From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki
Let’s start off our newsletter by sharing some good news! In my introduction letter in the Spring issue of Electric Energy Magazine, I shared that a long-time RMEL instructor was admitted into the ICU with COVID-19. We received word that he was released from the hospital and is now home recovering. In my communication with him, he indicated there is still a long road to recovery ahead. Please continue to think about him and all those impacted by this terrible virus. I know some of you have firsthand stories of these experiences that have truly hit close to home and made this pandemic nightmare “real.” I encourage everyone to continue to be mindful of the impact of this pandemic and follow the guidelines and recommendations set forth by our federal and state agencies. Stay SAFE!
I remember it well! March 12th was the second-day of the Power Supply Planning for Modern Energy Solutions Conference here in Denver. This was just our second event of the year, and RMEL staff was excited about the quality of the programing our Education Committees had put together for the year. Then, the noise about some “coronavirus” started to become louder. That which was distant thunder became the fast approaching storm. In preparation for the event, staff had created classroom style “social distancing” by having the hotel set up for one participant to a table, not the two or three as normally set. Sanitizers were placed at the entrance of the room, microphones would not be passed around the room for questions and “elbow bumps” replaced handshakes. Thinking we had prepared accordingly, on the second and final day of the event, attendees were receiving communication that their organizations were suspending all travel. WOW! We went from travel that “must be approved” to “eliminated” in a what seemed like a heartbeat! The event cancellations followed. It became apparent at that time that our educational format, and life as we knew it, had changed! Where do we go from here?
We realized quickly that we needed something new for our members. Our traditional “face-to-face” conferences and workshops were no longer a viable option and we didn’t know when we would be able to bring them back. Through the direction and insight from our Board, along with input from our Education Committees, we began identifying those elements needed to implement an effective eLearning platform for our membership.
Recognizing the direction we needed to go, but not experienced in the new required skillsets, we researched the various platforms and solicited our committees asking for their experiences and polling what their organizations are using. We will continue to flush that out as we become more familiar with each of them. During our discovery phase, the RMEL membership came through as they always do. Several RMEL member companies reached out to us at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to offer assistance, guidance and webinar content for our members. Taking them up on their offer would allow us to get to experience the events through an established program.
A New Era Begins!
With the disruption to the normal work routines, and the adjustment of working remotely caused by COVID-19, we felt it was important that our first program topic be one to address those challenges. Partnering with Cardigan, an RMEL member company, we hosted our first webinar on April 29, 2020: Effective Communication & Culture Strategies in Times of Uncertainty Webinar. The webinar, presented by Harold Hardaway and Shannon Hernandez, focused on building blocks for a best-in-class internal communications strategy, how to effectively communicate during a time of crisis, what employees are looking for from their employers, how managers can acknowledge the contribution of front-line workers and strategies and techniques to maintain engagement after times of uncertainty. With 150 registrants and timely, relevant content, the webinar was a great success. It is a great feeling to know that we’re helping members in this trying time, and we look forward to providing more resources in the very near future. Thank you to Harold and Shannon for sharing their knowledge, and thank you to everyone who joined the webinar!
RMEL’s Next Webinar: Where Are You on the COVID‐19 Learning Curve?
Look for more details soon on RMEL’s next webinar: Where are you on the COVID-19 Learning Curve? We’ll be presenting this in mid-May with John Miner, Betsy Aylin, Mike Renquist and Jillian Wolfe from Collaborative Learning, Inc. John is another RMEL member who reached out to us in March, and we think his webinar complements our first webinar perfectly. As your workforce has dramatically changed, and will continue to transition, how do you keep up your company’s professional development and eLearning in this new environment? As many of us are “stuck” at home and others may be “locked in place” at work, we may find we have unstructured time that creates a rare opportunity—an opportunity to engage in learning through the many venues of online or eLearning. This one‐hour webinar will explore the opportunities for learning and development created by forced changes in work schedules, locations, and methods, including increased reliance on virtual meetings and eLearning. We will provide tips on how to prepare for and support employee engagement in elearning. We will also describe criteria that will help you select quality eLearning resources that can be quickly and easily offered during this time.
Addressing Your Training and PDH Needs with Webinars - Tell Us Which Topics You’d Like to See
As the RMEL Board of Directors, Education Committees and Staff begin transitioning from the most urgent member needs to the most urgent training topics for Safety, Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Management, we welcome your input! Sadly, we have had to postpone or cancel many of our in-person events, but the great news is that most, if not all, presenters from those postponed events, said they are willing to present their topics to RMEL members. We will transition some of those into virtual presentations, and we will also find new topics that are bubbling up from the industry today. We are definitely all in this together, and I’m excited to share more elearning opportunities with you soon!
RMEL is Hiring and eLearning Program Administrator
RMEL is just at the very beginning “going virtual,” and we understand that a robust eLearning platform will become essential as we move forward. We are hiring an experienced eLearning Program Administrator to take RMEL to the next level! If you know of someone, please send them our way!
I’ll close today by saying THANK YOU to this unique community of members who continue to amaze me as you all help each other and help RMEL to be your best association possible. We are a part of a great industry! We don't know what lies ahead for us on this journey, as these are truly unchartered waters, it’s great to see how our industry has responded on a dime and accepted the challenge together. I’m looking forward to “seeing” you all at an RMEL virtual event soon. Please stay SAFE and healthy!