Hot topics in utility asset management: data, analytics, and user experience

What do you get when you combine a digital utility, a data scientist, a supplier, and a start-up? The answer is a really dynamic panel discussion that will help other utilities learn how they can improve their operations and better manage assets on their grids. That’s one of the takeaways from an interview with John McDonald, Asset Management Track Chair for DISTRIBUTECH International.

DISTRIBUTECH International, the annual event for distribution utilities and their partners, focuses on all of the latest trends and innovations in the electricity delivery space. The conference covers 12 different areas of the utility industry, which we call educational tracks – each offering 4 educational sessions. We asked each of our track chairs to tell us about the hot topics in their track right now.

Play the video below to hear what McDonald thinks will be important topics for discussion at DISTRIBUTECH 2021.

About John McDonald

John D. McDonald, P.E. is Smart Grid Business Development Leader for GE’s Grid Solutions business. John has 46 years of experience in the electric utility transmission and distribution industry. He received his BSEE and MSEE (Power Engineering) degrees from Purdue University, and an MBA (Finance) degree from the University of California-Berkeley.

John is Past President of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES), Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC) Board Member, VP for Technical Activities for the US National Committee (USNC) of CIGRE, Past Chair of the IEEE PES Substations Committee, and past IEEE Division VII Director on the IEEE Board of Directors.

John is on the Board of Directors of the GridWise Alliance, Vice Chair of the Texas A&M University Smart Grid Center Advisory Board, and member of the Purdue University Strategic Research Advisory Council.

In 2009, John received the Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award from Purdue University. An IEEE Life Fellow (member for 49 years), he was awarded the IEEE Millennium Medal in 2000, the IEEE PES Excellence in Power Distribution Engineering Award in 2002, the IEEE PES Substations Committee Distinguished Service Award in 2003, the IEEE PES Meritorious Service Award in 2015, the 2015 CIGRE Distinguished Member Award and the 2015 CIGRE USNC Attwood Associate Award.

John teaches a Smart Grid course at the Georgia Institute of Technology and for GE, and courses for various IEEE PES local chapters as an IEEE PES Distinguished Lecturer. John has published 150 papers and articles, co-authored five books and has one US patent.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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