By Anthony Capkun
October 26, 2016 – Held in June in Williamsburg, Va., the 63rd annual Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC) was “a success on all fronts,” say organizers.
“The comprehensive educational program, equipment exhibits and networking opportunities at EUFMC attracted 128 fleet executives from more than 70 investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and electrical contractors from the U.S. and Canada,” said Jack Abraham, EUFMC president and fleet manager at Nova Scotia Power.
“The unique atmosphere and value of this conference continues to generate interest among a growing number of fleets, including 42 first-time attendees this year,” Abraham added.
“Solutions for Managing a Progressive Fleet”—the 2016 EUFMC General Session—featured presentations by fleet executives, industry experts and suppliers. Eric Pike, chair & CEO of Pike Corp., kicked off the educational program as keynoter speaker. Pike is a supplier of engineering, construction and maintenance, and storm restoration services for the power and communications industry.
Pike discussed economic, technology and customer-related factors against the backdrop of covering disruptions in the utility industry.
“Power consumption is a challenge for utilities because, while there is customer growth, there is no load growth,” he said. “What we can do is focus on our core competencies and on adding—not just customer value—but on adding what the customer values… and the distribution fleet is integral to that effort.”
The 2016 EUFMC agenda also included fleet discussions on “Data Driven Progress”, “Connect, Optimize and Automate Telematics”, “Fleet Electrification” and “Workforce Technology”.
Presentations at the conference educational sessions also covered safety, limiting liability, a regulatory and legislative update, and climate change and weather extremes. Roundtables brought fleet executives and suppliers together to address common challenges by sharing best practices.
“Developing a Great Team” was the subject of NFL Legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Singletary’s address to EUFMC attendees. There are three characteristics of a great team, he noted, including ownership by people who own opportunities and share what to do to be successful, and workmanship as seen in a strong work ethic. Leadership, however, is what leads to great companies and organizations.
“Great leaders make decisions based on input from everyone, and they put the team first because they understand that those choices have consequences,” Singletary said. “Leaders challenge the right people and give them the tools they need. If you’re going to be a great leader, your challenge is to be courageous and to always give it your best.”
A hallmark of EUFMC is the support the conference receives from manufacturers and suppliers, and annual recognition of its sponsors. This year, EUFMC honoured one of its longest-standing vendor reps: Ron Norris, VP Strategic Accounts at Terex.
“Ronnie has been a fixture at EUFMC for 38 years,” said Abraham. “Using his vast knowledge of equipment and industry issues, he’s helped guide our educational program, as both a participant in planning meetings for the conference, and as a frequent presenter. At Terex, he is also deeply involved in activities that help foster better work practices and a safer working environment here in North America and around the globe. For us, his dedication to this conference is not only unparalleled in many ways; it’s something for which we can all be grateful.”
EUFMC also hosts an annual utility equipment demonstration featuring more than 60 educational and technical presentations by suppliers detailing the design features, specs, capabilities and benefits of their latest tech for electric utilities, while an equipment show is the site of over 60 displays. This year, 325 representatives from almost 100 companies—including three new exhibitors—attended the conference.
CLICK HERE for EUFMC 2016’s photos.
Save the date! The next Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC) is being held June 4-7, 2017.
— With files from EUFMC