American Transmission Co.

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Blog | American Transmission Co. - Part 5

Boss Lift showcases Air National Guard mission to employers

Two American Transmission Co. leaders were among several employers of Minnesota National Guard airmen who participated in the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Boss Lift held recently at the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn.

Duane Schoon, ATC director of real time operations, and Kristie Erickson, ATC manager, system control, were nominated to participate by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. and ATC System Control Operator Chace Parask, who has served in the U.S. Military for 24 years.

The ESGR is a Department of Defense program that aims to promote a culture in which employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the U.S. National Guard and Reserve. Through the Boss Lift program, employers are transported, via military vehicle, aircraft or vessel, to military facilities where they observe Guard and Reserve members on duty.

Schoon and Erickson arrived at the wing in Duluth early on Sept. 13 and received a briefing about the 148th Fighter Wing provided by the public affairs officer and the unit executive officer. The morning also included a safety brief by a pilot from the 128th Air Refueling Wing from Milwaukee. The employers would ride in a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft that flew up from Milwaukee the night before for the refueling exercise.

“We also had a tour of the fighter wing’s maintenance hangar before we boarded the tanker for the refueling exercise,” Schoon said. “There was a 3-to-4-hour weather delay, but we finally were able to take off around 1 p.m. The approximate 2-hour flight was an exercise to practice refueling the F-16 fighter jets from 148th Fighter Wing.”

Schoon said he was impressed with the professionalism and the sense of mission Parask and his unit displayed. “They are, for very good reasons, very proud of their mission, their service, and their accomplishments. I was also reminded of the sacrifices the service members like Chace and their families make to protect our country,” he said.

Erickson said she enjoyed seeing Chace in his element and speaking with those he works with on the base. “Many people shared how much they like working with Chace. They reaffirmed the enthusiasm and commitment Chace brings to our team here at ATC.”

She is proud of ATC’s commitment to supporting military members. “Numerous people thanked Duane and myself that day for supporting Chace in his reserve duties and when he was deployed for a year, but the real thanks goes to ATC for giving us the resources to support that commitment.”

ATC recognized by Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council

For the fourth consecutive year, American Transmission Co. received recognition as a Green Professional organization by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council Green Masters program.

The Green Masters Program identifies nine key areas that define business sustainability: energy, carbon, water, waste management, transportation, supply chain, education and outreach, workforce and governance. Participants must apply each year and are scored on how well they perform in each category.

The program encourages continuous improvement by offering three levels of achievement: Green Apprentice, Green Professional and Green Master. ATC’s Green Professional status has improved each year as we identify actions to take toward greater sustainability.

For example, this year our score improved significantly in the workforce category with the expansion of our employee wellness program to encourage sustainable life practices in health, money management and environmental stewardship.

We continue to score well in education and outreach with our volunteer efforts to educate high school and middle school students about our industry, as well as our Grow Smart and pollinator planting programs, and relationships with environmentally friendly organizations such as Riveredge Nature Center.

We are proud of the Green Professional achievement and continue to look for areas of improvement to support our environmental commitment.

ATC ahead of the curve when it comes to driving electric

It’s National Drive Electric Week, and at American Transmission Co., we drive green all year long.

Three years ago, ATC purchased a small fleet of Chevrolet Volts as part of a grassroots effort by employees to find a more environmentally friendly option for company travel.

Called REVs, the vehicles save fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce costs. ATC provides charging stations at its offices for use by both the REV fleet and employees’ personal electric vehicles.

One of those employees, Erika, shared that her family has owned plug-in hybrid vehicles for about five years. Both she and her husband currently drive electric vehicles.

“We were interested in electric vehicles as a significant way of reducing our carbon footprint,” she said. “Since investing in these vehicles, we have discovered several additional benefits.”

Both cars are quiet, and Erika’s hybrid averages about 70 mpg over the course of the year – higher in summer and lower in winter. She’s grateful for the opportunity to charge her vehicle at ATC.

“At this point, we would not have it any other way and look forward to being fully electric in the future,” she said.

Supporting STEM in schools

American Transmission Co. is committed to helping bolster science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, courses in schools. Employees visit middle and high schools throughout ATC’s footprint to share their own stories about successful careers in STEM. ATC also helps schools design projects that give students real-world experience solving engineering problems.

Fairview School’s second graders work with employees and teachers on building carriers for an egg-drop project.

We are a proud partner of Milwaukee Public Schools and their Adopt-a-School Program. Our Fairview School is a K-8 school that educates using STEM curriculum in all grade levels. Since 2017, we have worked with Fairview to support classroom projects, tours of our headquarters and provide industry career education for students.

Employees volunteered as judges for the STEM Forward Future City Competition in spring of 2019.

Last year, several ATC employees supported STEM Forward’s Future City Competition, a national program that encourages students to use STEM to solve real-world problems. The challenge to students was to design a city that addressed age-related accessibility issues. Students created a virtual city, wrote a 1,500-word essay, created a physical model and drafted a project plan.

Our employees enjoy these opportunities to share their expertise and support the education of future engineers and industry experts.

Deadline to apply to community planting programs is Sept. 30

Trees and vegetation are among the features that make communities special places for residents and visitors. American Transmission Co. offers two ways for applicants to create green spaces by planting vegetation: the Community Planting Program and the Pollinator Habitat Program.

ATC’s Community Planting Program encourages the growth of trees or tall growing vegetation the smart way – a safe distance away from electric transmission lines. This program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in our service area for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way.

ATC’s Pollinator Habitat Program provides funding for site preparation; purchasing seed, plugs or plants; labor and installation; or other activities to establish quality pollinator habitat within a transmission line right-of-way. This type of compatible vegetation can thrive within transmission line rights‑of‑way, making utility corridors ideal for pollinators – which benefit from the utility corridor as a flight path. Cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and entities that allow public access to ATC rights-of-way (e.g. nature preserves, non-profits or public land managers) within ATC’s service area are eligible to apply for financial support of projects through the Pollinator Habitat Program.

Awards range from $100 to $5,000, based on funding. More information about how these programs work can be found here. Applications are due Sept. 30, 2019, and recipients will be selected and notified by the end of the calendar year.