Blog | American Transmission Co. - Part 2
It may not be the experience they envisioned, but American Transmission Co. interns are making the most of their virtual internships as they pursue their academic and career goals.
Fifteen college students participated in this year’s virtual internship program, hailing from some of the region’s best universities, including UW-Madison, Purdue University, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Platteville and Marquette University Law School.
The interns worked part-time and as in previous years, participated in volunteer activities including the virtual United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s Intern Day of Action. This year’s internship program included many virtual activities tailored to optimize the interns’ remote working experiences and help them stay connected and engaged. The onboarding program included a work-from-home ergonomics session and virtual substation and system operations center tours. ATC leaders, mentors and others worked to ensure the interns experienced the best that ATC has to offer while working remotely.
Brandon Dobrowski attends UW-Platteville where he’s pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis in power and controls. He had great things to say about ATC’s company culture.
“My first impression of ATC was how well this company was run and how amazing the people are that work for ATC,” he said. “Every person I have met with and spoken to are some of the nicest and most welcoming people I have ever engaged with. If I have a question on something, there are multiple people that are more than willing to help me and guide me down the right path.”
Dobrowski worked with the T-Line services department on lightning correlation research. “I have been going through the outages of 2019 and writing lightning summaries for each outage that is correlated to lightning. I am now going through all the data and will be searching for commonalities and other interesting correlations. Hopefully, I will be part of writing a research paper on the interesting findings involved with lightning correlations.”
Kallie Maas attends the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in Spanish. She interned in the ratings department at ATC.
“I work both independently and in small groups with the ratings team on different tasks and initiatives to benefit both the company and my professional development,” Maas said. “One project has been filing road construction documents into a company database called ETRAILS to organize the projects taking place near the transmission lines. My main project has been the change point detection initiative, where I identify new objects near the transmission lines and rights of way using GIS software.”
Maas’ experiences at ATC incorporated the company’s values of We Care, We Challenge, We Commit, We Communicate, We Compete and We Celebrate.
“My work here at ATC really incorporated the ATC values because it challenges our company and shows how we care about our customers,” she said. “The change point detection initiative is a cost-effective way to monitor our lines, so we can identify clearance concerns in the right of way and correct them. This allows us to operate the grid in the safest manner for our customers and those who live near the right of way.”
The Village of Mount Pleasant recently added 388 native flowering plants to the Pike River Pathway thanks to a $5,000 ATC Pollinator Habitat Program grant. By interspersing native plants with existing vegetation under the ATC right-of-way, the Village expects to increase plant diversity and improve pollinator food sources and habitat.
Some of the native plants, including the 65 wetland-loving white turtlehead forbs, provide substances that build up bumble bees’ immune systems. Native bumble bees – like the federally endangered rusty patched bumble bee that was first observed in the pathway area in 2018 – will seek out the plants if they encounter harmful things in their environment.
To support monarch butterfly reproduction, the Village planted roughly 130 milkweed plants – the only food source for monarch caterpillars. Other plants, like wild columbine, shooting stars and prairie spiderwort will provide early spring food sources for bees and butterflies. Native cup plants – a goldfinch favorite – are expected to crowd out crown vetch, an invasive species.
The three-day planting session was not without its challenges. A team of four – wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing – had to contend with dry, clay-filled soil. When hand trowels proved too difficult, the team added a large drill bit to a power tool to dig the holes.
The Pike River Pathway is a multiuse trail that extends from Old Spring Street to County Highway KR in Racine County. It is part of the Pike River project, an ecologically based watershed restoration and management plan for the Pike River watershed.
ATC’s Pollinator Habitat Program promotes planting low-growing vegetation within a transmission line right-of-way to beautify communities 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, as well as entities that allow public access to ATC rights-of-way (e.g. nature preserves, non-profits or public land managers).
In addition to the Pollinator Habitat Program, ATC’s Community Planting Program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in its 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 outside the transmission line rights-of-way.
Applications for the Community Planting Program and Pollinator Habitat Program are accepted July 1 through Sept. 30 each year, and recipients will be selected by the end of the calendar year. Awards range from $100 to $5,000. Since 2013, ATC has awarded approximately 240 communities and organizations with funds totaling more than $425,000. Additional information and program applications can be found at atc-GrowSmart.com.
With the Milwaukee Bucks back to finish the 2019-2020 NBA season, we’re excited to give more trees to Wisconsin schools! Through the Trees for Threes partnership, ATC awards eligible Wisconsin schools with one tree for every three point shot the Bucks make at home during the regular season. The Bucks had already made 451 three-pointers before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season in March.
With the season resuming, schools have until Aug. 15 to sign up to receive up to five trees from ATC. An educational infographic and a classroom activity sheet also are available at nba.com/bucks/trees
With the teams all in Orlando, it may not be as obvious when the Bucks have the home court advantage. The Bucks will play four games at “home” on July 31, Aug. 4, Aug. 6 and Aug. 11. The remaining four games are considered “away” and will be played on Aug. 2, Aug. 8, Aug. 11 and Aug. 13.
The Bucks were leading the season with an NBA-best 53-12 winning streak when play was halted in March and hope to bring an NBA Championship title back to Milwaukee.
American Transmission Co. has been named a Top Workplace by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for the seventh consecutive year. ATC was number 8 on the medium-sized companies list, receiving special recognition for training based on a standout score with 70.3% of ATC survey participants answering favorably to the following statement: I get the training I want for my career.
The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 drivers of engaged cultures that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.
ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe said, “We’re honored to be named a Top Workplace, especially because it is our employees who made this happen. They inspire me every day as we help keep the lights on, particularly during these extraordinary times.”
To celebrate, ATC will make a $1,000 contribution to an organization in Southeast Wisconsin that helps people with job training, employment and financial stability chosen by its employees.
Though dealing with COVID-19 has its challenges, acts of generosity and kindness can be found all around us. To support American Transmission Co.’s essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems donated 900 first-class industrial face coverings to us. Since ATC already had an ample supply of face coverings, we decided to pay it forward and donate them to organizations in our service area who needed them.
Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems President and CEO said, “As we are fully aware how this pandemic can affect business operation and everyday lives of the citizens in North America, we would like to offer a small donation of disposable respirators to become part of supporting your company and community.”
ATC chose organizations that were either actively looking or that our employees recommended to receive the face covering donations. With the spread of the virus escalating in our service area, and recent local orders and ordinances making wearing face coverings mandatory, the donations were more than welcome.
We are grateful to Hyundai Electric and have donated the face coverings to the following organizations:
- Upper Peninsula Power Company, Ishpeming, Mich.
- Trees for Tomorrow, Eagle River, Wis.
- Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee
- The Women’s Center of Waukesha
- Paul’s Pantry, Green Bay
- Goodman Community Center, Madison
It is our hope that these donations help these organizations in their efforts to continue serving the community safely during the pandemic.