What to Expect at DistribuTECH 2017


Now that 2016 is behind us, utilities are looking to the year ahead to see what technology innovations can help improve their business processes. Full of industry expert panels, thought leadership, and new solutions, DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition is the annual, must-attend event for many organizations in the utility industry. The leading electric power transmission and distribution conference draws more than 11,000 industry professionals from electric, water, and other municipal utilities. It also offers a lot of ideas to consider, topics to learn from, and best practices to apply.

Here's what you can expect from this year’s DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition.

Forward-thinking Mega Sessions
A few years ago, the conference planning committee began to look for common themes that arose from the many abstract submissions. The common themes stretched across multiple disciplines. As a result, mega sessions were formed. This year there are six mega sessions covering topics on managing big data, embracing smart grid technology and advanced distribution management systems, and more. If you’re interested in seeing how an ADMS solution can address and resolve your challenges, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure will be hosting ADMS demos during the conference.

New Technologies and Solutions on Display
For many industry professionals, attending DistribuTECH is all about walking the halls of the exposition and visiting with vendors. With 568 exhibitors displaying and demoing the latest utility solutions on the market, things can get a bit hectic during high traffic times. I think that the hottest topics this year will continue to be distribution automation and smart meters. But I expect to hear more discussions about microgrids, cybersecurity and the internet of things become more prevalent. If you’re interested in seeing our damage assessment or utility network modeling and management solutions during the DistribuTECH, don’t forget to schedule a time with our team.

Great Training at Utility University
While the conference officially begins on Tuesday, attendees can expand their knowledge and get more from the conference value by attending one of the numerous training courses on Monday. With three full-day and 13 half-day training sessions, Utility University provide continuing education learning opportunities for utility professionals. These courses are designed to provide in depth look at specific topics in energy innovation. If the educational sessions aren’t on the calendar, attendees can always find time with an industry expert on the expo floor and ask questions for a more direct approach.

Plenty of Networking with Industry Peers and Thought Leaders
Attending a massive conference and exposition with other industry professionals provides a great opportunity to network with vendors and colleagues. But it can also be overwhelming. The best of the networking opportunities are the breakfast roundtables. These discussions are focused on specific industry topics and are moderated by leading professionals in each field. The roundtable discussion requires advance registration. For larger networking opportunities, delegates can attend the opening reception on Tuesday along with It's 5 o’clock Somewhere on Wednesday, both in the exhibit hall. If those opportunities aren’t your thing, Pennwell has created specific events that enable the attendees to meet with others in more intimate environments. And then there’s the exhibition floor where you can talk to and network with vendors and solution providers.

I am excited about the event this year and to learn about the new technology that can help fuel the energy industry. If you would like to talk with me about the industry or see what utility solutions Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure has to offer, come visit me at Booth 3603. I hope to you see around DistribuTECH 2017.

Eric J Charette
About Eric J. Charette

Eric J. Charette currently serves as Technical Manager of Business Development for Utilities, Communication and Transportation with Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure in the U.S. He is responsible defining long-term organizational strategic goals and provides technical direction, leading all marketing and presales efforts, maintains relationships with business partners and serves as product manager. Eric previously served as Executive Consultant for outage, mobile workforce and distribution management solutions. Prior to joining Hexagon in 2006, Eric worked for Wisconsin Public Service Corporation as a distribution field engineer where he was responsible for ensuring safety and reliability of the electrical distribution system by providing engineering support for design, construction, operation and maintenance. Later promoted to Senior Outage Management Engineer, he was responsible for all outage management at WPSR, providing technical and strategic expertise and setting policy. He also successfully led the client-side implementation of the corporate OMS project including serving as the system administrator and client lead responsible for change management and end user training. Eric has been recognized as an industry expert in utility operations with several industry publications and presentations. He also serves on the Advisory Committee for the DistribuTECH conference. Eric graduated from Michigan Technological University, in Houghton, Michigan, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, with an emphasis in Power Systems. Eric is a registered professional engineer in the states of Wisconsin and Alabama.