Believe

Teresa Hansen, Editor in Chie

When you think of wise Americans from history who are still quoted today, Will Rogers and Mark Twain, or even FDR, might come to mind. For me, however, Lou Holtz is near the top of the list. I suspect one of the reasons I like him is because he coached the football team at my university when I was a student. At every pep rally, I saw firsthand how well he could motivate—not just his team, but the entire student body. It was almost impossible not to feel upbeat after listening to one of Lou’s speeches.

Recently, I ran across a list of some of Lou’s most well-known quotes or “thoughts of the day.” One that I particularly like is: “Progress requires this. You cannot steal second base and keep your foot on first. For every person who says you can do something, you’ll find 99 people who say you can’t. Don’t be discouraged by the 99; be encouraged by the one person who believes in you.”

There hasn’t been a lot of encouraging news coming from our industry, or any other for that matter. The “r word” continues to overshadow many projects, causing most people to be cautious about what lies ahead for our industry and others to be downright negative. While I think a cautious attitude is warranted in this economic environment, I believe there are some threads of encouraging news.

For this issue, Senior Editor Kathleen Davis interviewed Glenn English, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The interview uncovers some positive industry news. English says that of the 900 cooperatives serving 40 million people, at least half have installed some sort of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), and a good percentage of the cooperatives with AMI have plans to integrate those systems with other systems. English also says that cooperatives are adopting AMI at a much higher rate than investor-owned utilities. English speaks about other encouraging news in his interview, which you can read in its entirety beginning on page 16.

Also in this issue, Rick Nicholson of Energy Insights provides his top 10 predictions for the utility industry in 2009. Again, some of his predictions are positive. For example, he says the anticipated economic-stimulus package is likely to include subsidies for the build out of the smart grid. He predicts that intelligent grid subsidies included in the stimulus package will accelerate technology investment in the next five years and intelligent grid technology spending will reach $70 billion in 2013. Nicholson’s complete top 10 list is published on page 12.

While we need to remain cautious, I hope articles such as those I’ve mentioned will encourage you to let go of some of your fears and take Lou’s advice. Find encouragement from those who believe good things are ahead for our industry.

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