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. ...

It’s official; I am now a wearer of eyeglasses. En route from UTC’s Region 6 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma) to the UTC America Latina event in Rio de Janeiro, I popped into Duty Free and bought some “readers” so I could actually read on the plane. ...

As I sit in DFW airport and my flight keeps getting delayed by half hour increments, I am experiencing what many travelers do when faced with this rope-a-dope — initial mild annoyance that has turned into frustration and, then, finally, grudging acceptance that I have no control over the situation and might as well roll with the punches....

Having written this blog for more than two years, I realize that I might be covering the same topics more than once. I’m also learning what really gets attention in the “blogosphere” – pictures of dogs, particularly those of real cute ones like my dog Taylor. Therefore, for this blog, I will attempt to combine the two by focusing on the need for, and importance of, partnerships....

My name is Joy and I have never worked from home.  There, I said it.  Well, while I have worked from home on a random basis when snowed in or awaiting the delivery person or when one of my kids is sick, I’ve never really done it for real.  Until now, that is…...

Without taking a position on the reasoning behind the partial government shutdown, it is an unusual time in Washington (and I have been here 26 years so have experienced many unusual and some horrific events – several government shutdowns...

In looking through my past blogs, I noticed I have not yet written about the perennial issue of New Year’s resolutions. Alas…sometimes I think New Year’s Day should be dubbed Ground Hog’s Day instead because of the many years where my resolutions are identical to those of the year before. Lose 10 pounds, stop eating sugar, keep in better touch with my old friends, be more patient…with everyone....

12/8/18 This is a very busy time for all of us here at UTC – budgeting for 2019, developing our 2019 work plan to implement the first year of our new strategic plan, having our annual staff retreat, having our holiday party, going to other organizations’ holiday parties, planning for our spring set of meetings, focusing on two key advocacy efforts – 6 GHz and resilience/storm restoration issues, and moving offices! Yes, we’re moving from our D.C. office to an office in Crystal City (Arlington), Virginia. The new location is right next to Reagan National Airport and close to the Pentagon.  It also happens to be one of two new locations for Amazon’s expanded headquarters.  Luckily, our lease negotiations began before that announcement was made, which...

11/14/18 I am traveling this week – first to Orlando for the NASUCA (National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates) and NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners) meetings then to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, for UTC’s Industrial Internet of Things Workshop.  We’ve worked with the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) to dovetail our workshop with one of their meetings and look forward to this opportunity to work more closely with them. I do not look forward to the 60-degree temperature fluctuation from Orlando to Ottawa, but I’ll be inside most of the time, right? Just before I left on Veterans Day Sunday (thank you to all veterans – including our own Karnel Thomas of UTC, my dad and brother), I requested that my horse, Ginny, be moved to...

11/2/18 As I have been reading about the race to 5G and the push by the telecom carriers to access utility and other poles as expeditiously as possible to win the global race -- all supposedly for the greater good of the country while providing broadband to rural America and winning the “Infinity War” of all things that could ever relate to technology, I thought to myself…hmmm.  And then I remembered the song, “Things That Make You Go….Hmmm” by C+C Music Factory, released in 1991.  Apparently, this song was an homage to a skit from the Arsenio Hall Show.  But I digress, and I am dating myself… I guess what makes me go hmmm about the race to 5G (and all of its as yet unfulfilled promises)...

10/15/18 In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gone from spending a few days in the heartland of the country (Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where UTC’s Region 5 meeting was held) to being back in D.C. testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Two very different, seemingly disconnected, locations. But the Region 5 meeting couldn’t have been better preparation – and a literal and figurative shot in the arm (more on that in a bit) – for my testimony the following week. Region 5, which includes the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and with the expansion of the U.S. northern tier regions into Canada, the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, has long been an engaged group that holds a robust annual meeting. This year, the region's leadership...

I’m writing this blog on a plane to Malmö, Sweden, for the European UTC’s (EUTC) conference. It’s the first time I’ve been to a Scandinavian country and, I am ashamed to admit...

9/14/18  As I have watched the news accounts about Hurricane Florence moving into the Southeastern coastline this week, along with the alerts from our government partners (DOE, DHS) and electric sector colleagues (EEI, APPA, NRECA, and others involved in the Electric Subsector Coordinating Council), I have been reminded of the crucial nature of electricity and the high levels of dedication required of all utility personnel.    [caption id="attachment_18731880" align="alignright" width="293"] Crews Ready to Respond[/caption] By multiple accounts, at least 40,000 utility workers have been mobilized to help the Carolinas and Georgia in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.  These workers may be away from their families for days or weeks, depending on the severity of the storm.  Workers in other industries travel and spend time away from loved ones as well, but I can only think of a few that also require workers to perform highly technical tasks in often dangerous environments. ...

8/31/18 This week, we have all heard many things about the life of Senator John McCain and why the entire nation is mourning his death. I have a personal reason to do so – my stepfather, Captain Gerald (Jerry) Coffee, USN (Ret.) was a POW with him in Vietnam, and actually shared a cell with Senator McCain for part of that time. My father, Colonel John Ditto, USMC (Dec.), also was a contemporary of Senator McCain and they knew each other early on in their careers. When I came to Washington, D.C., in 1993 just after graduation from college and essentially jobless (although I had lined up a job waiting tables), my first stop was Senator McCain’s office. Of all of the places I had sent letters...

8/16/18 It is summertime, and while for some, summertime means basking in the sun at the beach or baking in the sun at swim meets, or, in the case of D.C. this year, getting rained on but still being hot, for others it means baseball…and more baseball. We have a couple of people on staff who-must-not-be-named, but what the heck, I’ll name them anyway – Sharla Artz and Rob Thormeyer – who are obsessed with baseball, and particularly with the Washington Nationals. Having lived in the D.C. area for about 25 years, I vividly remember many years sans Nationals Park when we had to trek up to Baltimore to catch a game, so even though my baseball fandom is comparatively minor vis-à-vis that of Sharla and...