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  • Writer's pictureBobbi Harris

"Red-eye" Flights

I took yet another "red-eye" flight this week - home from the American Water Works Association ACE Conference in Denver - and for many people the lack of sleep, swollen feet and sore back would be a deterrent, but for me it offers some unique perspectives. I am a small business owner dedicated to my clients and to the critical industry I serve so passionately. My small sacrifice on an overnight flight means I can serve my clients best..

Similarly, utilities around the world are facing so many challenges - from stronger regulations, demanding consumers, natural disasters, security attacks, evolving technologies and aging work forces. How can they continually rise to the occasion and deliver safe, reliable electric, water and gas services? The general population flips a switch or turns on a faucet and "magically" the electricity and water flow. The truth is, the operational, technological and human sweat it takes to deliver these services are mind-boggling. And yes there are business profits to be made, so the utility (nor I) can be completely altruistic, but the simple goal of delivering great service is compelling.

There is a great deal of work to be done and it seems a new technology launches each month. How can utility leaders know the best strategies and decisions for their unique challenges? Collaboration with other utilities, technology providers, and industry thought leaders is one way. I am blessed (and cursed) to be a communicator - so I listen and share and connect and collaborate...and in a small way I can contribute to the innovation and strategies for the utility industry. So see, I am really not a masochist, red-eye flights and long days at technical conventions in far-away places are just part of this wonderful career for which I remain so passionate. Perhaps I will see you on the next flight - give me a smile and

say hi if you see me.

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