–Sheryl Riggs, Interim President and CEO
I’m an optimist by nature. No matter how bad the news gets, I believe there’s a silver lining and opportunity behind it. We just have to look.
And in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that this pandemic is testing me. I come from New York City and still have family there, so I know firsthand what’s happening up there related to the pandemic. And working and living in the Washington area, another hard-hit location, we see reminders of the pandemic everywhere we look.
But as bad as it gets, I’m still hopeful. I’m encouraged by the incredibly hard working and dedicated team at UTC. I can’t say enough about the incredible work and effort our team puts forth each day. We’ve all had to make some sacrifices over the last few months, and as difficult and frustrating as the news can get, our staff continues to produce and find new and innovative ways to serve our members.
Of course, it goes without saying how inspired I am by our members—the utilities and technology providers who enable our lives to go on without interruption. Our core utility members have kept the lights on and the gas and water flowing. They’ve restored services after bad storms, and they are prepping for what might be an active storm season, all while implementing new pandemic-related structures to keep their crews and customers safe.
This is not surprising in our industry; after all, our utilities have trained for these kinds of events for years. Utilities and our government partners perform all kinds of scenario training through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. We adapt. We learn. We train. And we go forth and do.
As a number of our states and regions began to loosen restrictions, I think it is appropriate to start talking about adapting and where we go from here. How much will this pandemic impact our work? Our meetings? Our advocacy efforts? Our ability to educate?
As you hopefully know, UTC recently announced that our Annual Telecom & Technology Conference will be held virtually later this summer, from Aug. 31-Sept. 4. Our Meetings Department is hard at work putting the final details in place and we will be rolling out more information in the coming weeks. While we expect to hold in-person meetings in the near future, we also realize that this pandemic may leave a lasting mark and force all of us to get creative about our educational offerings.
And because I’m an optimistic, I see the opportunities here. It can be difficult for utilities and others to send dozens of staff to conferences all over the country. So a virtual event offers us the chance to bring our content to more members and, hopefully, attract some new ones too.
We hope you can join us for our virtual annual conference in a few months. The technology may be new to a few of us, but by the time we roll this out, we’ll be pros.
So while this pandemic is far from over, we do see hopeful signs that a recovery is coming. For our members, UTC stands ready as ever to be the resource you count on for utility telecommunications needs. The way we deliver our advocacy, content, and information might change, but the quality will be as strong as ever.
Thank you again for all you are doing to keep us powered. Stay safe.