The Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC), held from June 15-18, 2008, at the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center in Williamsburg, Virginia, attracted another record number of attendees. Fleet managers from investor-owned electric utilities in the United States and Canada were joined by supplier representatives at the increasingly popular annual conference where they took part in a full schedule of technical presentations and attended an expanded equipment show.
“The success of the 55th EUFMC was due largely to the efforts of the entire board of directors and the highly valuable presentations by fleet managers, suppliers and other industry experts that addressed a range of timely topics,” said Rich Mento, Fleet Manager - Electric System at United Illuminating Company and this year’s EUFMC president. “There continues to be very positive feedback from attendees, which demonstrates that the conference is one of the best for utility fleet managers to attend and bring back valuable information to their companies.”
Leading off the 2008 EUFMC was David G. DeCampli, president of PPL Electric Utilities, who explained how his company is working to “navigate a turbulent business environment. The challenges of working to continuously improve operations,” he said, “include rising energy prices and customer expectations, infrastructure investment and employee needs, regulatory scrutiny and pressure to cut costs that is greater than ever.” In his keynote address, “Preparing Your Fleet for the Future” DeCampli covered the five-part balanced approach that is being applied at PPL to foster continuous improvement.
During EUFMC 2008, presentations covering the meeting’s theme, “Powering Your Fleet Toward the Future” reflected the pressure on utility fleets to become more environmentally friendly, reduce vehicle acquisition and maintenance costs, lower fuel consumption, and use fleet data to measure performance and make better decisions. Among the highly informative presentations were:
- Climate Change/Carbon Footprint -- Bill Van Amburg, Senior Vice President, WestStart-CalStart
- Biodiesel Fuel Quality, Sustainability and Implementation into Utility Fleets -- Randall von Wedel, Ph.D., founder and Principal Chemist, BioSolar Group/CytoCulture International Inc.
- PHEV Technology -- Gus Sfakianos, Executive Vice President, Odyne Corporation
- Telematics/Aware Vehicle Intelligence -- Kyle Howard, Manager, AWARE Sales, Navistar Corporation
- Washington Update -- Pat O’Connor, Kent & O’Connor, Inc., Legislative Counsel for the National Association of Fleet Administrators
- Getting the Most Value of My Information System -- Leslie C. Rucker, Jr., National Director, Fleet Management Consulting, Maximus, Inc.
- Vehicle Life Cycle Initiatives -- Tom Allen, Manager Fleet Service, First Energy
- Different Life Cycle Costing/Modeling -- Chris Shaffer, Partner, Utilimarc
- Overview of Lean Thinking Methodology:
*The Six Sigma Process -- William D. Kokemor, Fleet Director, Henkels & McCoy
*Quality Approaches -- James T. Woods, Vice President, Dan Lindsey, Senior Quality Manager, Penske Truck Leasing Co.
- ANSI Standards -- Gary McAlexander, President, Intercontinental Equipment Company
New at EUFMC this year was an expanded outdoor equipment display that included more hybrid units than ever before, another indication that the utility fleets are working to conserve fuel and reduce emissions. The presence of several larger construction equipment units also showed that utility fleets are being called on to focus on the rebuilding of the nation’s aged electric system infrastructure. An annual highlight of the conference, the showcase in 2008 was the site of more than 75 exhibits, including 15 new companies.
Total attendance at EUFMC continues to grow annually. This year, the conference hosted more utility fleet and utility contractor fleet representatives than in 2007, including 25 first-time attendees. Joining the fleet managers were over 260 manufacturer representatives from 91 companies, including 17 new registrants.