The Magazine of American Municipal Power, Inc. and its Member Communities

Of Member Concern

The Importance of Communication

Marc Gerken, PE

Former President/CEO

The Importance of Communication

4 min read



May 2020

At AMP, we are committed to our mission to provide members with the benefits of scale and expertise in providing and managing energy services. This mission is accomplished through the many services and benefits provided to our membership, the expert and high-performance professionals that make up the AMP staff and the contributions and engagement of our membership. But all of it relies on communication.

Personal development pioneer Paul J. Meyer once said, “communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” This quote appropriately grasps the necessity and value of communication. Whether communicating with peers, advisors, like-minded individuals or those who do and see things differently, communication is key to the success of any endeavor and every organization.

I firmly believe that the success of our organization comes from our membership and their ability to connect and communicate with each other.

We all know that communication is a two-way street, and there is no doubt about the importance of understanding each party’s responsibilities when communicating. As a membership organization that continues to succeed year after year in providing industry-leading benefits and insights to its members, AMP is dependent on feedback and direction from our members, and this is most beneficial when members have been communicating with each other.

As an innovative organization, AMP and our staff thrive on the fast pace of progress. However, our industry has reached a moment where the advancement of technology is moving at an unprecedented pace, and the need to communicate better — with more precision and directness — to a broader and more diverse audience than ever before, is an absolute priority to ensure continued success of AMP and our membership.

More specifically, we all need to do a better job of communicating with each other.

The value of reaching out to fellow AMP members and other public power entities for best practices insight and advice is immeasurable. So many of the issues that we might run into while working to effectively and efficiently run our organizations turn out to have been dealt with previously by other members or organizations. We must always remember: we can learn from each other; we can assist each other; and we can collectively bring our individual utility experiences together in order to create more expedient and effective solutions.

With this in mind, AMP offers several different ways to help facilitate effective communication between our members.

One such communications tool is our Member Directory. This digital tool is accessible to all members through the Member Extranet (login required) on the AMP website. The Member Directory contains information about all of AMP’s members, including key community contacts, community demographics, utility information, project participation, mutual aid sector assignment and service groups, just to name a few.

AMP works to facilitate member-to-member communications through networking opportunities such as two annual events in Columbus – the Technical Services Conference and the AMP Annual Conference held Sept. 21-23, 2020. While the main objectives of these events are training and advancing knowledge, safety and skills, an underrated and overlooked benefit is the opportunity they provide for networking with your peers in public power. Face-to-face connections are far more likely to lead to regular communication, team building and trust. Nearly 100 public power utility managers and directors attend AMP’s annual Technical Services Conference each spring, and approximately 400 attendees participate in the AMP Annual Conference each fall. These are incredible opportunities for networking, and I encourage members to take advantage of them.

Members are also encouraged to participate in the numerous committees that the AMP Board of Trustees oversee, as they provide the opportunity to become more involved in, and knowledgeable about, the issues that public power utilities are facing, as well as the opportunity to offer insight and advice. These committees are largely involved with the growth, innovation and long-term success of the organization, and I strongly encourage you to seek out a committee that interests you and could help serve the needs of your public power utility.

The Focus Forward Committee is a great opportunity to be involved and stay informed about emerging industry trends and technologies. The Committee convened the Focus Forward Advisory Council, a group comprised of member volunteers, rate and engineering consultants, and AMP staff, to examine emerging trends, identify the needs of members and develop tools to assist member communities. Members can learn more on the Focus Forward page of the Member Extranet (login required)

The weekly electronic newsletter, Update, is developed by AMP staff to share industry insights, news and other information specifically intended to help members advance and connect. Additionally, AMP’s flagship publication, Amplifier, is full of trend-appropriate and timely articles to assist your public power system and community. Learn more on the Publications page of the AMP website.

In recent months, AMP staff has taken on the task of introducing Listservs to our membership. Listservs offer incredible benefits and help provide for quick-response insights into how your peers have handled, or are currently handling, a diverse mix of issues and events. Please keep an eye out for the AMP Membership Listservs, which should be launching in the coming weeks.

Here at AMP, we are determined to make it easy for our members to connect with each other, as well as with us, and I would be remiss if I did not again mention the value that AMP’s staff can provide to your utility. Please consider the AMP staff an extension of your own and never hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns or requests for assistance.

No matter the issue, connect with whomever it is you know at AMP and they will get you to the right contact for your individual needs. Reach out to our executive management team. Connect with our communications or marketing/member relations staff. It doesn’t matter what your issue might be, we will get you in touch with a staff member who can help.