Laughter between old friends, drinks that keep on coming, melt in your mouth brisket, and an outrageously comfortable carpet. Although these things sound like the makings of an excellent dinner party, those were the sights, sounds, and smells permeating NRECA’s TechAdvantage 2022 conference in Nashville, TN. Considering it had been a few years since many of the attendees and presenters had been at a public gathering of this scale, it makes sense that a meeting of thousands of the nation’s premiere electric cooperative professionals would be equal parts business and pleasure. For those of us at Meridian Cooperative, the welcoming atmosphere of Music City was a home away from home.
Between numerous enticing vendor booths and informative presentations, it was clear that the Music City Convention Center was the undisputed epicenter of electrical co-op knowhow this year. Standout presentations that caught our eye included a cybersecurity talk given by our own VP of Technical Services & CRI Greg Gray, a talk about practical applications of Virtual Reality technology by Jesse Shekleton of Jo-Caroll Energy, and a talk by Greg Free of Aggreko Ltd. and Michael Heinen, CEO of Jefferson Davis EC about how their partnership was able to resupply power to a storm ravaged region along the Louisiana coast and maintain that power while Jeff Davis worked to harden their grid against future storms. Though we feel our own booth was a top contender for crowd favorite, we tip our hats to the Landis+Gyr and MilSoft teams for their amazing designs as well.
We capped off our time in Nashville with a visually stunning event at the Country Music Hall of Fame that featured 2 live bands, a whiskey tasting, delicious food, and the most amazing view of the city skyline we could find. More than the fun and dancing however, what really made our time in Nashville special was that we were finally able to connect in person again with you, our members and customers. In this tight-knit industry where coworkers and business partners easily develop decades of friendship, being unable to do business face-to-face was a serious strain. Thank you to everyone who sought us out to discuss updates, give feedback, and check on how we’ve been doing lately.
For these reasons, this year’s TechAdvantage may go down as an all-time great. Again, thank you for the memories, Nashville. We’ll see you all in Music City again next year, but let’s all try to lay eyes on each other well before then.