With more than 260 exhibitors in attendance, DistribuTECH 2000’s exhibit floor was a treasure trove of utility industry innovation.
DistribuTECH celebrated its 10th year as the electric utility industry’s leading information technology and transmission and distribution automation conference in grand style last month in Miami Beach. The conference and exhibition’s diamond anniversary edition turned out to be its most successful to date as a record number of exhibitors and a near-record number of attendees soaked up the sunny warmth of Miami Beach, the bright blue sky of which went unmarred by clouds until the conference’s final day. And even on that final day, despite the clouds, the weather was wonderful.
Nearly 4,300 utility industry participants gathered in south Florida to attend DistribuTECH 2000’s educational conference sessions on transmission and distribution automation practices, operations management, metering issues, GIS, e-business, customer relations and more. In the Miami Beach Convention Center’s exhibit halls B and C, 263 exhibitors displayed the best of the best leading-edge technologies for the evolving electric utility industry. The exhibition floor didn’t buzz with activity; it roared. Floor traffic was heavy, and much like a trip to the Smithsonian, there was too much to see in one day. Fortunately, the exhibition spanned three days.
After an enlightening round of pre-conference Utility University educational sessions, DistribuTECH 2000 officially began with an audio-video retrospective piece on the last decade’s advancements not only in the utility industry, but in the world as a whole. The retrospective video served as an introduction to the conference’s well-attended keynote session, which showcased views from Jan van Dokkum, president and CEO of Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution, Robin MacLaren, chief engineer at ScottishPower, motivational speaker Bob McConaughy of Savannah Change Partners, and Marty Mennes of Florida Power & Light, the host utility for DistribuTECH 2000.
Anyone caught between the Keynote Session room and the entrance to the exhibition hall when the Keynote ended can attest to the excitement surrounding the exhibition portion of DistribuTECH. It didn’t take long for floor traffic to peak when Hall C’s front door opened, and the traffic held its momentum throughout 15 hours of exhibition. Word from vendors on the floor was that traffic for this year’s DistribuTECH exhibition was the best in the show’s history.
The conference began its wind-down phase with Friday morning’s general session. Michael Burr, editor of Electric Light & Power, opened the session by presenting EL&P’s Utility of the Year award to Corbin McNeill, chairman, president and CEO of PECO Energy Co. McNeill accepted the award and addressed the needs of the electric utility industry to bring value to both their customers and shareholders. Following McNeill, James Rogers, Cinergy president and CEO, discussed the often glacial movement of regulated industries and encouraged those gathered to pick up the pace of change and operate more quickly, or in “dog years,” as he put it. Rogers pointed out that 2000 would be the first year of phenomenal change in the industry and that for the first time a significant amount of utility revenue would come from unregulated parts of the business. Curt H
DistribuTECH heads to the West Coast for its 2001 conference and exhibition. San Diego, with its constantly comfortable weather and beautiful sights and sounds, plays host to DistribuTECH 2001. By building on the strengths and shoring up the weaknesses from this 10th anniversary conference and exhibition, DistribuTECH is set to become better than ever in its second decade. That progress will be evident Feb 5-7 when everyone who’s anyone in the electric utility industry gathers in San Diego for DistribuTECH 2001. It’s less than a year away.
The presenters and managers of DistribuTECH 2000 would like to express their gratitude to the following sponsors for making our conference and exhibition a success. Without the continued assistance and support of these sponsors, the electric utility industry’s leading international conference on information technology, distribution automation, customer satisfaction and competitive business strategies would not be possible. Thank you, sponsors.
Itron, CES International, ABB Power T&D Co., GE Harris Energy Control Systems, Whisper Communications, Cadence, iMedeon, Lodestar Corp., Utility Consulting International, Compaq Computer Corp., Alstom ESCA.