AMP Technical Services Conference3 min read
By Zachary Hoffman, Manager of Communications and Publications
More than 120 people attended the 2022 Technical Services Conference, where they learned about everything from ergonomics to a 12-kilovolt conversion project and electric vehicle programs; 49 member attendees from 30 member communities in four states also took part in the Disaster Workshop, which included a mock emergency drill of a mutual aid response.
AMP has held the Technical Services Conference nearly every spring since 2006. This annual event offers member officials the opportunity to come together to increase their technical understanding and capabilities, learn about new products, exchange ideas and strengthen relationships with other AMP member utility officials.
Sessions during the conference cover a number of relevant topics, including substation inspection methods, cybersecurity, the use of drones, battery storage, safety practices, workforce issues and more. While these topics are most relevant to those involved in running an electric system, the conference can be beneficial to many different member officials.
“Topics are typically geared toward the operation and maintenance of the distribution system, including case studies from member officials or discussions of new technologies and techniques,” said Michelle Palmer, vice president of technical services and compliance. “With that said, the conference provides an excellent opportunity for elected officials or other utility employees to learn about the broader electric system in their community. Sessions provide an understanding of the work involved in running and maintaining a municipal electric system.”
The conference includes a vendor expo, inviting vendors from around the industry to display their products and services. The expo provides members with the opportunity to meet with multiple vendors in a single day. It is an excellent way to explore new offerings, while also networking.
This year’s conference coincided with a disaster workshop session focused on mutual aid response.
“The Disaster Workshop provided a great opportunity for members to test their local mutual aid plans in an open, low-stress, no-fault environment,” said Jennifer Flockerzie, manager of technical services logistics. “Simply having a disaster plan in place is a great first step, but testing that plan ensures that everyone is ready in the event of a natural disaster.”
The Disaster Workshop’s mock disaster drill — meant to test each communities’ storm readiness — was hosted by Alex Hofmann, APPA vice president of technical and operations services; Neil James, APPA Mutual Aid Committee Chair and Santee Cooper manager of district operations; John Veatch, APPA disaster and resilience project manager; and Giacomo Wray, APPA operations services manager.
The event covered a wide-scale disaster that would impact multiple AMP member utilities. The exercise focused on areas of strength, the effectiveness of mutual aid plans, helpful policies and procedures, and areas to work on improvement. Attendees were able to learn from each other and share their knowledge and insights.
The Disaster Workshop was well received by attendees and should help to increase member readiness for major mutual aid events in the future.
“Thank you to all of our presenters, attendees and participating staff for contributing to another informative Technical Services Conference this year,” Palmer said. “The conference is one of the best opportunities all year to network with others in the industry and learn about new ideas and technology. I would encourage all our members to consider attending and I look forward to seeing everyone there next year.”
To learn more about the Technical Services Conference of AMP’s other technical services and training opportunities, visit the Technical Services page of the AMP website. If you have questions about the conference, please contact Jennifer Flockerzie at [email protected].