American Transmission Co.

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What’s Current

ATC receives award for caring for trees eight years in a row

American Transmission Co. has received the Tree Line USA award from the Arbor Day Foundation association for the eighth year in a row. The award recognizes utilities that are committed to best practices in utility arboriculture. To be recognized, utilities must adhere to industry standards for tree care, train employees and contractors on those best practices annually, provide tree planting and public education programs, have a tree-based energy conservation program and celebrate annual Arbor Day events.

“We care about the environment, and trees planted the smart way help enhance our communities,” said Ben Gura, ATC senior vegetation management specialist. “We are proud of our environmental commitment, and we’re honored to accept this award again this year.”

ATC is committed to environmental leadership in all aspects of our business, and we have a number of programs and practices designed to help the environment and trees.

ATC partners with the Milwaukee Bucks to plant one tree in Wisconsin communities for each 3-point shot the Bucks make at home through the Tress for Threes program. In 2016, ATC donated 355 trees to Wisconsin communities. This year, schools can apply to receive trees.

ATC’s Community Planting Program supports efforts to beautify communities in the ATC service area in a way that fits our safety and maintenance standards. Eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes may apply for financial support for planting projects on public property.

ATC’s Grow Smart® program, in partnership with horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers, helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, beautiful vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way.

Because of ATC’s commitment to environmental leadership, we also have a Green Professional designation from the Green Masters Program, and we are a member of Michigan’s Clean Corporate Citizen Program.


ATC volunteers help KTEC students run JA BizTown

American Transmission Co. employees enjoyed volunteering to help Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum 5th graders as they explored Junior Achievement of Wisconsin’s JA BizTown.

JA BizTown combines classroom learning with an interactive, simulated town that helps students see the relationship between what they learn in school and their participation in a local economy. ATC volunteers coached students as they operated a bank, restaurant, city hall, newspaper, retail store and 10 other businesses.

“It was inspiring for our group to share time with the students and see what they were capable of when given the opportunity to run their own business, manage and motivate resources, handle conflict and still get their jobs done as CEO or CFO,” said Juanita Banks, ATC vice president of operational compliance and risk management.

Volunteers left feeling a bit tired but with a sense of accomplishment after trying to keep up with the positive energy of the students all day. It was a wonderful experience for all.

Kids share how their families are ATC Ready

Dozens of families have a better understanding of security, safety and emergency preparedness after attending an ATC Ready Night Out event in October. American Transmission Co. employees, retirees and their families learned what it takes to be prepared for an emergency through displays and presentations from ATC’s security teams, local first responders, American Red Cross of Wisconsin, Infinity Martial Arts, gardening expert and horticulturist Melinda Myers, Alliant Energy and more.

ATC Ready is ATC’s preparedness plan to respond, restore and recover from emergency incidents. The ATC Ready Night Out event provides both children and their parents with tips and information on how families can stay safe in emergencies.

Families were able to explore Alliant’s bucket truck, learn how emergency responders save lives in an ambulance and even explore a real helicopter. At the event, children shared how their families are ATC Ready for any emergency through artwork. Scroll through the gallery to see some of their creations.

Back to School Flashback with Carla & Jordan: What ATC team members wanted to be when they grew up

Editor’s Note: Now that students across the country are back in the classroom for a new school year, we asked American Transmission Co. team members to reflect on their youth and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Their stories represent paths to careers that ultimately help keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong.

Carla Skowron, Senior system support specialist

Age: 8, Grade: 2

At the age the photo was taken, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A nurse.


I liked watching television shows in hospital and paramedic settings.

How did you end up in your current career?

In high school, I really enjoyed business and accounting classes.  A few years later, I started a job as a file clerk at an insurance company. I started to attend school for my accounting degree. I then moved up in my job to a position that involved working with computers. I quickly learned that I enjoyed the computer world. I finished my accounting degree and then started on my computer science degree. Years later, I moved to a corporate retail company and finished my computer science degree while working there. I moved to ATC after a long history of working in information technology and learning many different things that led me to the position I am in now.


Jordan Higgins, Information technology desktop administrator

Age: 2

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I initially wanted to be a musician or magician.


I’ve always enjoyed practicing and performing.

How did you end up in your current career?

When I went to school for music education, and I found it to be far more difficult than I had initially thought. I decided to take some time away from school and next thing I knew I was married and had a child. I went back to school, and once I was nearly done, I found ATC. After a couple of internships there, I was hired.

Back to School Flashback with Trevor & Kathryn: What ATC team members wanted to be when they grew up

Editor’s Note: Now that students across the country are back in the classroom for a new school year, we asked American Transmission Co. team members to reflect on their youth and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Their stories represent paths to careers that ultimately help keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong.

Trevor Stiles, Senior legal counsel

Age: 7 Grade: 1

At the age the photo was taken, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an archaeologist, spending half my time studying Middle Eastern ruins and the other half of my time lecturing at the University of Oxford. For the life of me, I can’t remember why I decided on Oxford, but that was my childhood dream.


As a 7-year-old boy, my twin loves were history and digging holes. My three brothers and I lived in Florida for a few years where the soil was sandy and easy to dig in. We were constantly digging holes to bury treasure, build traps or construct fortifications of various sorts. At one point, I asked my mom what job I could have if I liked history and digging holes, and she recommended archaeology as a way to combine both of those loves.

How did you end up in your current career?

I entered undergrad as a pre-med biology major. We were required to take a broad slate of electives, and I was in a class studying Islamic history my freshman year when the Sept. 11 attacks happened. At that point, my elective course became much more of a focus for me. I changed my major to religious studies, with an emphasis on Islamic Gnosticism. While I considered pursuing a Ph.D. and teaching, my mentor recommended professional or grad school to evaluate other options—law seemed like a natural fit and has always been an interest of mine. So I applied to law school and attended Northwestern University.

As to why energy law, my dad is an environmental consultant who owns a small business. I grew up seeing pictures of power plants on the walls of his office, and I spent my college summers climbing smokestacks across the Midwest to do emissions testing.

Given that background, energy/environmental law made sense, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

I love working at ATC—the people are great, the culture is incredible, and I enjoy the variety of work that I get. I didn’t quite end up doing what I dreamed about as a farm kid in rural Ohio, but I’ve never regretted it for a second!


Kathryn Erdmann, Consultant regulatory project manager

Age: 10, Grade: 6

At the age the photo was taken, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had no idea.


At that time (in the late 1960s), from my perspective and based on my limited exposure, the career choices for girls seemed to be nuns, nurses, teachers, and secretaries – and I wasn’t really keen on being any of those.

How did you end up in your current career?

I was the second oldest of seven kids, and had no idea what to do after high school. My family did not have adequate funds to help me go to college. Yet, somehow I always knew I would eventually go to college at University of Wisconsin-Madison, because that is what my older sister did. After high school, I moved out to a ski town in Sun Valley, Idaho, for a couple of years. When I returned to Wisconsin, I qualified as a self-supporting student and was eligible to receive government grants and loans for higher education. Still now knowing what I wanted to be, I started a curriculum in the occupational therapy program at UW-Madison.

During my second semester, I had a major crisis, as I realized I had a great fear of public speaking and was starting to fall behind in the class. So, I decided to drop the class and change my major. A classmate on my dorm floor was studying to be a geologist, which I thought sounded really cool, though I was clueless about what a geologist really did. Coincidentally, my boyfriend at that time (and now husband), was taking an introductory class to geology and was constantly sharing his excitement about the lectures and the field of study. So, I switched things up and soon found myself heading down the path to become a geologist.

I also worked in the geology lab at Madison for many years processing glacial till samples. I conducted tests for grain size analysis, carbonate content and X-ray diffraction. I loved that I was finally connected with the outdoors again and participated in every field trip I could possibly afford.

After graduation, I worked in the field as an on-site geologist for a company doing uranium exploration in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Later, I moved back to Wisconsin and worked for 18 years at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – first as a water supply specialist, sampling and inspecting private and public water supply wells and systems, and then as a hydrogeologist-project manager in the remediation and redevelopment program, focusing on the clean-up and remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater and the redevelopment of brownfields. One of my colleagues there was exploring new job opportunities and was offered a position at ATC in the environmental department. Soon after, I found myself submitting an application to ATC, knowing that a window of opportunity had opened. The idea of learning a whole new industry had me rapt. The next thing I knew, I was offered a position at ATC in the state regulatory affairs department, which paired well with my nearly 20 years of experience at a regulatory agency.

I love everything about ATC and am proud to say I work here. I feel blessed to work in an environment where the values of the company have always and continue to reflect my personal values.


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