American Transmission Co.

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Melinda Myers showcases how to Grow Smart® for pollinator migration

The Monarch butterflies have begun their annual migration from Wisconsin to central Mexico, where they will spend the winter.

Did you know that Monarchs:

  • …Fly 50 miles per day for approximately 1,500 miles to get to their winter home?
  • …Need an abundance of nectar in the fall to supply them with the energy they need to fly all the way to Mexico?
  • …Spend the entire winter in Mexico and fly back to the southern U.S. to lay eggs on young milkweed plants?
  • …Can only raise their young on milkweed? (Wisconsin is home to about a dozen species of milkweeds including common milkweed, swamp milkweed and butterfly milkweed.)

Check out this new Monarch butterfly video featuring nationally known gardening expert and horticulturist Melinda Myers, who offers Grow Smart tips for helping these winged beauties get off to a great start on their migration.

Meanwhile, it’s not too early to start planning what you can do to help the pollinators when they return in the spring! Check out Melinda’s additional suggestions for habitat and vegetation that will benefit bees and hummingbirds, too.

ATC and Milwaukee Bucks team up for third year of Trees for Threes program

On Friday, Oct. 19, the Milwaukee Bucks will kick off the 2018-19 season at home in their new stadium, Fiserv Forum. While their ambiance is new, and not to mention, coach – one thing isn’t: ATC’s  partnership with them.

This year marks the third season that ATC has aligned with the Bucks on the Trees for Threes program and it’s no surprise why – it’s a beneficial relationship for communities and schools. The Bucks score a 3-pointer at home, and a Wisconsin school in our service area scores a tree.

“Our partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Trees for Threes program is a win for local schools and the environment,” said ATC’s Director of Corporate Communications, Anne Spaltholz. “ATC supports initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment, education, and health and well-being. Planting trees at schools aligns well with these initiatives, and we’re proud to continue our relationship with the Bucks to help accomplish this.”

During the 2016-17 season, the Bucks scored 343 3-pointers at home resulting in plantings at 83 schools. Last year, the Bucks bumped up the 3-pointer total to 355. This season, we anticipate even more. We were flooded with gratitude from many of the recipients last season. Below are the comments from just a few of them:

“I just wanted to be sure to thank you, American Transmission Company, and the Milwaukee Bucks for awarding us through the Trees for Threes program! We have planted four trees near our high school sports facility, where parents and athletes remind us that some shade would be nice!  We plan to purchase a couple more, thanks to this fantastic program!”
Kathy Klos
Viroqua High School Principal
Viroqua, WI

“On behalf of the entire Village of Waunakee, we would like to say THANK YOU again to ATC and the Milwaukee Bucks. This award was supplemented with funds from our parks budget and we were able to plant 31 trees earlier this month. We selected a wide variety of trees including maple, birch, ginkgo, oak, cypress spruce and flowering pears.”
Susan E. S. McDade
Community Services Director
Waunakee, WI

“Your recent gift for the donation made through the Trees for Threes program makes it possible for Catholic Memorial High School to educate, guide and prepare young people who will distinguish themselves from all their talented peers.”
Donna Bembenek
President, Catholic Memorial High School
Waukesha, WI

“The staff and students at Humke Elementary School would like to take a moment and thank you for selecting our school in the Trees for Threes program. We are excited to plant the trees at our school and will have many years of joy watching them grow and prosper – just like we have with our students.”
Jon Sprehn
Humke Elementary School Principal
Nekoosa, WI

“I am writing with deep gratitude for the Trees for Threes program. This gift will allow us to improve the grounds of our school and make a positive environmental impact. It is important to promote strong environmental values to our students, as well as provide a beautiful campus.”
Anthony McHenry
Chief Executive Officer, Milwaukee Academy of Science
Milwaukee, WI

Read more in the Bucks’ news release.

United We Care campaign full of fun and generosity

Giving to United Way is part of ATC’s commitment to the communities we serve. We just completed this year’s United We Care campaign, raising a total of $214,468, including employee pledges, special event fundraising and company match. This was a 16 percent increase over last year’s campaign. Working together with United Way, we are happy to support programs that make our communities stronger, safer and more united.

We owe the success of the campaign in part to the fun events employees planned to help raise awareness of the campaign.

Our De Pere employees set up a United We Care mini-golf course in the office for a one-day event that included employee hole sponsors and great prizes. Employees, and some of their family members, got creative to make it challenging, building obstacles into the course like an aerial saw in a transmission-line right-of-way.

We brought back our United Way Throwdown bag-toss tournament and United Way Trivia Jam. Both games take place companywide with teams at each office across our footprint holding preliminary rounds. The winning teams played final rounds in the Pewaukee headquarters at the campaign closing celebration.

In Madison, employees brought delicious fixings for a taco bar lunch to raise funds. And our Cottage Grove employees used their backyard basketball hoop for a ‘Round the World basketball challenge and food drive to benefit Second Harvest.

The spirit of giving and the camaraderie generated during the campaign were a genuine reflection of our campaign theme, United We Care.

Notes from the Field – Branch River Substation a haven for pollinators

Editor’s note: September in northeastern Wisconsin. Fall colors start to hint at future glory, native plants go to seed, providing nourishment for wildlife, while delicate asters and black-eyed Susans remain to offer bursts of color on the landscape. In wetter years, mosquitoes also make a bold stand and swarm alongside the butterflies and bees that are drawn to any of the many American Transmission Co. Pollinator planting sites. It’s the quintessential summer swan song.

ATC environmental project managers traverse hills and countryside monitoring construction activities year-round. They are the eyes and ears in the field, working with contractors to ensure that we demonstrate our environmental commitment.

Our Notes from the Field blog features highlights of what our environmental project managers see while they work on projects throughout our service area. This installment features photos and observations from Erika Biemann, ATC senior environmental project manager.

Prior to joining ATC, Erika worked for the City of Milwaukee and an engineering consulting firm. Biemann’s experience includes environmental project management, environmental site investigations, remediation, hydrogeology and waste management.

Biemann holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology with an emphasis in environmental studies from Lawrence University and a master of science degree in biological sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Biemann’s graduate research focus was limnology and aquatic biology.

Biemann enjoys volunteering through ATC’s Green Team and Days of Caring programs. Biemann also is involved in school parent organizations and helps manage youth sports teams.


The Branch River Substation, Town of Cato, Wis., was placed in service this year. But long before the power began flowing, environmental assessments, site-specific engineering and a comprehensive planting and drainage plan were developed by the project team. Members of the team recently visited the site to view progress.

Supporting school-based food pantries in southern Wisconsin

American Transmission Co. is getting into the back-to-school spirit by partnering with Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin to help support Merrill Elementary School Pantry in Beloit, the Southwest Technical College Food Pantry in Fennimore, and the Mobile Pantry program in Platteville.

“Support for our school-based food pantries, and our mobile pantries is critical,” says Dan Stein, President/CEO for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. “We’re grateful to ATC for their support of those in our community who struggle to make ends meet.”

In addition to monetary contributions, Dane County employees volunteer their time. Information about volunteering is available at

ATC’s contribution will be used to:

  • Cover 40 percent of the annual food cost and provide nearly 12,000 pounds of food through the Beloit School Pantry to at least 60 different families and 125 children annually
  • Cover nearly 50 percent of the annual food costs and provide nearly 6,500 pounds of food to the Southwest Technical College Food Pantry – which serves about 60 households per month
  • Cover nearly three months of food costs and provide nearly 19,500 pounds of food to 100 households per month at the Platteville Mobile Pantry

Pat, a food pantry recipient, is trying to raise grandchildren and great-grandchildren on a fixed income.

“The school food pantry program has been a lifesaver for my family. So many families would be going without, and the children really need it,” Pat said.