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TEC Hosts Conference for Co-ops' Science-Minded

September 15, 2014

Electric co-ops' engineering, environmental and materials management experts gathered Sept. 9–12 to network and enhance their professional knowledge during the TEC  Engineering/Environmental/Materials Management Conference.

Texas Electric Cooperatives President/CEO Mike Williams suggested to the 310 registrants how electric cooperatives might adapt to industry changes. He explained how factors such as climate change policy, shale play development, grid security and nontraditional competition could force co-ops to embrace a fundamentally different relationship with their members.

"You are the folks that design and operate systems that make our members' lives better," Williams said. "You ensure these systems are safe, affordable and reliable, and for that we all owe you our thanks."

Co-op engineers drilled down into details of line design, feeder automation, grid-tied distributed generation, emergency response planning and more in a multitude of sessions and workshops.

Co-ops' environmental work involves taking care of people and ecology. Conference topics addressed how to manage, plan and protect these resources.

Materials management deals primarily with the physical inventory of products, but the foundation involves information management. Conference sessions underscored that theme and described tools that can streamline and improve materials management processes.

In closing, Williams reminded co-op personnel of the cooperative purpose.

"We have always kept it in front of us that our purpose was not just safe, reliable and affordable electricity," he said. "It was making a difference in people's lives. I think we have a lot of success ahead of us. And our strong commitment to our purpose and why we are in this business gives us a competitive edge going forward."