I have been at UTC almost three years – my official start-date was April 26, 2016, but I realized it was approaching when I started to get comments on LinkedIn about my work anniversary. Not sure how it works on LinkedIn – maybe it’s your anniversary month? Regardless, it has been incredibly gratifying and fun to read the comments as I realized this milestone was approaching.
But three years, really? These first few years at UTC remind me of the first three years of my oldest daughter’s life – an amazing amount of growth and change coupled with figuring out an entirely new role all resulting in a strange combination of time flying while also seeming to stand still. Bizarre, but true. If you can indulge me, I will take a trip down memory lane to three years ago…
A week or so after I started in May of 2016, UTC hosted its annual conference in Denver. It was a bit of cognitive disconnect for me because the event was at the same hotel/conference center where APPA (my previous employer) has hosted their annual conference just a couple of years before. What I noticed right away was the positive energy from the members and vendors alike. Prior to my start date, UTC had recently restructured our standing committees and was implementing that change for the first time at the conference. This meant that the committee meetings on the Monday of the conference were not as well attended as they are now, though I’m glad to say that some of the meetings at last year’s conference in Palm Springs were standing room only!
I also recognized that Connie untimely and extremely sad death just six months before had, understandably, shaken up the UTC staff and the members. I realized that some would expect me to take up where Connie had left off. As I told the staff at the time, I was not going to try to fill Connie’s shoes because I thought that we had different shoe sizes.
Given my career in advocacy and association management, I have focused heavily in the last three years on elevating our advocacy presence in Washington and, where applicable and in a more targeted way, with the states. That has entailed hiring great people both internally and as consultants, shoring up our messaging and collateral, engaging with the media (social and traditional) and partnering heavily with our members’ D.C. offices as well as likeminded energy associations. We have made strides, but to effect the major change needed at the Federal Communications Commission and elsewhere, we have to be in it for the long haul.
My excellent team has also worked with the UTC Board of Directors to ensure our financial and operational integrity and enhance the content we are offering our members to ensure that all elements of utilities’ ICT issues are being represented – from telecom to IT/OT convergence, to cybersecurity, to workforce challenges to leveraging our infrastructure via wireless collocation, fiber leasing and even external broadband deployment.
Most important of all, in the last three years, we have worked to ensure that our members’ needs are front and center and that we can continue to provide them value far into the future.
The bottom line is this …UTC’s utility members are essential, and the people who engage with us on their behalf are incredibly smart, talented, passionate, kind, and fun (let’s not forget Top Golf, NASCAR museum, casino nights under the stars, and even the band!). It has been such an honor to represent you as President and CEO. Thank you for my first three years! Until we meet again…
My first Telecom & Technology Conference, May 2016! Here I am with current, past, former, and incoming UTC Chairs!