American Transmission Co.

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

Blog | American Transmission Co. - Part 60

This weekend: Tosa Garden Tour

It seems hard to believe, but July is here and summer is finally upon us. For the gardeners and landscapers out there, the warm weather is a welcome relief from this slow growing season. Getting the appropriate grasses, flowers and plants to come up at the right time — much less thrive — has been a challenge, but there’s still hope!

Melinda Myers
If you’re still working on cultivating that perfect space in your yard and need some inspiration, check out what a few others have accomplished at the Tosa Garden Tour, this Saturday, July 12. If you have specific gardening or landscaping questions, renowned Wisconsin gardening expert, TV/radio host and author Melinda Myers will be on site to provide tips at the Kanavas Landscape Management booth from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

While you’re there, take home some purple coneflower seed packets, courtesy of American Transmission Co. Once these hearty perennials bloom, they’ll have no problem attracting birds and butterflies. The little gardener in your life will appreciate the “Growing Gardeners” activity booklet too, including information about the purple coneflowers, so make sure to pick up one of those as well.

Rain or shine, the garden tour is on. Sign up here and we’ll see you this weekend in Wauwatosa!

ATC named one of the top workplaces in southeast Wisconsin

It’s time to celebrate! On Sunday, June 8, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published the 2014 list of Top Workplaces in southeast Wisconsin, and we’re on it! The list recognizes area businesses and organizations whose employees find their jobs most rewarding and meaningful. 
The evaluation was based on employee responses to a survey about ATC’s values, execution, leadership, culture, job satisfaction and overall feelings about working at the company. ATC was nominated for consideration last fall, and 90 percent of ATC’s Pewaukee-based employees responded to the survey.
This is the fifth year the Journal has published the list. ATC has been nominated twice, and we’ve won twice – this year and in 2011.
As ATC aims to be the premier national energy delivery company, these opportunities help us evaluate what we are doing right, and how we can improve upon making employees’ experience at ATC a great one.
We are honored to have been selected for the award, particularly as the judges are our employees.
Click here to check out ATC’s company profile and herefor the full list of top southeast Wisconsin workplaces.

ATC named one of the top workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces list names 150 best area employers

PEWAUKEE, WIS. — American Transmission Co. has been selected as one of the 2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Top Workplaces are determined based on feedback from an employee survey, conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, an organizational health and employee engagement research firm. This is the fifth year the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has worked with Workplace Dynamics, LLP to develop and publish the list of top area workplaces, and this is the second time ATC has been nominated and named to the list.

Approximately 90 percent of ATC’s Milwaukee-area employees responded to the survey, which asked questions about ATC’s values, execution, leadership, culture, job satisfaction and overall feelings about working at the company. As ATC strives to become the premier national energy delivery company, surveys such as this help highlight how practices in place at ATC are experienced by employees.

“Every day, we strive to be a company where employees enjoy their work. The best way to gauge how we are doing is to ask our employees for feedback,” said ATC President and CEO John Procario. “It is very gratifying to be recognized as a top workplace, especially since the judges are our employees.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published the complete list over the weekend. Click here for the entire list and here for ATC’s company profile.

PSC announces dates for Badger Coulee scoping sessions

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin this week released the dates, times and locations of six scoping sessions to solicit input from the public to help determine the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement that must be prepared regarding the proposed Badger Coulee Transmission Project. The PSC also mailed notifications to potentially affected property owners.
American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy jointly filed an application with the Public Service Commission to construct a 345,000-volt electric transmission line from north of La Crosse to northern Dane County, Wisconsin.
A flowchart of the PSC’s comprehensive regulatory review process is available here.

More than 90 percent of the approximately 182-mile northern route uses existing utility and Interstate or U.S. Highway corridors, and about 60 percent of the approximately 159-mile southern route uses shared corridors. Both route options have the same end points: Xcel Energy’s new Briggs Road Substation near Holmen and ATC’s North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna, continuing to ATC’s Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton. If the project is approved, the PSC will select the final route. The estimated cost is $540 million to $580 million, depending on the route.
ATC and Xcel Energy anticipate receiving a decision on the project by April 2015.
Anyone interested in this project is invited to attend the PSC’s meetings. The sessions will run from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Dates and locations
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 — Waunakee Village Community Center, 333 S. Madison St., Waunakee
Monday, June 2, 2014 — Town of Holland Town Hall, W7937 County Road MH, Holland
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 — Cashton Community Hall, 811 Main St., Cashton
Thursday, June 5, 2014 — Kalahari Resorts, 1305 Kalahari Dr., Wisconsin Dells
Monday, June 9, 2014 — Comfort Inn and Suites, W10170 Holiday Dr., Black River Falls
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 — Best Western, 1017 East McCoy Blvd., Tomah

ATC employees power through American Birkebeiner race

Each year, more than 13,000 skiers descend upon Cable, Wis., to participate in the storied American Birkebeiner, or Birkie. The 50-kilometer cross-country ski event began in 1973, but the tradition goes back to Norway and the 1200s. Birkebeiners were charged with carrying the young  son of King Sverresson and Inga of Vartieg to safety. They donned birch bark leggings and traversed the mountains and forests of the Osterdalen valley in Norway during the Norwegian Civil War. The child transported to safety by the Birkebeiners was King Haakon Haakonsson IV. Thousands of skiers commemorate this event across the globe each year. Norwegian skiers often will carry a pack that symbolizes the weight of an 18-month-old child. 

Hagman at the end of the race.
Three American Transmission Co. employees joined in the tradition this year and powered through bitter cold to finish the race.
Transmission Planning Engineer Chris Hagman had a warm-up race in sub-zero temperatures weeks prior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, so when the mercury rose above freezing, it was a pleasant surprise for this tough racer.
“Of my seven Birkies, this was definitely the hardest and the slowest,” Hagman said. His girlfriend, Marianne, helped make the race a little more entertaining by organizing a group to provide comic relief and encouragement at a very steep hill just before the end of the race.
Construction Coordinator Paul Roltgen also agreed about the difficulty this year, calling his sixth Birkie the hardest one to date.
“Thursday night prior to the event, the Hayward area had 16-plus inches of snow. The new snow combined with the cold and the strong west wind certainly made it a challenge,” Roltgen said. “To put it into context, I finished 45 minutes slower than my fastest time. I still loved being in the winter wonderland surrounded by woods and upbeat competitors, many who keep coming back year after year.”
And what might a Professional Engineer who works at an electric utility call out as one of the highlights of the race?
“At a certain point after about 9 kilometers, racers travel below a 138-kilovolt circuit. There are hundreds of skate skiers on one side of the right-of-way going up and down the rolling hills right below the lines, while the classic skiers are on the other side doing the same,” said Project Manager Andy Ehlert.
Another highlight for Ehlert is an elaborate drumming display that takes place at the top of a hill.
“At one point at the top of a hill climb we pass by about 50 people from the local Lac Courte Oreilles tribe as they bang loudly on huge drums,” said Ehlert. “The skiers march up the steep hill in rhythm and it is awesome! It gives me goose bumps each time I pass by and really brings home the spirit of the race in that region of Wisconsin.”  

Roltgen warms up by getting into Viking garb and participating in a ‘Giant Ski Race,’ where teams strap themselves onto a set of giant skis and race down main street in Hayward, Wis.