21 Jun 2022

2022 ECG Engineering & Operations Conference Highlights

The 2022 ECG Engineering and Operations (E&O) Conference was held June 8-10, 2022, at the Marriott Savannah Riverfront. The first ECG E&O Conference to be held since 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Despite the gap in hosting the conference, members and business partners still had excellent attendance and participation. It was good to see those we had not seen in a while and meet first-time attendees. Getting back to the “norm” of meeting with members, building relationships, and facilitating key relationships in a relaxed environment was very exciting and rewarding.

It was important to us to organize this year’s conference carefully with speakers that could address topics or situational needs relative to Public Power communities. In doing so, the day-in-a-half agenda allowed attendees to ask questions in an open forum, gather insight on supply chain issues, hear strategies on retention, and get solutions on electric vehicles that will benefit their communities, to name a few. Please see the Conference Program below if you missed the conference and would like an overview of the presentations.

The Conference Program

Dave Davlin, the keynote speaker, gave a riveting speech on “The Game-Winning 3 | Making it Count in Business and Life.” He engaged and entertained the audience with his exceptional basketball skills while giving a powerful message on gaining success in business and life through discovering your passion, plan, and purpose.

Next up was “The Cost of Doing Business Panel | Ensuring Proper System Reinvestment” Panel with Craig Faulk, Regional Manager of Kendall Vegetation Services, Fred Norris, Owner of Southeastern Wood Pole Inspectors (SWPI), Brian Thompson, Telecommunications Director, City of Monroe, as panel guests and Walter West, Sr. VP & COO, ECG as the facilitator. Attendees were able to acquire industry tips and tools to successfully operate and maintain their distribution system by capturing data and ensuring proper system reinvestment.

After a networking break, the conference continued with Brian Jaynes, ECG’s VP of Energy & Engineering Services acknowledging this year’s recipients of the the 2022 ECG System Improvement Award. This award was given to three ECG Communities; the City of Forsyth, the City of Lawrenceville, and the City of Palmetto. These utilities were recognized for the significant improvement in their electric utility infrastructure to acquire new electric loads and improve reliability.

Congratulations to the following 2022 ECG System Improvement Award Recipients:

Stephen Reynolds, GIS Engineer, ECG, spoke on “More Exceptions Than Rules | Territorial Act,” allowing ECG Members to discover the benefits of utilizing the territorial maps with the Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS allows you to capture, display, and make visible your territory for the benefit of economic growth.

Following the territorial act presentation were Emily Gaston, Associate Attorney, and Todd Stanton, Principal, and Senior Employment Counsel, both of Stanton Law LLC. Emily and Todd presented Broad Base Retention Strategies ” What’s Important in A Post-Covid Workplace.” This presentation engaged audience members to ask questions and give thoughts on various hiring and retention strategies scenarios in today’s new workplace.

For the first-time attendees, and any other attendees interested, Sabrina Milner, Director of Communications, presented the ECG 101, which gave a brief overview of the history and services of ECG. If you are interested in going through the ECG 101 in your community, please get in touch with Sabrina to schedule one for new employees, officials, or executive staff.

On Friday, June 10th, the program resumed with Ben Kessler, Manager of Public Policy at ChargePoint. Ben presented “Getting Plugged In | EC Infrastructure That Benefits Your Community and shared information on EV charging software and the data that showed where most charging takes place. The current trend shows 80/20, with EV owners charging 80% at home and 20% at public stations.

As we began to bring the conference to a close, it was important to address the numerous inquiries and unique situations we have received from ECG Members concerning large projects and the demand to supply resources. Georgia has seen several large electric projects over the past few years, which have affected the transmission system and influenced the power supply. So to do so, Ben Boucher, Manager of Transmission Planning and Services, and Roger Brand, Director of Bulk Power, both of MEAG Power, gave  “Updates on MEAG Transmission and Power Supply” issues. 

Walter West, Sr. VP & COO, and Chau Nguyen, Director of Analytical Services, followed by advising members on “Large Electric Loads and Cryptocurrency Projects | Best Practices.”  In this presentation, Walter and Chau gave the latest information and tips to keep utilities current when working with large electric loads and cryptocurrency projects.

ECG Analytical Services enhances its member’s competitive position with analytical tools and support by providing customized services to realize long-term growth.

The Vendor Expo & Networking Opportunities

The E&O Conference was strategically designed to allow attendees adequate time to network with peers, vendors, and ECG professionals. Enjoy the photo gallery below of pictures taken during the Vendor Expo and Networking Breaks.