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With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, so many families across the globe missing loved ones, civil unrest throughout our nation, families experiencing economic hardships, and so many other physical, mental, and emotional attacks there is no doubt that this year has been one of the most challenging in recent memory. As we reflect on the many unfortunate circumstances we faced in 2020, it makes this Thanksgiving season extremely special to me because I am an optimist.  My Great Grandmother, Nancy Wilson, was born in 1902 in Alabama and she shared many stories with me about facing difficult situations, but she always ended with what she called the “praise report.”  The praise report was simply her way to remind me that despite the challenges that she faced, there is always a reason to be thankful.

So in this spirit, here is my 2020 Praise Report.

I am thankful to the UTC membership and staff for overcoming so much this year in the midst of incredible turmoil and uncertainty. From start to finish, 2020 threw everything it could at this industry, and the electric utilities and their technology partners we represent met and surpassed each and every challenge.

I want to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for everyone involved in the UTC world, from our core utility and associate members, our hardworking staff, and anyone and everyone we’ve interacted with who may or may not be members.

I’m talking about all the groups who invited UTC officials to speak at various conferences and events, or all those who spoke at our virtual events this year. I’m referring to the industry and government associations we work with on a daily basis to advocate on behalf of our shared industry members. I’m referring to anyone who reads this blog, commented on any social media posts, and engages with us, even if from a distance.  I’m talking about our families.

I am especially thankful to our members. Clearly, without our members, we would not be here today. Our members not only provide us with leadership, but also with the expertise and training that are the hallmark of UTC. Our Executive Committee—Chairman Greg Angst, Vice Chairman Kevin Huff, and Secretary/Treasurer Paul Lambert—have worked tirelessly alongside our Board of Directors to give us the direction and stability that we needed all year long, from the beginning when UTC was without a full-time CEO to now, after we successfully transitioned our meetings from in-person to virtual in rapid time.

Indeed, our members weathered so many storms this year, both literal and figurative. From transitioning to a remote and socially distanced workforce to facing record-breaking natural disasters, this industry never blinked. Not only that, utilities are also becoming recognized for their role in connecting all Americans to broadband services, which has now become a national priority. It fills me with such pride to represent all of you as President and CEO of UTC.

And our technology partners and sponsors, whose financial support for our virtual meetings was so essential to our successes–We thank you for your ongoing commitment to UTC, and we look forward to working with you—in person, hopefully!—in 2021.

Finally, to the staff. I am incredibly grateful and humbled by the hardworking UTC staff, who have weathered the uncertainties of the early part of the year, to suddenly working from home and putting on numerous conferences and webinars and remaining actively engaged in vital advocacy efforts, all without missing a beat.

While I know our membership is UTC’s heart and soul, our staff is our engine. They have welcomed me as the new President and CEO with open arms, and I am so appreciative of their support.

So yes, even in a year as difficult as 2020, we have so much for which to be grateful. I hope everyone has the opportunity to slow down a bit over the holidays and safely visit with friends and family. Things will be different this year, but when it is all said and done, we will be more grateful for each other.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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