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ATC employees volunteer to judge Future City Competition

American Transmission Co. employees participated as judges in the annual Wisconsin Regional Future City Competition hosted by STEM Forward. Students from 49 teams representing 21 schools across Wisconsin competed in this year’s event. 

Future City is a project-based learning program where students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades imagine, research, design and build cities of the future. Each city must provide a solution to a design challenge. This year’s challenge asked teams to design a waste-free city using the principles of a circular economy based on three design principles: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials at their highest value, and regenerate nature. The challenge reinforced a transition to renewable energy and materials, perfect for ATC’s employee volunteers to consider when judging. 

The competition required each team to produce a 1,500-word essay, scale model of their city built with recycled materials, a project plan, a short video presentation and a live, online interview session with a panel of technical judges. Five employees participated as judges spanning each section of the competition. 

ATC employees Devonne Wilhoit, senior data analytics project manager, and Cerise Reed, senior desktop administrator, participated as judges for the special Project Planning Award, sponsored by the Project Management Institute. Wilhoit said, “It’s impressive to see kids at this age thinking about things that are career related and how they are putting project management skills, such as scope, schedule and cost, into action.” The city that was selected for the Project Planning Award was Project X created by the team from Chilton Area Catholic School. 

Lanida Chang, consultant strategy and initiative manager, volunteered to judge team essays, videos and the interview sessions. She was impressed by the cities designed, caliber of presentations and noted, “Most, if not all of the teams were using renewable energy: wind, solar, hydro, and even steam from a volcano to power their cities. Many also mentioned battery storage. One team had a windmill as their required moving part. It was pretty cool to see middle school students with an awareness and understanding of what energy production and storage look like.” 

“STEM Forward is thrilled to host the Wisconsin Regional Future City Competition each year,” said Heather Dummer Combs, STEM Forward program manager. “It is our hope that participation in this amazing program sparks an interest in STEM for middle school students and perhaps pursuit of a STEM career. We truly cannot do this without the dedicated STEM professionals that volunteer their time to mentor or judge the teams’ future cities.” 

We are proud of our employees’ commitment to help provide that spark of interest in STEM careers for students involved in the competition and congratulate all the winning Wisconsin teams. Glen Hills Middle School was the overall winner and will compete at the Future City Finals on April 7, 2022, with other regional team winners from all over the world. 

Congratulations to Glen Hills Middle School and good luck in the Finals! 

ATC brings home a Soup-er Bowl win!

While we could not hold our annual in-person soup and chili tasting Soup-er Bowl fundraiser event this year, American Transmission Co. employees were able to stir up some much-needed funds for food with a virtual event.

Here’s the play: we set up three different online giving events to support food banks throughout ATC’s footprint:

Employees could choose one or donate to all three.

To make the event as tasty as possible, ATC committed to match employee donations to the Soup-er Bowl.

It was a game of inches, and our employees really stepped up their game to win the company match. Together we raised $2,210, which means we are providing approximately 6,630 meals to our community members in need.

Way to go ATC, we appreciate our employees who contributed to this amazing team effort!

Village of Bristol establishes native oak savannah with help from ATC

The Village of Bristol removed invasive vegetation and planted nearly 50 native oak trees in the new Bristol Bay Park this summer. The trees planted were a mix of six different types of oak trees.

The effort was funded with a $5,000 grant from American Transmission Co.’s Community Planting Program that was matched by the Village. When Bristol Bay Park is fully developed, it will be a 37-acre natural area park with an oak savanna along its walking trails.

Once common in the Midwest, forming a boundary between prairies and forests, oak savannas are now one of the rarest ecosystems on earth. The openness of an oak savanna, with large trees growing far apart, enables numerous types of native prairie plants to grow. That openness is usually maintained by fire, as oaks are a fire resistant tree species. The Village plans to conduct periodic controlled burns to maintain the savanna.

ATC’s Community Planting Program enables us to encourage and support communities to plant trees and vegetation that beautify the landscape 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 for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way. Program funds can be used to plant trees and other tall-growing vegetation. Since 2013, ATC has awarded approximately 240 communities and organizations with funds totaling more than $425,000.

ATC accepts applications from July 1 through Sept. 30, and award recipients are selected and notified by the end of the year. Awards range from $100 to $5,000. Additional information and program applications can be found at