This article is being written just after the close of another successful T&D Conference and I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who was involved in making 2016 T&D a huge success. If you have ever been involved in a conference of this size you can understand the amount of planning, work and effort that is involved. The numbers of the conference tell a part of the story but are only numbers and the true success of the conference are in the numerous emails, notes and comments received from the attendees and exhibitors during the conference and after the close that complete the picture of success.
2016 T&D set new records with the most exhibitors and net square footage of exhibit space, and was second in all time attendance for T&D. But the comments from attendees and exhibitors alike were extremely positive from the opening at AT&T Stadium, the opening session with entrepreneur/NFL Hall of Famer Emmett Smith, the Exhibit Hall, the many technical sessions, the student program, and on and on. We received comments like, “The feel of the conference is electric, no pun intended.” “Wow! what an opening! It sets the stage for a great experience.” “In less than a week, our engineers have found solutions to some problems that will save us hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
But as my favorite NFL Coach said after winning the Super Bowl, “We haven’t played our best game yet!” (SAINTS Coach Sean Payton)
With that said, we are continuously striving to have all of our conferences meaningful and valuable to our members and society in general and that is the real subject of this article.
Here is where we see we can be stronger and more valuable in the conference arena.
First: And perhaps foremost, we feel that our conferences have to continue to evolve toward being more balanced in the real world. Our members are asking for something that I can take back to my job and make a difference.
This is not to say we don’t need research and academic content but we need to move to more practical applications and bring more immediate value to our members, particularly in the utility arena. We now have a volunteer from industry who will work with the organizers to oversee that aspect of all of our conferences.
Second: we need to reach the younger engineers to increase the value of PES to them.
With that in mind, we intend to enhance our student reach better than we have in the past and have organized an ad hoc group who will develop and implement actions to make this a reality.
Third: We are looking to continue to expand our reach to regions outside of the US and this is one of the governing board’s initiatives that is presently underway. We now have conferences planned in all parts the globe.
Fourth: We are taking a hard look at our existing venues and how they can be improved.
The structure of the General Meeting is one that we are taking a close look at because of the reorganization of the technical committees and the continuing growth of the amount of attendees at the GM. We are looking at the way the GM is structure and the contents that it contains in order to be as efficient as possible, with the goal in mind to add the maximum value to our members. Shortly after the GM, members will be asked to participate in a survey addressing the structure of the GM and how we can better serve our membership. Please keep a look out for that and give us your feedback and ideas.
We encourage everyone to get familiar with our overall offerings of conferences and let us know where you feel we can improve. The Governing Board also have an initiative underway to be more visible to our members. You will see members of the GB attending various committee meetings and conferences with the goal to get feedback from as members as possible.
Information on our conferences like ISGT, ESMO, GM, T&D, Power Africa, T&D Latin America and others (I hesitated to list any here since I know I would miss one that I should have listed) are available online and a search of the PES site can give you much more information than I can cover in this short article.
In closing, we also would like to encourage all members to get involved, especially the newer members of PES. Conferences are a great place to volunteer and is extremely rewarding both professional and personally.
Please let me know any comments, areas for improvement, critiques and any thoughts that you feel would improve our conferences, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use the subject “IDEAS TO IMPROVE OUR CONFERENCES” if would be helpful.
Thanks for all you do.
IEEE PES VP Meetings and Conferences