Winter Whirlwind

 

Since the beginning of December, UTC has been in full-blown end-of-the-year planning and preparation mode. We held a Board of Directors call last week in which our budget for calendar-year 2018 was approved, and a good deal of additional business was done, including approval of our new policy resolutions process that will be rolled out early in the year and will help us to discuss and approve UTC’s federal policies positions in a transparent and inclusive way. I’ve mentioned this process before – we began to develop it under the strategic membership plan passed by the Board this time last year. The Board last week also approved the inclusion of the UTC Foundation Board Chair as a non-voting, ex-officio member of the UTC Board, reviewed our draft work plan for 2018, and heard updates from the chairs of UTC’s committees, divisions and councils.

One major development that the Board also heard about is UTC bringing Tom Perry on as our first regional representative. Tom is a former chair of UTC, and a long-time Santee Cooper employee who will retire from that utility at the end of this month. His role as regional rep will entail coordinating with the 10 UTC regions and our Canadian utility members to ensure we are providing them optimum support and facilitating high levels of member engagement. He will also work with our Membership Division Chair, Matt Holthe of NPPD (and the entire division), and UTC Membership Manager, Tiffany Bennett (and other staff) to continue to build out opportunities to engage with potential new members and provide supporting collateral. Tom will be traveling to various regions this year, and can be reached at tom.perry@utc.org after the first of the year. I know Tom will be a great addition to the staff and will help us serve our membership in a more optimal way.

In the last couple of weeks, we also held a UTC staff retreat that focused on a “mutual accountability framework” and improving our team functions. The UTC staff then segued into our holiday party which, as usual, kicked off with a “Yankee Swap” of presents–a hilarious activity that you should add to your holiday festivities if you haven’t already. We also had an unofficial best-dressed winner, who is pictured here.

Also in this last 10 days, several of us went to a site visit in Palm Springs to preview the hotel and facilities for our Telecom & Technology 2018 event. It is a spectacular hotel where we will have an amazing time – book your travel and sign up early!

With Christmas just around the corner, we are now mostly in our offices helping plan and finalize the slew of spring UTC meetings, preparing to conduct employee evaluations, revamping some of our internal technology platforms (like our database) as well as sprucing up our external facing platforms like our website (utc.org) and NetWorks, our online networking platform, to provide better user experiences – among other things.

A few of us are or have been out and about interfacing with Capitol Hill folks and the agencies – we had a great meeting with Dave Redl, the new National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)Administrator, and are slated to meet with Rep. Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, next week to talk about our favorite topics – spectrum, pole attachment, and cybersecurity policies. Sharla Artz, UTC Vice President, Government Affairs, Policy and Cybersecurity, also headed to Atlanta this week for the NERC meeting to ensure we are plugged in where we need to be in order to help with those important processes. We’ll also be experiencing holiday cheer at the FERC holiday parties, the NERO holiday event and other festivities over the days leading up to Christmas—a welcome way to end a busy year.

The bottom line is, winter is coming, and whirlwind or not, we are here to help in 2018! Until we meet again…