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Ok I’ll admit it—I love this time of year. I love how people come together, I love the fellowship, and I just love that the holidays seem to bring out the best in everyone. We always seem to be kinder, more patient, and loving to our families, friends, and neighbors during the holiday season. I wish we could bottle this feeling and make it last all year, but at least I know that once a year, we truly can all come together.

For me, December is extra special because my birthday is on Christmas day—December 25th. I get the same reactions every time I bring it up: people always wonder whether I feel slighted or upset that my birthday coincides with one of the biggest days of the year. And my answer is always the same: No! I am so grateful that my birthday is on Christmas! And its not like I get extra gifts or anything, it’s about the feelings that we all share together as family and friends. I wouldn’t change it if I could.

But I also know that the holidays can be a difficult time for many, for those who are away from home, estranged from their loved ones, or otherwise feeling alone. I do not take for granted that this is a special time for me and my family, but I also want to acknowledge that this time of year is not easy for everyone. Especially this year, with the coronavirus still dramatically shaping and changing our lives. It is no secret that thousands of families will be celebrating the holidays this year without a loved one, while many more will likely not be traveling to visit their families. I want anyone who is suffering this time of year to know that I see them and will keep them in my thoughts this year.

So as we close out 2020, I do want to make sure that I acknowledge the hard-working UTC staff, who have continued to produce at a high level despite all the challenges 2020 has thrown our way. And I also want to thank our members and leadership, particularly our Board of Directors and Executive Committee, for providing us with the guidance and leadership needed to keep the ship sailing in these rough waters.

I think we all know that 2020 has been a challenging year, from the pandemic to the ongoing struggles regarding diversity and inclusion. Our industry continues to be strong; you have not missed a beat in providing essential services to every person in this country. Few industries have the obligation and desire to serve the public like the utility industry. That’s what I love about this job and representing you—you provide service to everyone, everywhere.

As I have said before, at UTC, there is a spot for any and every utility. UTC represents all utilities—electric, water, and gas—and all ownership types, from the biggest investor-owned utilities to the smallest rural, customer-owned cooperative. No other utility industry organization casts such a wide and inclusive net.

This inclusiveness is what gives me hope. And as we look toward 2021, UTC will be focusing on these issues related to inclusiveness and diversity. The issues we care about impact every single person who receives electricity, water, and gas. Therefore we must make sure our utility and telecommunications policies are aligned, whether it is related to broadband deployment, bringing on new energy resources like storage, solar, and more, and securing our utility systems from natural disasters and physical/cyberattacks.

I look forward to working with you next year and beyond. I also hope you are able to get some rest and spend time with your families and loved ones over the next few weeks. And if you are feeling lonely or down, know that I see you and feel you too.

Happy holidays everyone! And thank you for everything you do.



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