The Milwaukee Bucks and American Transmission Co. are bringing back their “Trees for Threes” initiative for the 2017-18 Milwaukee Bucks season. Through the Trees for Threes platform, the Bucks and ATC will sponsor the planting of a new tree in Wisconsin for every 3-pointer the Bucks make at home this season. Last season, the Bucks made 355 threes at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, resulting in 355 trees being planted across Wisconsin.
New to this year’s Trees for Threes campaign is the opportunity for schools in Wisconsin to register to receive trees to be planted at their school. Schools interested in signing up may do so from Oct. 20, 2017, through April 9, 2018, on ATC’s registration page.
“We’re incredibly excited to partner with the Bucks again this season,” said ATC’s Director of Corporate Communications Anne Spaltholz. “The more 3-pointers the Bucks score at home, the more trees go in the ground. By the end of the season, it’ll be a big win for Wisconsin schools.”
For more information on the Trees for Threes initiative, including a running tally of how many 3-pointers the Bucks have made at home this season, log on to www.bucks.com/trees.
A late September day in Wisconsin seems reminiscent all things fall: changing leaves, cooler temperatures and the awareness of evolving seasons. For those who consider themselves “green thumbs,” it is also an ideal time of year to plant for the following spring. Unfortunately, the thermometer on Sept. 21, 2017 read a stifling 84 degrees. And on that day, a team of ATC employee volunteers had planned to put 3,300 native plants in a half-acre section of our transmission line right-of-way near the entrance of Mequon Nature Preserve.
Months earlier, our environmental contractor, Cardno, designed a site layout, that included a walking path throughout the vast garden, featuring selections from our Grow Smart® pollinator planting guide to demonstrate how the plants would eventually look. Cardno transported the 3,300 plants in small plug form to the preserve. Once there, they reassured ATC volunteers in the early morning of the sweltering heat that our efforts would eventually produce rotating blooms of vegetation throughout the seasons – attracting pollinators when they needed the habitat – and creating visual interest for the time in between. Our goal was to establish a habitat that would provide a contiguous flight path for these pollinators within our transmission line rights-of-way that runs through the length of the preserve. We also wanted to showcase the garden at the upcoming Mequon Nature Preserve donor event. Since the donor event was scheduled months in advance – heat or not, we had to get the plants in the ground.
Planting in the hot sun wasn’t the only challenge. Much of the soil in the Mequon, Wis. area is so hard that locals dub it clay. Fortunately, Cardno had the brilliant insight to pack two pieces of unusual but essential machinery: AUGERS. Yes, the gas-powered tool most people associate with ice fishing turned out to be a welcome piece of planting equipment for these conditions.
As the day wore on and volunteers followed the augers’ holes that zigzagged through the parameters of the orange flags, we scratched our heads. How could these delicate little plants ever thrive in such conditions? Once the auger spun out the rock-hard cylinder of dirt and we got the plants in the ground, would their roots feel comfortable in such hardened conditions? Was the preserve’s sprinkler rotation really going to be enough to keep them alive? All of these little plants are meant to help pollinators, but how were they really going to thrive, much less survive?
The Mequon Nature Preserve reassured us that their constant watering would aid the plugs through the unusual heat spell. “Before you know it, they’ll be covered in snow and go dormant,” said the director of education and research, Jason Nickels. “When they wake up in spring, then they’ll grow feet–or, more accurately, start to root.”
Melinda Myers, nationally renowned gardening expert and horticulturist who speaks on behalf of ATC’s Grow Smart® program, echoed that reassurance to a curious group of Mequon Nature Preserve donors two weeks later on Oct. 5. “They’re clay-busters,” said Myers of the thousands of little plants now living under a transmission line. “Part of the reason these plants were selected for this location is because of their ability to root in this dense soil and thrive in it, even if it feels like rock to us.”
Myers led event attendees along a new walking path of fresh wood chips, pointing out the barely visible species in a sea of orange flags, then transitioning to her presentation indoors. There, hundreds of attendees heard from Myers about ATC’s Grow Smart® program and our new initiatives statewide to help pollinators.
Since that time, temperatures have become more reasonable and seasonal. Leaves have finally taken notice of the shift and lost their chlorophyll, casting a fiery hue across the tops of the preserve. And below the transmission line, thousands of plugs sit and wait – ready to go dormant, ready to settle into their new surroundings, and we hope – ready in the seasons to come to help out those pollinators.
Will it work? Stay tuned.
The Grow Smart® pollinator garden at the Mequon Nature Preserve is the first landscaped garden of its kind in ATC’s service area. The purpose for establishing the half-acre garden is to provide a contiguous flight path for monarch butterflies and other pollinators within ATC rights-of-way. Using a custom layer for GIS mapping called the POWR model (Pollinator Opportunities Within Rights-of-Way), we analyze monarch migration paths in areas where our rights-of-way exist and determine locations to improve the pollinator habitat within that region. Other ATC partners for similar pollinator-attracting projects include rights-of-way at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wis. and the Woodland Dunes Nature Preserve in Two Rivers. Additional pollinator-attracting habitat is located within various rights-of-way where we have recently completed construction or have rebuilt transmission lines and then spread a custom seed mix. Watch Melinda Myers on TMJ4’s The Morning Blend talk about the Grow Smart garden at the Mequon Nature Preserve. For more information, visit www.atc-GrowSmart.com.
Employees put company on the list for fourth year in a row
Pewaukee, Wis. – At American Transmission Co. our growth wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our employees. We’re proud of our team, and we’re also excited to announce our organization has been named one of the 2017 Best Small & Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE. Thanks to our employees, ATC has made the list every year since 2014.
This ranking considered 74,000 surveys from employees at hundreds of businesses in all sectors of the economy. ATC earned a spot on this list based on employees’ assessment of the camaraderie, leadership, fairness, rewards and career opportunities enjoyed in their workplace.
“ATC is successful in the electric transmission industry because we challenge ourselves to be innovative. Our workplace culture is no different. We support employee growth by encouraging development and strive to make it a place where people want to stay,” said Mike Rowe, President and CEO of ATC.
Outstanding small and mid-sized employers – as identified by their employees – are substantially more likely to report work experiences linked to retention, innovation and good customer service, according to research by Great Place to Work. The winning organizations also are more likely to maintain a healthy organizational culture as they grow larger and more complex.
“The Best Small & Medium workplaces are laying the groundwork for future success by building trust, cooperation and leadership credibility. All of these enhance business performance and create a positive environment for doing business,” said Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work.
The Best Small & Medium Workplaces is one of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE based on research into employee feedback from Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations. ATC has ranked as a Best Workplace since 2014, and as a Best Workplace to Retire From, Best Workplace for Giving Back and Best Workplace in Manufacturing and Production by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE.
MADISON, Wis. – The portion of the Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project connecting the Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton to the North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna has been energized.
While this 20-mile segment is complete and now moving electricity, the portion of the project between the North Madison Substation and the Briggs Road Substation in the La Crosse area is still under construction.
This 180-mile, 345,000-volt transmission line was approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in April 2015 and is expected to be in service by late 2018. The project will help ensure reliable electricity for the region and provide access to lower-cost power and renewable energy.
“We appreciate the cooperation of area residents as we completed work on this portion of the project,” said American Transmission Co. Senior Local Relations Representative Lee Meyerhofer. “We will continue our commitment to keeping the public informed, constructing the line in a safe and efficient manner, and protecting the environment.”
Project maps and additional information are available at www.badgercoulee.com.
Capital expenditure of $2.8 billion to $3.6 billion is lower than recent years
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co.’s 10-year plan for electric grid improvements calls for a mix of new construction and continued asset maintenance to maintain the company’s top performance in operations.
“Our long-range planning efforts assure the reliability that our customers depend on,” said Ron Snead, vice president of system planning. “The expenditures in this year’s 10-Year Transmission System Assessment are reduced from recent years, reflecting the measures ATC has taken to improve electric reliability.”
Specifically, the plan calls for expenditures of $1.4 billion in asset maintenance, $0.48 billion in regional Multi-Value Projects, between $0.7 billion and $1 billion in network projects and between $0.3 billion and $0.8 billion in other capital expenditures.
Asset renewal has played a key role in operating performance. “We achieved top quartile or better reliability performance in 2016 for our transmission network,” said John McNamara, vice president of asset management. “Maintaining a reliable transmission system in a cost-effective manner is core to our business and supports our customers.”
The full plan is available for viewing at ATC10YearPlan.