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ATC, Milwaukee Bucks commit 510 more trees to Wisconsin schools

The Milwaukee Bucks may no longer be in the playoffs, but we’re proud of the amazing 2019-20 regular season that got them there – a season unexpectedly interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Including the Bucks’ 31 games at Fiserv Forum and four “home” seeding games, the team scored 510 3-pointers at home during the regular season. This was the most 3-point shots made at home by any team in the Eastern Conference and the third-most in the NBA overall.

Our Trees for Threes partnership with the Bucks is important to us because it is a reflection of our commitment to the environment. For every 3-point shot the Bucks make at home during the regular season, another tree gets planted by a Wisconsin school. This year, ATC will donate a total of 510 trees to the 125 schools who registered for the 2019-20 Trees for Threes program.

After the Bucks made a franchise-record 573 threes at home during the 2018-19 regular season, 1,083 trees have now been donated to Wisconsin schools over the past two seasons alone. Throughout the four seasons of the program, a total of 1,781 trees have been donated to make the state of Wisconsin a little greener.

Check out this recap video from this season’s “Trees for Threes” program on Bucks.com. All 125 schools received a video message from Bango, the Bucks’ mascot, and an infographic to share with their students.

Rib Mountain adds some tree bark to dog park thanks to ATC

It’s a little cooler at Sandy’s Bark Park in Rib Mountain, Wis. – and not just because of  the current fall temperatures. The town recently planted a mix of Princeton elm, yellow birch, blue beech and other shade trees-thanks to a $1,250 grant from ATC’s Community Planting Program.

This grant not only helps to diversify the local tree population, it also provides shade and additional natural beauty for the park’s visitors – both canine and human.

Sandy’s Bark Park, which opened two years ago, is Rib Mountain’s first dog park. The nearly four-acre, fenced-in park features 2,000 feet of crushed gravel walking paths, benches and a dog water spigot. It also is easily accessible from the Marathon County Highway R paved walking trail and is close to at least one pet-friendly hotel.

ATC’s Community Planting Program enables us to encourage and support communities to plant trees and vegetation that beautify the landscape in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system. The program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in ATC’s service area for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way. Since 2013, ATC has awarded approximately 240 communities and organizations with funds totaling more than $425,000.

ATC accepts applications from July 1 through Sept. 30, and recipients are selected and notified by the end of the year. Awards range from $100 to $5,000. Additional information and program applications can be found at atc-GrowSmart.com.

ATC named one of the 2020 Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production by Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE

Great Place to Work and FORTUNE have honored American Transmission Co. as one of the 2020 Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production. The ranking considered feedback representing over 160,000 employees working at Great Place to Work-Certified organizations in the manufacturing and production industry. Great Place to Work evaluated more than 60 elements of team members’ experience on the job. These included the extent to which employees trust leaders, the respect with which people are treated, the fairness of workplace decisions, and how much camaraderie there is among the team. Rankings are based on employees’ feedback and reward companies who best include all employees, no matter who they are or what they do for the organization. ATC took the No. 5 spot on the list.

This is the fifth time ATC has been included on the Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production list, previously in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019. ATC is in the “Manufacturing & Production” category because the full category in which we participated was Manufacturing & Production/Energy Distribution – the category that comes closest to encompassing ATC’s unique business model as a transmission-only utility.

“Best workplaces like American Transmission Co. have built dynamic, flexible, and transparent workplaces built on trust,” said Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. “This gives companies on this list a powerful opportunity not just to do well for their people, but also to do well for their businesses.”

To celebrate our inclusion on the list, ATC will donate $1,000 to the United Way Reducing Barriers for Employment Advancement fund. The fund helps United Way and its partners close the employment gap and significantly reduce barriers and challenges to stable employment for diverse individuals across our region.

Congratulations and thank you to our employees, whether working remotely or in the office, for continuing to make ATC a great workplace.

ATC’s storage as transmission project featured on podcast

American Transmission Co.’s proposed Waupaca Area Storage Project was recently featured in the Electric Wire podcast produced by The Customers First Coalition.

Strategic Projects Director Bob McKee explained the need drivers, timeline and benefits of the project in an interview with CFC Executive Director Kristin Gilkes.

The costs of energy storage are dropping and in certain circumstances it has advantages over wires and other traditional transmission equipment. The Waupaca Area Storage Project is less expensive than an alternative to rebuild a transmission line in the area. The project includes a 2.5 MW/5 MWh lithium ion battery and what would be the first storage as transmission project in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator footprint. The battery is proposed to be interconnected at the Harrison North Substation and would increase area transmission reliability and operational flexibility. The project has an estimated $8 million capital cost and the currently proposed in-service date is Dec. 31, 2021.

ATC has been among the key stakeholders that have worked with MISO since 2018 to develop tariff revisions which will enable storage to be recognized as a transmission asset, providing another tool that ATC can use to reliably and cost-effectively serve customers. Those tariff revisions were recently conditionally approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which required MISO to make some clarifications. It is anticipated that the MISO Board of Directors will include the project in the regional plan after those clarifications are approved by FERC.

The Customers First Coalition is an alliance of Wisconsin utilities, wholesale electric suppliers, renewable energy advocates and utility workers that advocates for policies that protect electric customer interests, promote electric reliability and affordable energy. ATC owners Madison Gas & Electric and WPPI Energy are members of CFC.

ATC helps Pittsville and Waupaca replace trees lost in 2019 storms

In July 2019, a series of severe storms tore through central and northern Wisconsin, causing Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to declare a state of emergency. The “derecho” – a rare storm that walls of wind that streak hundreds of miles at high speeds – toppled trees throughout the region.

Two central Wisconsin cities were  both impacted by the storms, but with the help of American Transmission Co.’s Community Planting Program they were able to replace some of the trees they lost.

Both cities received grants of more than $1,000 to replace trees. The city of Pittsville planted several elm, swamp white oak, tamarack and hackberry. The city of Waupaca planted 14 trees – a mix of maple, swamp white oaks, planetrees, snowcap Japanese lilacs and boulevard lindens.

All trees were planted a safe distance from utility lines to support the safety and reliability of the electric system. The different tree species also help increase each city’s tree diversity, along with providing shade and additional natural beauty to the communities.

ATC’s Community Planting Program enables us to encourage and support communities to plant trees and vegetation that beautify the landscape in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system.

The Program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in ATC’s service area for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way. Program funds can be used to plant trees and other tall-growing vegetation. Since 2013, ATC has awarded approximately 240 communities and organizations with funds totaling more than $425,000.

Community Planting Program applications are currently being accepted through Sept. 30, 2020. Recipients will be selected by the end of the year. Additional information can be found at atc-GrowSmart.com.