10 Dec 2021

ECG Annual Meeting Built Bridges

The 2021 ECG Annual Meeting held December 6-7 at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, was one for the books. This was the first Annual Meeting we hosted since the Pandemic. Attendees raved throughout the two days about the insightful and inspiring content the keynote speaker, business partners, and ECG experts provided. The attendance was record-breaking, with more than 30 Members, several business partners, and guests present.

State of the Organization

John Giles, ECG President & CEO, opened with the State of the Organization Address that boasted of the 2021 achievements of ECG. Despite weathering the unprecedented times of COVID-19, business closings, hybrid work schedules of members, and having to adjust our business model to accommodate all employees working 100% remotely, ECG employees pushed past the circumstances and achieved the goals at hand. To date, we have the highest number of elective services by ECG Members in its history. Here are a few of the highlighted achievements John talked about: 

  • ECG acquired 11 acres of land in an Industrial Park in Newnan to develop of a state-of-the-art ECG Training Facility. 
  • ECG expanded its customer territory by gaining eight Alabama Public Power Communities with electives for various ECG services.
  • ECG strategically added an employee to focus on local Community Development and support the existing Retail Development efforts already in place.
  • ECG joined in a public /private relationship with Walmart and ECG Members by participating in the MEAG Power Solar Initiative.
  • ECG strengthened internal cross-functional communication by implementing an ECG intranet. 

In monitoring our member’s load growth and witnessing the year-to-date gain for the majority, it is evident that ECG employees have been and will continue to be boots on the ground. We are thriving as strong as ever, providing more services with the same number of employees, meeting goals, and becoming a household name as an expert resource. We deliver cost-effective professional resources, facilitate key relationships, and provide educational opportunities to enhance the quality of life for our stakeholders—priding ourselves on partnership. 

The Meeting and Presentations

Dr. Tim Elmore was the Keynote Speaker and grabbed the audience’s undivided attention with a prescription for the difficulties of managing and working with a diverse generational group in the workplace. Today’s work environment is the most diverse it’s ever been, with a more significant generational gap than ever before. However, Dr. Tim left the attendees with hope and a newfound perspective on building a bridge to a better working environment through social and emotional skills.

Next up on the agenda was the educational platform on Smart Grid Resiliency: Federal Funding and Future Proofing Your Utility for Whatever Comes Next presented by Mike Julian, Tantalus, CFO; and Perry Adair, Becker & Poliakoff, Attorney at Law. Both speakers gave a look into the opportunities of utilities advancing their system infrastructure while acquiring federal funding to do it. Additionally, ECG has taken the initiative to build a bridge with Becker & Poliakoff and ECG Members to assist with the applications required to attain funding. For more information, contact John Giles.

After lunch, the meeting continued with Cryptocurrency: Lessons Learned & What You Need To Know with Walter West, ECG, SVP & COO facilitating a panel that consisted of ECG Members, Jerry deBin, Washington, City Manager and Dave Hamilton, LaFayette, City Manager. Jerry and Mark shared their experiences with their current Cryptocurrency customers and what they have learned in lessening the risks associated with such customers, what’s negotiable and what’s not all while safeguarding the utility and community.

The ECG Roundtable facilitated by John Giles and Jay Bartlett, Lagrange, Electric Director, and ECG Chairman stirred discussions and gave insights on industry topics. The informal setting allowed members to openly discuss concerns, ask questions, and hear what others are doing. Immediately following the roundtable was the ECG 101 for new attendees or those that wanted to become more abreast of ECG services and Executives.

Gerry Kinney, an inspirational speaker, gave a Not Just Another Day speech about the life lessons learned through safety or the lack thereof to start the next and final day of the meeting. Gerry warmed attendees’ hearts as he gave riveting stories on the day-to-day challenges of the life-changing day that left him without two hands. There was laughter, tears, and empowerment from hearing and seeing how one decision can change your life and those around you. We all walked away knowing it’s not what happens to you; it’s how you frame it.

Before the meeting came to a close, Carter Manucy, FMPA, IT/OT & Cybersecurity Director, gave a presentation on Cybersecurity for Utilities. As the landscape for cybersecurity continues to grow with smaller utilities joining the grid, renewables adding more challenges, and technology changing, Carter gave tips on an action plan to tighten network security. He provided information on tools and resources available from cybersecurity agencies and talked about funding and grant opportunities.

The ECG Annual Meeting concluded with a vital ECG Member presentation and message on Reimagining Economic Development by Daryl Ingram, ECG, SVP& Chief External Officer. Daryl started by sharing that utility enterprise communities play an essential role in Economic and Community Development because utility demand follows the creation of jobs and capital investment. He presented the 21st Century Economic Development Model and explained every enterprise has a role, but the alignment of those single efforts into the overall system becomes a challenge for many. The presentation concluded with a look into national and state trends.

Bridges Built

The Annual Meeting agenda strategically provided time for Members and Business Partners to network and enjoy the beautiful facilities and amenities of The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. The meeting content was the bridge that gave attendees insight, resources, and direction to a better future for their communities. We are confident that the wealth of knowledge gained at this Annual Meeting will prove invaluable. Until next year, we will continue to strengthen our cords, build relationships and assist our members in becoming a force to be reckoned with.