American Transmission Co.

Helping to keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong®

Blog | American Transmission Co. - Part 38

Communities across ATC’s service area are ‘digging’ Arbor Day

_DSC3051Ah…Arbor Day. It doesn’t invoke nearly the same zeal as Labor Day or Memorial Day, though perhaps it should. Arbor Day originated in Nebraska in 1872, where it’s estimated that approximately one million trees were initially planted to commemorate it.

_DSC3035While their numbers won’t reach millions, the cities of De Pere and Stevens Point, Wis., have planted dozens of trees in their communities to mark the day and the funding they received from ATC through our Community Planting Program, which is part of ATC’s Grow Smart® initiative.

Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza was aided by local third graders in planting ten trees on a city boulevard. In De Pere, students from a local elementary school partnered with the city par_DSC3041ks department to plant 12 fruit trees on the school’s property.

Thirty-seven other communities received funding in 2015 for a total of $60,000 through the Community Planting Program, which is now in its fourth year. To qualify, communities must apply and agree to plant the trees and other vegetation outside of high-voltage transmission line rights-of-way and commit to complying with ATC’s maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans.

By making their communities greener, they’re also doing their part to keep the lights on – just by planting their trees away from power lines.

ATC named to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplace list

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces list ranks ATC No. 3

American Transmission Co. has been selected as one of the 2016 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin for the third consecutive year.

This is the seventh year the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has published the list of top area workplaces, and the fourth time ATC has been nominated and named to the list. This year, ATC is number 3 on the list of midsize companies, up from its number 4 position last year.

The top workplaces are determined based on feedback from an employee survey conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, an organizational health and employee engagement research firm. ATC scored well above its peer organizations in the electric utility industry when it comes to efficiency and being open to new ideas.

“People learn, grow and stay here to enjoy our spirited one-team culture that values collaboration and innovation,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “Being honored as a top workplace is credit to our employees, who are among the best in our industry.”

Last fall, ATC also ranked among the nation’s top-25 medium-sized Great Places to Work as published in FORTUNE magazine. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will publish its complete list of top workplaces this weekend.

ATC announces nine promotions

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Paul Roehr

Rusch, Bob-web

Bob Rusch

In recognition of sustained business growth, American Transmission Co. has expanded its leadership team. Paul Roehr has been named vice president, system operations; Robert Rusch has been named vice president, finance and accounting; and seven managers have been elevated to director positions.

Roehr joined ATC in 2008 as director of reliability and interconnections after nearly 20 years at Madison Gas and Electric Co. He became director of system operations in 2011, and is now responsible for overseeing real-time operations, forward operations, energy management systems and corporate security. Roehr, a registered Professional Engineer, earned a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Business Administration from Edgewood College.

Rusch joined ATC in 2008 after 17 years of service in treasury, risk management, finance and operations at Alliant Energy/Wisconsin Power and Light. At ATC, he is responsible for all aspects of treasury, financial planning, general accounting, tax, and financial reporting and analysis. Rusch is a Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Public Accountant. He earned his bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Seven managers were promoted to directors: Greg Levesque, environmental and local relations; Randy Karls, customer relations and interconnection services; Bob McKee, regulatory relations and policy; Roger Ripp, project controls office; Duane Schoon, asset maintenance and commissioning; Anne Spaltholz, corporate communications; and Jim Vespalec, asset planning and engineering.

ATC honored for living United

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ATC’s Jackie Olson, corporate communications consultant, second from left, and COO Mark Davis, second from right, accepted a Brown County United Way leadership award on behalf of ATC from campaign chair, Mike Bettiga, far left, and Greg Maass, president and CEO of Brown County United Way, far right.

Wisconsin’s Brown County United Way recently honored American Transmission Co. with with the Best Company Leadership/CEO Support award for our 2015 campaign. The organization recognized both Chief Operating Officer Mark Davis and CEO Mike Rowe for their involvement and enthusiasm for United Way, and for our increase in employee participation over the previous year.

Davis and Rowe personally visited all five company locations to kick off the campaign. At each site, their enthusiasm for United Way and their remarks were heartfelt and motivational.

The two were recognized specifically for their efforts to incorporate the ATC value of “fun” into the 2015 campaign, including the company-wide bag-toss tournament dubbed the United Way Throwdown. The events resulted in a 46 percent participation rate in United Way giving, meaning that with the company match, we contributed more than $150,000 to local campaigns.

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Our United Way and Milwaukee Bucks Free Throw Challenge team warming up before taking it to the line.

ATC’s excellent participation in the 2015 United Way campaign also earned us the privilege to compete in the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and Milwaukee Bucks Free Throw Challenge at the Mary Ryan Boys and Girls Club in Milwaukee, Wis. Our team made it through a tough tie-breaker in the first round. After a valiant effort at the line, we were edged out in the second round, but we did get kudos from United Way for being the best-dressed team at the event.

National Engineers Week: ATC engineers share their stories

ATC is powered by engineers of several different disciplines. From electrical to civil, computer to industrial, we salute our engineers for helping us plan, design, build, maintain and keep our data secure to help keep the lights on.

In honor of National Engineers Week, we asked a few of our engineers to tell us why engineering is the field for them.


Ruchi S., senior transmission planning engineer

“I’m an electrical power systems engineer. I grew up in India where if you are a good student you are expected to take up math and science and are expected to become either an engineer or doctor. I really wanted to be a doctor growing up, but to do that you have to sit for competitive exams where only a few hundred are selected from a pool of a million students. I ended up succeeding in both of the exams, but I didn’t get into the mainstream medical field. Instead I ended up making the cut into dental sciences and electrical engineering. I opted for the latter, which I thought was cooler than having to fix people’s teeth. That’s how I became an engineer and I have loved it ever since. I also have bragging rights since I am the first and only female engineer in my immediate and extended family.

“The thing I love most about being an engineer, specifically a power systems engineer, is that I am able to contribute towards ensuring that people can have access to one of the basic necessities of modern life, electricity, and that in itself is very gratifying. It’s a career that has taught me to constantly innovate and be in constant learning mode and is a career which  pays well and makes me financially independent.”


Greg H., asset support engineer

“I am an industrial engineer. I decided to become an engineer because I always enjoyed tinkering, problem-solving and figuring out how things work (and to prove to my high school calculus teacher that I really could do it!).  Marquette University had a young scholars program that I participated in in high school that gave prospective students a taste of the various engineering disciplines they offered. I enjoyed the industrial engineering curriculum because of the variety of work that IE’s do, from making operating room scheduling at hospitals more efficient to making factories more productive to helping electric utilities operate better.

“What I enjoy most about being an engineer is that each day brings a new challenge which requires continuous learning. The great thing about being an engineer at ATC is that the company supports continual learning by supporting formal training, but also through the informal transfer of knowledge to and from the other engineers with whom I work. I am always amazed at the level engineering expertise at this company and the willingness of those who share it.”


Barbara M., major project manager

“I am a civil engineer with an emphasis in transportation. My dad was a civil engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and he was very good at what he did. I realized early on in college that the money was better in the engineering field than in education, where I initially began my college career.

“I like problem solving, and the fact that every problem is different. No two engineering projects are the same; each project has unique problems that are solved in different ways. I also like that to move forward in engineering, you need to keep up with technology and keep up with projects. I like to keep learning something new. Engineering is definitely a team effort, and I like working with other people to make a project successful.”




Logan B., associate system protection engineer

“I’m an electrical engineer with emphases in power and energy, as well as controls. I also have a sustainable and renewable energy systems minor from UW-Platteville. In the years leading up to college, I imagined I would be a civil engineer – I always liked seeing the physical make-up of things, such as how the static and material properties of a bridge worked. But I was persuaded into electrical engineering by Dr. David Drury (he gave many UW-Platteville EE grads some unforgettable college stories) because of my good math skills. Performing circuit analysis was always like a puzzle to me, and the problems have become more complex and challenging as I’ve developed as an engineer. This reaffirms my decision to become an electrical engineer, and I couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds!

“I enjoy being an engineer because it offers exciting challenges on a day-to-day basis. While working at ATC, I’ve strived to learn the intricacies of each department and how ATC’s holistic attitude has made us a great company to work for and work with. Like the typical engineer, I love to know the “how” and “why” to everything, yet fully realize we must rely on and leverage others’ skill sets to be the best team. Having an engineering background is also a great benefit for everyday life, whether it’s forming a budget, working on projects at home, or understanding causes and effects personally, economically, nationally and globally. Life is like an equation with some basic inputs and outputs. Hard work + family + fun = success!”