The Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Fla., will host Utility University Feb. 28-29 and DistribuTECH 2000 March 1-3.
When DistribuTECH 2000 hits Miami Beach in late February/ early March, it will mark the 10th anniversary of the utility industry’s leading conference on information technology, distribution automation, competitive business strategies and customer satisfaction. This year’s conference is a must-attend event for industry participants, whether they are 10-year DistribuTECH veterans or first-year attendees. “I’ve been coming to DistribuTECH for as long as there’s been a DistribuTECH,” said Bill Lemon, ConneXt Inc. senior marketing manager. “The show has always been a high point of the year and is really on the leading edge for activities in the utility industry.”
Nearly 250 exhibitors will display their wares on the DistribuTECH 2000 exhibit floor.
Attendees will have no trouble finding worthwhile activities among DistribuTECH’s many offerings-from the educational pre-conference Utility University workshops to the informative keynote speeches and session tracks to the tour of facilities at Florida Power & Light that ends the conference. On the exhibit floor, nearly 250 exhibitors will set up shop to display the products, services and emerging technologies that are vital to 21st century utilities. In addition, several new features have been added to this year’s conference, which promises to be among the most memorable in DistribuTECH’s decade-long existence.
The actual DistribuTECH conference begins March 1 and continues through March 3, but attendees are encouraged to arrive early so they can take advantage of the pre-conference Utility University, which takes place Feb. 28-29. Utility University is a comprehensive two-day learning experience featuring the industry’s most informative and innovative views on AMR technologies, substation automation, the Internet, call centers, work management systems and much more. Besides the nine full-day seminars, this year for the first time Utility University features four half-day workshops covering the future of wireless technology, retaining metering as a regulated function, customer information services, and creating brand equity through bundled products and services. Attendees will be glad they arrived early in Miami Beach, and so will their home offices when they come back and share all they learned at DistribuTECH’s Utility University.
Keynotes Focus on Change
For nine years, DistribuTECH has showcased energizing keynote speakers, and the conference’s 10th year will be no different. It’s difficult to enter into a conversation about the current utility environment without discussing the rapid changes taking place as a result of deregulation, increasing dependence on information technology , mergers and mega-mergers. Discounting the belief that there’s nothing new under the sun, this year’s keynote speakers are well-equipped to shed new light on the often-broached topic of change in the utility industry.
In fact, Bob McConaughy will base his entire presentation on the topic as he discusses “Change and Transformationellipse Powerful Breakthroughs for Utilities in the 21st Century.” McConaughy is an expert on human, team and organizational change, and he has focused his energies on electric and gas utilities going through rapid culture change, deregulation and increasing competition. Speaking in what has been described as a Tony Robbins style, McConaughy’s keynote should provide an energizing kickoff for DistribuTECH 2000.
Jan van Dokkum, president and CEO of Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution Inc., is no stranger to change either. Under van Dokkum’s leadership, Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution is transforming from an apparatus-based business into a solutions and customer-focused organization. Through selective acquisitions, the company has grown at a rapid pace, becoming an enabler for power providers to transition to more efficient, competitive environments.
Rounding out the keynote speakers are Stanley Kijewski, vice president and CIO of independent system operator PJM Interconnection, and Robin MacLaren, ScottishPower Inc.’s chief engineer. Kijewski will speak on “The Value of Reliability.” MacLaren led the development and implementation of a $50 million change program, Asset Management 2000, for ScottishPower, which this year merged with PacifiCorp. MacLaren has worked closely with PacifiCorp employees, customers and interest groups to ensure a solid foundation for the merged company. His presentation is titled “Effects of Deregulation on the UK Electricity Industry and How It Has Shaped ScottishPower.”
A technical tour of the Florida Power & Light systems control center ends this year’s DistribuTECH conference.
Those keynote speeches are only the beginning of what should prove to be an educational and enlightening conference. With more than 50 conference sessions in 11 tracks, attendees will be hard put not to find a presentation that interests them. This year’s conference features session tracks covering all aspects of the utility industry’s transmission and distribution side, including tracks on substation automation and transmission automation, distribution automation and feeder automation, distribution operations management, metering issues, communications technology, enterprise/GIS and customer service via new technology. Also, this year for the first time DistribuTECH features tracks on e-business and call centers/customer relations.
New This Year
DistribuTECH’s 10th annual conference will see the birth of several new features that are sure to become DistribuTECH traditions in years to come. The first of this year’s new DistribuTECH events is the Executive Symposium. The Executive Symposium will showcase eight influential speakers presenting topics of interest to utility industry managers. Meg Matt, president of The Matt Group, will focus on utility industry image adjustment in her presentation, “Branding: What It Is and Isn’t.” John W. Estey, S&C Electric Co. president and CEO will offer his point of view on the revolutionary changes taking place in the industry in his offering, titled “Numb and Number: The Re-Regulated Electric Power Industry.” Chris King, Utility.com president, will discuss the new reality of the virtual utility in his presentation, “Creating Winning Strategies with the Internet.” The Internet as a business partner is a popular topic among Executive Symposium presenters as Dalford Lynn England, EnerTouch Inc. president, and Elliot Boardman, Association of Energy Service Professionals International executive director, discuss “Load Shedding and Trading Via the Internet.” Raymond Saleeby, AT&T Solutions managing partner, will further discuss the nascent electronic economy and its impact on the utility industry in his speech, “Thriving in the Dot.com World.” Rounding out the Executive Symposium are two more e-commerce-related presentations. In “eBPP Considerations for the CEO,” Tulsa National e-Money Systems president James Bennett discusses the challenges of electronic bill presentment and payment and online trading. Ann O’Hara, O’Hara Law Office president, will provide an overview of e-commerce with an emphasis on the energy industry in “Electronic Commerce: Challenges and Opportunities.”
Also new to DistribuTECH this year is a Career Center Pavilion where recruiters from utility companies and energy service providers will be scouting for new employees. The Pavilion will be open March 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and again March 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Recruiters will be available for interviews at the Career Center during those times. Among the possible positions offered through the new Career Center are auditing and revenue, automatic meter reading, customer service, field operations, information technology, marketing, public relations and more.
Beyond the Convention Center
While the majority of DistribuTECH 2000 takes place within the walls of the Miami Beach Convention Center, attendees will have plenty of opportunities to get outside and soak up the sights, sounds, aromas and tastes of the beautiful host city. A number of guest tours will be available for conference attendees and their families, including a two-hour Miami River Historic Cruise, an airboat-powered Everglades Tour, and, for enthusiasts of vintage architecture, an art deco walking tour of historic South Beach. For the convenience of conference attendees, all tours depart from and return to the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Besides packing clothes, business cards and notebooks, conference attendees are encouraged to bring their golf clubs to Miami Beach. On Tuesday, Feb. 29, DistribuTECH will host its Annual Golf Classic at Crandon Park Golf Course. Located 10 minutes from downtown Miami, Crandon Park (formerly The Links at Key Biscayne) offers 18 challenging holes on the island of Key Biscayne, home of the Royal Caribbean Classic Senior PGA Tournament. This par-72 (or 73 from the red and gold tees) Bermuda grass course features seven saltwater lakes, challenging sand hazards, mangrove thickets and breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay. Awards will be presented to the top three scoring teams in both the women’s and men’s division, plus prizes for closest to the pin and longest drive. A bus will depart the Miami Beach Convention Center at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday to arrive at Crandon Park in plenty of time for the 7 a.m. tee time.
DistribuTECH offers plenty of opportunities to network with industry colleagues.
And attendees won’t want to miss Thursday night’s networking beach party at the Fontainebleau Hotel-just steps away from the beach. All registered DistribuTECH delegates get a free pass to the party. The Fontainebleau will provide the perfect environment for conference-goers to unwind, trip the light fantastic and get to know their fellow industry participants while enjoying complimentary food, drinks and a refreshing ocean breeze.
The conference concludes with a technical tour of the facilities at Florida Power & Light. The three-hour tour will provide an overview of the work done at FP&L’s system control center, including transmission operations, distribution automation and distribution SCADA. FP&L has expanded the role of and the tools available to its systems operator. Those who attend this informative tour will get a first-hand look at the enhancements FP&L has made to better serve its more than 7 million customers, who make up approximately half of Florida’s population.
More information regarding DistribuTECH 2000 and a live peek at conference events is available at the official DistribuTECH Web site, www.distributech.com. During the conference, a daily Today Show will be broadcast over the Internet to the DistribuTECH Web site. DistribuTECH’s Today Show will provide a remote, streaming video glimpse at all the conference events-from conference sessions to the exhibit floor to special conference events. Through www.distributech.com, viewers also will be able to see selected Utility University sessions, keynote speakers, general sessions and virtual exhibitor booths. For those who can’t make it to this year’s conference, www.distributech.com is the next best thing.