By Kathleen Davis, Senior Editor
Running Jan. 24-26, 2012, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, DistribuTECH covers the smart grid from end to end. This year, the conference features 14 conference tracks, 78 conference sessions, more than 135 utility speakers, more than 350 speakers overall and 21 Utility University courses.
DistribuTECH continues to lead the way in information exchange and utility education. From instructional courses to experts delivering the latest industry details, DistribuTECH will show a lot of power knowledge in the Lone Star State this January.
In addition, DistribuTECH has two sister conferences co-located in San Antonio this year, the Utility Products Conference and Exposition (UPCE) and the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference. UPCE will be an on-site option during DistribuTECH at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The Electric Light & Power Executive Conference is scheduled to run right before DistribuTECH, Jan. 22-23, 2012, at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio.
DistribuTECH 2011 in San Diego saw record breaking attendence. Final numbers closed in on 8,500 attendees wandering through the convention center during the show’s four days of packed conference sessions. DistribuTECH 2011 had over 2,000 more attendees than DistribuTECH 2010 in Tampa, Fla. In 2012, DistribuTECH is expected to surpass even those amazing 2011 numbers.
Utility University and Opening Keynote
Attendees can make the most of a DistribuTECH experience by attending pre-conference courses. Utility University courses are relevant, topical, issue-concentrated classes that occur before the full conference begins. Courses are taught by recognized experts in their respective fields and are held in a classroom environment to maximize the learning experience.
This year, Utility University offers popular courses from previous years as well as a few new courses and topics. Utility University has both full-day and half-day courses on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 22 – 23, 2012.
Tickets are required for admission to each course. Only those registered with a ticket for a particular course will be admitted. Seating is limited. Attendees can register for Utility University courses using the overall conference registration form, which can be found online at the conference website: http://distributech.com.
After the Utility University courses conclude, DistribuTECH 2012 will officially kick off with an opening keynote session on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. The keynote will feature Ben Stein, actor, author, economist and pop culture icon; Jason Few, president of Reliant Energy and executive vice president of NRG Energy; and Doyle Beneby, president and CEO of CPS Energy.
A Peek at the Conference, Networking Opportunities
After the keynote, the conference itself opens for business with a bevy of learning opportunities. Sessions are broken down into related tracks, including: advanced metering, greening the grid, international projects, SCADA and network infrastructure, substation automation and a water technology track. (A full list of tracks and sessions is available online at the DistribuTECH website.)
Sister conference UPCE will also offer informative conference sessions to attendees. UPCE features sessions on managing electrical operations, developing occupational programs at local community colleges, grounding, training for line workers and lessons learned from local smart grid work at CPS Energy.
Despite all the great options for education, DistribuTECH is not all learning and no play. Plenty of social opportunities exist to just sit and visit with colleagues, acquaintances and new friends. In fact, DistribuTECH has become renowned for its networking events. In 2012, DistribuTECH will throw a Round ‘Em Up Networking Party from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. Attendees and guests are invited to join in the festivities which will feature food, drinks, live music and a mechanical bull.
The Round ‘Em Up Networking Party is not the only networking opportunity at DistribuTECH 2012. An opening reception will be held on the exhibit floor on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. Attendees can enjoy hors d’oeuvres, refreshing drinks and networking with industry colleagues while viewing more than 300 companies’ exhibits.
A second exhibit floor reception follows on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 right before Round ‘Em Up Networking Party. Called “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere,” this party will be across the exhibit floor at the sponsors’ booths.
If attendees want to mix networking with learning, DistribuTECH offers a number of breakfast roundtables. These roundtable discussions provide an excellent opportunity for attendees to network with peers and meet industry experts while taking in a hearty meal. Roundtables with specific industry topics will be moderated by leading professionals in each field. An informal format makes the roundtables a great way to share information and learn about specific topics.
Breakfast roundtable topics range from demand response to distribution automation to water topics.
Besides the fabulous conference sessions and networking opportunities at DistribuTECH 2012, attendees also have the chance to visit the show’s large exhibit floor. In addition, one of attendees’ favorite events takes place on the exhibit floor, the car giveaway, which will be continued in 2012. If you’d rather have cold, hard cash, sister show UPCE will feature a money machine. Selected attendees will get a few moments in the booth to grab as much cash as they can.
With such a wide range of conference sessions, exposition and networking opportunities, DistribuTECH promises to be the highlight of the industry for 2012.
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