Over the last 2+ years, we’ve missed the opportunity to consistently and meaningfully connect in person with our peers, partners, and industry leaders; as such, I am more grateful than ever to have had the opportunity to make new connections and cultivate existing relationships at the Utility Supply Management Association (USMA) conference in May in Austin, TX. Our conference team included me, Kayla Rice, Rhiana Gallen, and Kathleen Pomento.
To add to the excitement and energy of the event being the first in-person conference for USMA since 2019, it also was the largest in history (with over 500+ attendees), with some of the best speakers and sessions I’ve experienced. This unique event provided the opportunity to have thought provoking discussions with other utility industry leaders on the supply chain disruptions we are encountering today and how we can mitigate the risk of continued disruption.
To summarize our team’s time in Austin, I’ve recapped the keynote sessions, our own Forti Solutions-led sessions, and the quality of the networking event on the final evening.
Admiral USN (Retired)
|Gave a riveting talk on leadership and his learnings from his time in the US Navy, highlighting his countless notable achievements, including leading operational control of Navy SEAL Team Six’s successful mission to eliminate Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted terrorist leader at the time.
US State Department Advisor
|Discussed geopolitical threats and the related supply chain impacts, including realized and potential impacts of the war in Ukraine, tensions between China and Hong Kong, and much more.
American Technology Entrepreneur, Academic and Author
|Briefed the group on technology and the electric utility, highlighting emerging technologies, risks, and potential mitigations.
Forti Solutions Presentations
During the conference’s breakout sessions, our team had the privilege of co-presenting with our valued client partners on two topics:
Top of mind for many organizations (beyond just utilities) is the “new normal” for procurement, how to establish an O&M cost management program and maximizing O&M impact through category management and supplier development. In this session, we shared case studies from our partnerships with utility clients, best practices, and fostered thoughtful discussion amongst the attendees on what they are experiencing in their organizations.
Sourcing’s Role in Wildfire Mitigation:
In the face of increasingly frequent and devastating natural disasters, sourcing has a critical opportunity to enable its organizations to dramatically alter the asset landscapes in which they operate by strategically sourcing safe, cost effective, system-wide solutions to mitigate wildfire risk (including vegetation management, system hardening, undergrounding, enhanced tools and technology, and more). In this session, we discussed how sourcing’s strategy, role, and impact can evolve throughout the maturity of risk mitigation programs; approaches to sourcing for mega-programs and helping shape organizational strategy; as well as sharing case studies from our partnerships with clients.
I enjoyed the smoothly executed, rich conference hosted by USMA. Our Forti Solutions team deeply valued the opportunity to reconnect and meet with suppliers and utility contacts alike. The information shared, discussions facilitated, and connections forged were that which triumphed any USMA conference I’ve personally attended in recent years, and I am looking forward to next year already.
I would like to thank my colleagues Rhiana, Kayla, and Kathleen for attending the conference and representing Forti Solutions so well.