denise Hutchinson of Arizona Public Service Company. She is presenting on Change Management Strategy and Results from APS’s Large CIS Implementation at the upcoming Change Management for Utilities Conference this September in San Diego.


Q: Name, title, company?
A: Denise Hutchinson, Manager OCM and Training – CIS Modernization at Arizona Public Service Company (APS).

Denise Hutchinson manages change and plans daughter’s wedding.

Q: Family, hometown, where you live?
A: I was born in Flagstaff, Arizona, and currently live in Glendale, Arizona (where I have lived for 22 years). Married 31 years, with a 26-year-old son who will complete his Doctorate in Physical Therapy in December at University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, CA, and a 23-year-old daughter, graduated from Northern Arizona University in May 2016 with a BS in Visual Communications (Graphic Design). She got married June 3, 2017 and lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Q: What is your utility management experience?
A: I have worked for APS for 35 years.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working? Hobbies?
A: Most recently, planning and preparing for my daughter’s wedding. Love antiques and decorating, reading, sun bathing (when time), and traveling.

Q: Where do you see Change Management in utilities in two years?
A: Awareness and recognition of the need for change management in utilities is growing. It will become more of a standard practice to have change management as part of most projects, in addition to corporate resources and strategies.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: Helping people understand the need for and the importance of change management, stressing the importance of both the practical and the emotional sides of change, and gaining acceptance that both need attention. Also, getting buy-in to the “pay me now or pay me later” concept that is true for both change management and training.

Q: What did you do prior to working in your current role?
A: Just prior to this role, I was managing an Employee Engagement and Workforce Optimization project for our VP Customer Services, Chief Customer Officer. This was a two-year project to analyze, develop and pilot some improvements. Prior to that I was the Customer Call Center Manager of our 275 seat Call Center. I managed the Call Center for 7 years.

Q: Who are a couple of your role models (and why)?
A: I had a lovely manager several times in my various roles at APS. She was a very classy, professional, and personable leader. She handled everything she did with grace, always dressed immaculately, and provided good direction. I have tried to emulate her behavior over the years.

Q: What is one of your biggest goals (in life or business)?
A: In both life and business, my goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of the people I am involved or associated with and the projects or processes I manage.

Q: What’s the biggest misconception you run into in your role (or what people seem to think about Change Management)?
A: In general, people do not clearly understand the need for or the importance of change management. They also have NO idea what it takes to manage change well or how much change impacts every aspect of a project or process. When change management is done well, it appears easy and there is no concept of all the big or little elements that contributed to that, or the effort that it takes.