American Transmission Co.

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Blog | American Transmission Co. - Part 5

ATC mourns the loss of its first CEO José Delgado

José Delgado, American Transmission Co.’s first President and CEO, passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2021, after suffering a massive stroke a week prior. ATC employees mourn his passing and have his family, friends and the many people he touched throughout his life in our thoughts and prayers.

Those who were fortunate enough to work with Delgado knew him as an inspirational leader who was welcoming, enthusiastic, compassionate and honest. He was vibrant and engaging, and you felt his presence when he walked into a room.

Delgado oversaw the creation of ATC and served as President and Chief Executive Officer of ATC from Jan. 1, 2001, until April 2009 when he became Executive Chairman of the Board of ATC. He retired from ATC on February 28, 2010, and after retiring, continued his involvement in public service activities, electric industry issues and countless industry and corporate boards.

Delgado spent the 27 years prior to ATC at Wisconsin Electric Power Co., beginning his career as an electrical engineer and ending as vice president of electric system operations when he was named to lead the formation of ATC in late 1999. At Wisconsin Electric he worked in the construction, start up and management of fossil power plants. He led the planning, engineering and construction functions and ended up managing the system operations and generation dispatch activities.

The electric transmission industry was Delgado’s passion, he was always striving to make it better. He was the obvious choice to be CEO of the nation’s first multi-state transmission only utility and was committed to making the business model work. He was a visionary and a strong leader to those first employees who took the leap of faith to join this new company and made them believe that ATC would be successful. Delgado took significant risks and was committed to overcoming them and putting ATC on the map.

“Without José’s leadership, ATC would not be the same company it is today,” said President and CEO Mike Rowe. “His approach fostered innovation, teamwork and an entrepreneurial culture that still exists here. We have greatly benefited from the work he did to set us up for success.”

Delgado believed in working together as an industry and led the development of the North American Transmission Forum to improve the whole industry. He cared about people, the community and education, and served on the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents since 2014.

Delgado was a great man who gave so much to our industry and his community, he will always be honored and remembered well at ATC.

Click here to read Delgado’s obituary.

ATC installs nesting platforms in Ashwaubomay Park 

American Transmission Co. and its construction partner, M.J. Electric LLC, recently installed five nesting poles at the north end of the 80-acre Ashwaubomay Park in Ashwaubenon, Wis 

 The poles were installed near the confluence of Ashwaubomay Creek and the Fox River. Each pole contains three nesting platforms, which are installed at different angles to mirror the offset tree branches herons and egrets prefer. 

 “We’re thrilled to add these nesting platforms to Ashwaubomay Park to help further increase avian use and wildlife habitat in the Fox Cities area,” said Rex Mehlberg, director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry for the village of Ashwaubenon. “We’ve seen great blue herons and great egrets in the area and hope that this will entice them to raise their young here.” 

 Great blue herons and great egrets nest colonially near creeks, rivers, lakes and wetlands. Their group of nests is referred to as a rookery based upon the colonial nests of the Eurasian rook, a common bird like a crow that makes a “rook” sound. Rookeries are large, often containing several hundred nests that are used year after year. A rookery location is chosen for its access to food and isolation from predators. 

 The large grayish-blue great blue heron n is the most common heron species in Wisconsin. The large snow-white great egret is considered threatened in Wisconsin. Both species return in the spring to breed and raise their young before departing for their warmer winter homes in the fall.  

 The nesting platform installation was made possible with part of the PCB clean-up funding for the Fox River. The Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant provided matching funds to enhance avian and other wildlife use of the park, including developing fish spawning habitats, invasive species removal and the installation of nesting platforms. 

 ATC donated the steel bases, wooden poles and nesting platforms. M.J. Electric donated the lumber for the nesting platforms and the labor and equipment to install the platforms. Click here to watch a recap of the installation. 

Apply now to ATC’s summer 2021 paid internships

American Transmission Co. is seeking college students for summer 2021 internships in operations training and development, cybersecurity, safety/emergency preparedness, transmission planning and more. Our paid internships help students gain professional experience and prepare for a career in the electric utility industry.

Our student employees can apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations, and experience what it takes to operate the transmission grid that helps to keep the lights on for millions of energy users. We also keep in contact with our interns after graduation and keep them in mind for future open positions.

In summer 2020, ATC welcomed 15 interns remotely due to COVID-19. The interns worked part-time and as in previous years, participated in volunteer activities with United Way, although this year’s volunteer opportunities were virtual. The 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 operations center tours.

Brandon Dobrowski attends the University of Wisconsin—Platteville where he’s pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis in power and controls. He interned last summer in substation services and 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.”

Visit ATC’s Careers page to view and apply for current internship opportunities.

Stevens Point continues prairie restoration thanks to ATC

Stevens Point, Wis., continued restoring a prairie within Koziczkowski Park in 2020 thanks to a $2,500 grant from American Transmission Co.’s Pollinator Habitat program.

The city, along with its partners from the Aldo Leopold Audubon Society and the Bill Cook Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, seeded the prairie this summer and again this fall.

This is the second consecutive year the city has received a grant from ATC for the Koziczkowski Park prairie, which will create habitat for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Last year the city and its partnership prepared the area, including removing invasive garlic mustard plants.

One of Stevens Point’s premiere bird watching locations, Kozcizkowski Park is adjacent to the 5.5-acre Godfrey and Maybelle Erickson Natural Area, an important “rest area” for many migratory birds like the scarlet tanager and Baltimore oriole, which is managed by the Aldo Leopold Audubon Society. The park’s half mile walking trail is part of the area’s 27-mile Green Circle nature trail.

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).

Applications for the 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.

ATC awards $65,000 to 25 recipients for planting projects

American Transmission Co. has collectively awarded $65,000 to 25 recipients across its service area to plant trees and low-growing vegetation through its Community Planting and Pollinator Habitat programs. Now in its eighth year, ATC has given more than 265 community awards for these projects totaling nearly $500,000.

Vegetation funded through the Community Planting Program requires that communities plant trees outside of high-voltage transmission line rights-of-way. Low-growing, compatible vegetation funded through the Pollinator Habitat Program allows entities to cultivate species within the rights-of-way that benefit pollinator food and habitat. Both programs help maintain electric reliability of the transmission system by keeping tall-growing vegetation outside the rights-of-way.

Recipients of both programs commit to comply with ATC’s maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines.

Pollinator Habitat Program Recipients

“Part of the reason for the recent decline in pollinator populations is due to loss of habitat,” said ATC Environmental Project Manager Johanna Sievewright. “The Pollinator Habitat Program promotes vegetation that is both compatible with our vegetation management practices and it provides habitat for pollinators, which use the utility corridor as a flight path.”

The following entities received grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to support pollinator habitat projects:

Community Planting Program Recipients

“We recognize that trees and vegetation are among the features that make communities special places for residents and visitors,” said ATC Vegetation Management Manager Michelle Stokes. “While we can’t allow trees or tall‑growing vegetation in our rights‑of‑way, ATC’s Community Planting Program encourages and supports communities to plant trees and vegetation that will beautify communities in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system.”

The following entities received amounts ranging from $800 to $5,000 for planting projects on public property, outside the rights-of-way:

Both the Community Planting Program and Pollinator Planting Program are part of ATC’s Grow Smart® initiative, which advocates for and provides suggestions of low-growing, compatible vegetation that can be planted adjacent to and within transmission line rights-of-way. Applications are accepted June 1 through Sept. 30.