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DistribuTECH Returns to the Big Easy

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2019 marks my 6th year serving on the advisory committee for the DistribuTECH conference and exhibition.   DistribuTECH remains the marquee event for utility professionals to attend, drawing more than 11,000 people annually.  In 2018, there were 316 utilities represented by 71 countries and well over 500 vendors.  With 100 million social media impressions and a 98% utility peer recommendation rate, you can see that it is clearly the place that you need to be to learn about new innovations in energy.

The advisory committee is comprised of executives, consultants and engineers from all sectors of the energy industry, including electric utilities, government agencies and the vendor community.  Members are selected based on their qualifications and involvement with the industry, which means you must earn your selection.    The purpose of the committee is to develop the conference program, which for this year is now called “the summit.” 

Groups of 5-8 people form track committees with each group lead by a chair.  This year I had the good fortune to be named as the chair for the Enterprise Grid Management track, a group I have been a member of for the last 4 years.  My nomination came from the former track chair, Otto Marquardt, who is in charge of Major Projects at WPS/Wisconsin Electric.  Otto and I share a long professional history, having worked together in Green Bay where we replaced a legacy in house outage management system with a COTS solution at Wisconsin Public Service.  So, it was quite the honor when Otto selected me as his successor. 

Each summer the committee reviews submitted abstracts and panel content that matches our charter.  Depending on the committee, this is typically about a hundred abstracts competing for a handful of paper or panel sessions slots.  Then we convene in person to build the track, which is where the fun really happens. 

The Enterprise Grid Management track charter is defined as:

This track focuses on leveraging technology, best practice business processes and centralized decision making to improve and enable real time decision making in power system operations. It offers a venue for the world’s utilities to share their experiences and gain new perspectives on the evolving power systems.  Topics include outage and distribution management, storm response and damage assessment, centralized distribution and transmission operation and distributed energy impacts to grid management. The emphasis of the track centers on improving grid operations through automation, monitoring, control and optimization.

This year our subcommittee decided that the best content would form 4 sessions; two panels and two paper sessions with three speakers in each.  I am extremely proud of our subcommittee on what they have recommended and assembled for our track.  It represents both large utilities, as well as mid-tier municipals and cooperative perspectives on grid management. 

Panel Sessions

Paper / Individual Sessions

So, as you prepare for your travel to New Orleans for February 5-7, I invite you to look at the session descriptions for the Enterprise Grid Management track.  If you are involved in distribution and transmission operations, this track promises to speak directly to you with insights from real world case studies and thought leadership strategies directly from your peers.  I fully expect to see continued growth from DistribuTECH this year and am eager to hear from each featured speaker and panelist across all the tracks, not to mention the many interactions in the exhibition hall.  After all, it is the people who make this event a tremendous success. 

I will see you in New Orleans!

Eric Charette's picture

Thank Eric for the Post!

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Steve Kerekes's picture
Steve Kerekes on Jan 7, 2019 8:53 pm GMT

Many folks headed to New Orleans will want to arrive in time to attend the Best Practices in Utility Cybersecurity conference set for Monday, Feb. 4. Same location; notable presenters. Details and registration links can be found here:

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