Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference Sets Attendance Record | Construction News

The 61st annual Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC) held June 1-4, 2014, at the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center in Williamsburg, Va., brought together 109 fleet professionals from investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives, and electrical contractors.

In 2014, the conference welcomed 32 first-time fleet attendees, a growing number of Canadian utility fleet executives, and a representative of Energisa Soluções of Brazil.

In keeping with EUFMC tradition, Jack Abraham, fleet manager at Nova Scotia Power, who has been EUFMC senior vice president, now assumes the role of conference president. The first Canadian utility fleet professional to serve as head of the EUFMC board of directors, Abraham will oversee all conference planning for the next two years.

“The interest in EUFMC among utility fleet professionals from the U.S., Canada, and South America shows how valuable the conference’s comprehensive educational program is for the companies that attendees represent,” Abraham said.

“The Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference continues to attract fleet professionals because we address the challenges they face in their organizations in educational sessions, and provide unique networking opportunities where fleet managers can exchange ideas and meet with suppliers to discuss technical and operational issues,” Abraham added.

The theme of the 2014 EUFMC, "Driving Fleet Value and Performance," was addressed by industry experts, fleets, and manufacturers. Topics included CNG fuel, , a regulatory update, utility safety, how to minimize tire failures and manage tire cost,  managing driver-performance information, and electrification of the utility transportation sector.

In a special session called "How Do You Do It?," a panel of leading utilities shared the best practices they employ in their fleet operations to help ensure success with staffing, technician training, service and repair, planning and scheduling work, vehicle and equipment purchasing, and fuel cost and consumption.

Werner J. Schweiger, president of electric distribution for Northeast Utilities delivered the keynote address. “As an operations executive, I have always valued the role of fleet,” he said. “While fleet was once viewed merely as a cost center, it is now a strategic asset as utilities work to effectively manage their fuel costs and to enhance a culture that is environmentally responsible," said Schweiger.

"The theme of this conference is timely as the industry continues to focus on fuel diversity, a challenge that will grow. The amount of progress you have already made is impressive and the collaboration between fleet professionals and vendors has moved the needle with respect to the transportation needs of the utility industry,” Schweiger added.

Bonnie St. John, called "One of the five most inspiring women in America", brought her message of success. “You are a community of champions,” said the highly successful Paralympic athlete, best-selling author, television and radio personality, business owner, and consultant to senior Fortune 500 business executives. “Fleet is the utility for utilities, and I am grateful for what you do in our communities. Innovation is not always one big thing. It’s mostly little things that happen over time, and by coming together EUFMC serves as a place to nurture that innovation.”

Altec Industries, Inc., was received the first-ever EUFMC Vendor Value Award, created by the board of directors to recognize the manufacturer or service provider ranked highest for innovation, maintenance, efficiency, and reliability by fleet representatives. The selection was made by more than 70 fleet professionals, who also considered the value and presentation of information at the Altec display booth.

“We are extremely proud and quite humbled by this prestigious recognition,” said Lee Styslinger III, Altec chairman and CEO. “EUFMC and its board provide Altec with outstanding guidance on the expanding requirements of today’s fleet executives. What we learn at EUFMC enables us to focus on creating innovative product and support solutions to meet those important needs.”

The conference also includes a drive-through demonstration of utility equipment and an exhibition of the newest equipment and services for utility fleets. In 2014, manufacturers and service providers presented more than 60 displays. The conference greatly appreciates the generous support of the more than 95 manufacturers and service providers that attended.

The 2015 EUFMC is scheduled for May 31-June 3 at the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center, Williamsburg, Va.