Archive for April, 2008

Chicago We Are Here


We made it to Chicago! The flight was 20 minutes early and we made it to the hotel in record time. Enough time to head out to the theater and see if we could get tickets to a show. We scored VIP Cast Member seats to see Jersey Boys! Is that cool or what? The show was great – I’ll be driving everyone crazy in the next few days humming the score. Come a day or two early and you can get into all kinds of things. My Chicago friends were correct. They told me to get here early and take in the sights and sounds. Jersey Boys was good for both. I never have been one to sit in my room when there is so much to do. How about you? What fun things are you planning? Write and let me know.

Smart Displays

With the interest in manufacturer’s displays, Dick Erdel of Hubbell called me to talk about the Hubbell exhibit. The Hubbell display covers (3,500sqft) 7 business units and is modular. It comes in 108 crates! It has to go back in those same crates too when they tear it all down. They use it for a lot of shows and have to keep modernizing and updating. Part of the exhibit is 25 years old, but you could never tell. It takes 3 semis to haul it around the country. This is renewable at its best! Thanks Dick. I welcome any and all comments.

Aging Workforce – Crisis or Not


In the next 5 years there is going to be a brain-drain the likes of which has never been seen before. The “Baby-Boomers” are poised for retirement - surveys place the exodus at 50%. Many in the industry refuse to acknowledge it. Some utilities have a plan – hire the retired! Some “new” engineers can hardly wait until the “Old-Guard” is gone and they can modernize the grid. Where do you fit? My friend Wanda Reder, S&C’s VP of Power Systems Services is chairing the “Aging Workforce – Overcoming the Technical Talent Challenge” Super Session on Tuesday afternoon. It will be a very interesting session to say the least. I’d welcome any and all comments.

Exhibits – What It Takes

I was talking with Steven Strand from S&C about planning, designing, building, and staffing an exhibit. He told me S&C has a very large if not the biggest display in the show – Chicago is home and they are proud of it. They started working on the 2008 Chicago Expo the day after the 2006 Dallas Expo closed. S&C started manufacturing equipment the first week of January. Dozens of contractors and employees have been committed to the effort. It will take them 4 to 5 days to set it all up and will be staffed with close to 200 sales people from around the world. That is commitment. I’d welcome any and all comments. Tell me what you think.

Hey Wind Lovers – want to meet up?


Talking with Dick Piwko (Chair of the Wind Energy Coordinating Committee), I found out there is going to be a meeting for a new working group on wind at the Expo - added bonus. It’s called “Transmission Alternatives for Remote Wind Generation.” It’s scheduled for Wednesday (04/23/08) from 2:00PM to 4:00PM. Check with Dick at the Panel Session Wednesday morning for room location. Dick says wind energy is pushing transmission system growth very fast to keep pace with developers. Anyone having problems with keeping ahead of wind developers? What are the problems you are encountering? Tell me about it! I’d welcome any and all comments.

Erich Presents Senator Jeff Bingaman Energy Award


I just found out the IEEE PES Intelligent Grid Coordinating Committee is holding a meeting at the T&D Expo (thanks Doug). It will be on Monday (04-21-08) afternoon from 1:00PM to 3:00PM in meeting room N-128, level 1 at McCormick Place. Doug tells me everyone is welcomed, so go and join the activities. I’d welcome any and all comments.

What Is The Smart Grid?

Wherever transmission and distribution engineers get together chances are before long the discussion will turn to the Smart Grid and its technologies. Just what is the Smart Grid or Intelligent Grid – it goes by more than one name? It is a term tossed around pretty indiscriminately. Is it smart meters, AMR, or AMI? Is it customer data over transmission lines, a new method of substation design, micro-grids, or new transmission design techniques? What does it do? Does it improve SAIDI, CAIDI, or SAIFI? Will it improve demand side management, demand response, or asset management? What about system reliability, eliminating grid blackouts, or self healing? The answer is all of the above and so much more. Last year, I sponsored the formation of the Intelligent Grid Subcommittee within the PES T&D Committee – yeah I do get a good idea once in a while. This subcommittee was formed to help members become educated in all the many aspects of the Intelligent Grid and define terms. Early this year officers (Wanda Reder and John McDonald) from PES contacted me about the subcommittee. They understood the importance of the subcommittee’s work and elevated it to Committee level. Yes folks, it is now officially known as the “IEEE PES Intelligent Grid Coordination Committee” – my subcommittee grew up fast. I am so proud of this group, the officers, and the work they are doing. Getting back to my original thought – what is the Smart Grid next Wednesday afternoon you can find out from the experts themselves. The “Intelligent Grid Coordination Committee” is presenting a Super Session titled “The Smart Grid.” I think if you attend, a lot of the questions I raised above will be answered. Doug Houseman (session chairman) has been telling me all about the program and it is a good one. I don’t want to miss it. Erich Gunther (Intelligent Grid Coordination Committee – Chairman) is going to be one of the panelists. I am pretty sure the other officers will be there too (Don Von Dollen – Vice Chair and Steve Pullins – Secretary) supporting him. If you are interested in joining the committee or just learning about the Smart Grid these are the people that will make it happen. Check you program for exact time and place – don’t miss it. I’d welcome any and all comments.

Aging Infrastructure?????


Seriously, there are panels and sessions on the aging work force and the infrastructure at the Expo. Find the one that grabs you. Okay – this is Chaco Canyon. I went there a couple of weeks ago and could not pass up the pun. I’d welcome any and all comments.

U-Boats, Glass Blowers, and Dinosaurs - Oh my!

It is spring time in New Mexico; there’s only a ¼” of ice on the bird bath this morning and only 3” to 6” of snow is expected today. Tomorrow it will be 72°F. Chicago should be more stable and my friends on the organizing committee assure me the conditions at McCormick Place are ideal for us, not to mention the Museum of Science and Industry where we will all be heading Monday evening for the reception. Carl Segneri said this would be one of those talked about highlights of which we are so fond. The “Wise Guys” had hoped to get a couple of thousand to attend. Earlier this week over 3,500 had signed up for the reception – way to go Guys! Carl has added 8 more buses to the shuttle program for Monday night. The kid/geek in me is super excited about the museum. “Das Boot” is there – “ausgezeichnet!” Yep a WW-II German U-boat is on display “AND” we can go inside of it! Pam will be busy keeping me out of trouble here for sure. Geekier still is the “Earth Revealed” exhibit – high tech real time living Earth. The “Glass Experience” has Pam excited. Dale Chihuly’s “Macchia Forest” is part of it. I think this is one of those enrichment times I talked about previously. There is also a New Mexico connection too – “Dinosaurs Alive”! The Omnimax show filmed in part in New Mexico at the Ghost Ranch exploring fossils (NO, not old engineers). The Museum says my home state is one of the few places where the rock layers preserve the whole age of dinosaurs (Cretaceous to Jurassic to Triassic). Tell the boss the reception was just one of those networking things you were expected to attend – pay no attention to the T-Rex behind the curtain. I’d welcome any and all comments.

2006 Dallas T&D Expo Main Aisle

Dallas T&D Expo

The show floor in Dallas was eye candy at its best. Tommy tells me Chicago is going to be even better. I’d welcome any and all comments.


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April 2008
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