As I write this I am at Dulles airport about to board a plane to Cape Town, SA, via Amsterdam. My flight was supposed to leave at this time yesterday, but airlines being what they are these days, my trip got screwed up and I had to leave today instead. The plus is that I got to spend the entire Mothers' Day with my girls and husband, and the minus is that I will miss a few things at the start of African Utility Week where Africa UTC is hosting an ICT track in partnership with AUW. Though I’m sorry to have missed part of the conference, I have to admit that I think the plus outweighed the minus in this situation. Given the intensity of last...

As I write this, I am five days past my one-year anniversary as UTC’s President and CEO, and five days out from the UTC annual conference, where I met many of you for the first time last year. I also recently completed my UTC “world-tour” by attending the U.S. Region 5 meeting in Bismarck, North Dakota, from April 18-21. As I reflect on the last year, I can sum up my experience in a few short phrases: great people are involved; there is a real need for UTC, especially as utilities transition into a more customer-interactive functionality; we must constantly, and on an ongoing basis, provide membership value; and we must create and maintain clear lines of communication. Here at UTC’s offices in D.C., we have...

For those of you familiar with Portuguese, you know that this word – obrigado – means “thank you.” For those, like me, who have had little to no exposure to the language, well, now you know one word in what is the official language of Portugal and Brazil – and Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Cape Verde, and Sao Tome and Principe (one country). As we all know from our elementary school history, the Portuguese were incredibly gifted navigators, sailors and explorers, producing Ferdinand Magellan, who completed the first voyage around the world, Vasco da Gama, who discovered an ocean route from Portugal to the East, Gaspar and Miguel Corte Real who explored Greenland and the coast of Newfoundland, Bartholomew Dias, who...

I’m writing this blog on March 30, in overcast, chilly D.C., as I prepare to head to Salvador, Brazil on April 1, to participate in the UTC America Latina (UTCAL) annual summit. I’m hoping that, when I return on April 8, the lamb will have made its appearance because I’ll be used to sunshine and warmth after a week in Brazil! As for the “lion” that can be said to symbolize the extremely active legislative and regulatory environment at the federal level, I think that lion will be roaring for a while… In my next blog, I’ll review the UTCAL summit, but for this one, I wanted to touch on my time at the Region 6 conference held in mid-March. Region 6 includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri,...

No, this will not be a blog about the NCAA tournament, especially since my alma mater, Vanderbilt, lost in a heart-breaker in the first round.  But, I got your attention, right?  Also, did I mention that my husband went to UK, so at least I can fall back on supporting one of the greatest college basketball programs of all time… This blog is somewhat aptly named because I have about five or six issues percolating in my head at the moment.  While I won’t touch on all of them today, I will tackle a couple.  First, the UTC Region 3 Spring Event in Chattanooga went incredibly well – about 200 attendees, with folks highly engaged throughout.TVA was the host utility and sent over several folks to...

It is February 28, and I am in the Atlanta airport en route to Chattanooga for the UTC Region 3 spring meeting. The weather has been so warm in the mid-Atlantic and South that thunderstorms are creeping in like it's April or May. Not that I am complaining (although complaining about the weather is kind of fun and could even be considered a national pastime) ...

It is February 8, and I am on the plane heading back to D.C. from Reno via Dallas. Reno, Nevada has been home to the (in)famous Utilities Telecom Forum (UTC Regions 8, 9, 10 combined) meeting ‎for lo these many years. It was my first time at the event and my first time staying in Reno. I had flown into the airport before and driven from there to the nearby Lake Tahoe, but that doesn't count.  No offense to Vegas, but if you like to gamble, Reno is a much prettier place to do it. Below is one of the pictures I took of the view from my room -- hopefully, you can see the snow-capped mountains in the background. The officers of Regions 8, 9,...

It’s January 23, and we are three days into the new Trump Administration.  Here in D.C., one result is that the monster traffic from road closures we experienced last week (or the just plain not being able to get to the office at all) has returned to plain old horrible traffic.  Woo hoo!  In all seriousness, as a long-time Washington-area resident, I was very relieved that there were no terrorist attacks or major upheavals during the inaugural festivities. I actually spent part of the week with several members of the UTC Foundation Board and UTC staff planning the inaugural event for the Foundation at the 2017 UTC Telecom and Technology in Charlotte (May 8-12).  Without getting too far ahead of the planning, we will be formally...

T’was the week after New Year’s, and my pants fit too tight! But with the sugar binge behind me and UTC’s spring events ahead, the future looks bright! I think that is all that I can muster in terms of rhyming prowess, so will now revert to good old prose. I named this blog post “transitions” because of the obvious transition from last year to this, but also because of the transition happening in the federal government at the moment and in the frenetic lead-up to the inauguration on January 20. As UTC transitions from 2016 to 2017, we are focused on implementing the “UTC Strategic Membership Plan” (which members can view on by logging into NetWorks); advocating for UTC’s policy priorities at the federal and (periodically)...

It’s December 15, and though I made some progress on my Christmas list, I think that I will always be a bit of a last-minute “Christmaser” – maybe because I like to extend the Christmas feeling to the very end. Whatever the cause, I am thankful for Amazon overnight delivery. Since the beginning of the month, we have been pretty busy at UTC (so maybe that is my real excuse for this year’s Christmas procrastination?). We are gearing up for 2017 by putting the finishing touches on the Q1 Journal, finalizing the Strategic Membership Plan (to be rolled out in January), ensuring that the schedule for the UTC Board meetings, regional meetings, and other UTC meetings are in place, and ramping up our preparations for the...

It is December 1, the holidays are soon upon us and I am not ready!  Matt Schnell, UTC’s Board Chair, informed me yesterday that he has two more presents to buy then he is done with all of his Christmas preparations.  Um, well…maybe since he’s going to have some extra time on his hands he can help me with my cookie making, present buying, tree put-upping, Christmas card writing-addressing-mailing, present wrapping, and cocktail drinking (on second thought, I can manage that last one on my own).  Just kidding, Matt, we’ll find more UTC work for you to do instead. On a more positive topic, I promised in my last blog to talk more about the UTC Board of Directors meeting and forward planning session that happened...

It is now November 19, and a lot has happened since I last wrote at the end of October.  The week of the federal elections, UTC’s Board of Directors met here in D.C.  The Board and several invited guests also met for a committee planning and project management discussion as well as to engage in “forward planning,” which is our version of strategic planning. Finally (because it wasn’t a busy enough week with just those things!), we held our Critical Infrastructure Communications Policy Summit to discuss the policies of the next Administration (pretty timely). During the Summit, a number of the UTC Board members snuck out to meet with the offices of several Members of Congress on the two key committees with jurisdiction over telecommunications...

It is October 28, and I am at the airport in Fort Wayne, Indiana, having just finished up the UTC Region 4 meeting. Besides being the last day of my "UTC fall conference tour" (10 meetings in eight weeks), it is also my youngest daughter's birthday and my husband's birthday.  My youngest turns five, and my husband 46. You can imagine what I have in store over the weekend, especially leading up to Halloween on Monday! I love this day for obvious reasons, but also because it kicks off the holiday season. It is pure coincidence that the UTC fall meetings end on this special day. In looking back over the few weeks since last I wrote, a lot has happened. I have attended Region 8's...

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It's now mid-October and I just finished attending the Region 8 (Rocky Mountain) Technical Conference. I started my job at UTC on April 26. Interestingly, my first trip with UTC was at the annual conference in early May, which was also in Denver. So, the Mile High City bookends, almost to the day, my first six months at UTC. Not sure what that means exactly, but I do know time has flown by and a lot has happened at UTC. While I will do a more in-depth review of what we have been up to in the blog following our November Board of Directors meeting, here is a little preview: developed and finalized the UTC FY 2017 budget drafted a strategic membership plan (to be...

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It is now September 25, and I am at Dulles airport outside of D.C. awaiting my flight to Frankfurt for the European UTC ("EUTC") annual meeting. Since I last wrote, I have been to Spokane, Washington for the U.S. Region 9 Technical Conference and to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the UTC Canada ("UTCC") annual conference. I am starting to live in that twilight zone of frequent travelers where it is hard to remember which day it is. ‎As an example, I viewed the reminder to an online birthday party invitation the morning after I returned from Toronto. It had some updates about "tomorrow's" birthday party. Since I was reading it on Saturday, I assumed "tomorrow" meant Sunday even though the date clearly stated September 24. Fast...