From the Desk of Richard Putnicki, Executive Director, RMEL
Thank you RMEL members for all of your participation with RMEL in 2018! We closed out the 2018 event calendar last Friday with RMEL’s November Safety Roundtable and the planning session for the 2019 Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention. Both of these events thrived on member feedback and participation. As we start to say what we’re thankful for in the next few weeks, I am thankful for RMEL members! RMEL has been your tradition in American Power since 1903 and that’s our privilege. We are working to continue to be your association for the future.
RMEL Market Research with WestGroup Research
This past year has been a great one for talking to members, listening and, most importantly, putting your feedback to work. By now, you’ve probably heard about our work this past summer with WestGroup Research to complete a market research initiative. I am excited to take this opportunity to give you report of what we heard and our action plan to work that feedback.
The RMEL Board of Directors and staff wanted to discover how can we best serve changing member needs in this evolving industry. By asking our diverse group of electric utilities and services and supplier companies, we knew we could learn more about the various needs of our membership and the industry. WestGroup completed a series of activities to gather information from a variety of data points. First, they hosted two focus groups at RMEL’s Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference. Then, they held in-depth, one-on-one phone interviews and sent out an online survey to all members. Thank you to all the members who were able to participate!
The RMEL experience is strong. Members place great value on the training and sharing of real best practices from the diverse member community:
“Excellent technical conferences where real utility issues and technical matters are introduced and discussed. Only such group where the round table discussions are just about as informative as the technical presentations. Also bring in industry leaders to present. Most bang for the buck of any power industry organization.”
“Only organization that successfully brings IOUs, MOUs, Coops, and industry together to address the challenges we are facing.”
“Training, education and getting people in the business is a major strength of this organization. You do not see this type of focus in other organizations.”
Areas Where RMEL Can Add Value
Members see great opportunity for RMEL, including adding more new utilities and continuing to grow the association, working with today’s leaders (who are quickly retiring) to get emerging leaders engaged, and focusing on more targeted training in the areas of regulatory, renewable and new technology challenges and opportunities.
"Expand footprint, engage with other utilities to join, network more."
"Emphasis on new technology initiatives (such as wind and solar) would be beneficial since the industry is moving in this direction."
"We are experiencing unprecedented changes in the generation industry due to renewables, lower energy demands and Federal regulations, such as the recently instituted tax law revisions. I would like to see even more attention paid to these events in the future."
Thank you to everyone who participated and to all of you who have sent feedback to us through event evaluations and conversations with RMEL Board and staff. We are in a very strong position to act on your feedback, and that is exciting!
WestGroup presented results directly to the RMEL Board of Directors at the close of the project and the Board of Directors used the market research study results to engage in an in-depth brainstorming session, also facilitated by WestGroup. Key highlights from the results-driven session were:
- Improve/update communications/channels – Emphasize a focus on providing ways to communicate RMEL materials and networking to next-generation members.
- Engage Decision Makers – Contact/build relationships with key decision makers in member companies to promote RMEL’s cost-effective programs for member needs.
- Enhance conference logistics – Increase attendance at conferences/workshops by making it easier to attend, more affordable and providing content on what members need.
The Board revised the RMEL mission statement and vision statement to better reflect what drives us and where we are going as an association and an industry:
New RMEL Mission Statement:
Preparing the electric energy industry for the
future through education and networking.
New RMEL Vision Statement:
The Trusted Leader in Networking and Educational Programs
for the Electric Energy Industry
The Board also revised RMEL’s current strategies and initiatives, with emphasis on the industry's future workforce. There are seven strategies that Board and staff are focusing on over the next five years:
- Expand Educational Venues and Channels to Provide Strategic Solutions That Address Utility Challenges
- Increase Membership Engagement
- Increase RMEL Presence in Current and New Markets
- Align Data, Technology and Processes to Increase Effectiveness
- Sustain Financial Success
- Assist Members to Develop Future Workforce
- Attract and Develop the Next Generation Workforce
What These Enhancements Mean to You
Here are some new improvements you’ll see right away:
- Online Call for Presentations and additional tools that make it easier on you to engage in your association.
- Date shift for the Spring Conference and Fall Convention away from weekends to Monday-Wednesday.
- Pre- or post- conference workshop attached to the Spring Conference.
- RMEL Member Representatives can now pay for RMEL membership online. The traditional method of paying by check is still an option.
- Online training through educational partnerships with our workshop presenters.
- Enhanced communication: more social media, videos and other ways to connect with your RMEL community online.
- A focus on young professionals training and leadership development.
- More regional events.
And that’s just the beginning. The survey results, your continued feedback, RMEL’s Mission and the seven strategies, will direct all of our future activity. As the industry changes, your needs are changing and RMEL is evolving for you.
Thank you again for your feedback. The association is as strong as ever thanks to you all. It’s a great time to be an RMEL member, and we’re excited about the future! The networking and co-operation traditions that built RMEL 115 years ago continue to be major values of our association today.
This is your association. Please let me know of any new ways we can engage your organization.
Thank you again for the great member participation in RMEL events this year. We’ve listed RMEL Section plans for 2019 below, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Please have a safe, blessed and happy Thanksgiving holiday with your families and friends!