INDIANAPOLIS – The previous incarnation of the Electrify Indiana conference took place three years ago at Hoosier Energy headquarters in Bloomington.
On September 22, the 2022 version upped the ante at The Westin in Indianapolis.
With over 270 attendees – many from Hoosier Energy members, 33 sponsors and 23 exhibitors, the event sizzled from start to finish.
Hosted by Hoosier Energy and Wabash Valley Power Alliance with support from the Beneficial Electrification League, Electrify Indiana 2022 featured panel discussions with utility leaders, business leaders and legislative leaders on everything from grid impacts to electric vehicles to renewable energy with breakout sessions on consumer-facing programs, battery storage, electric school buses, off-peak strategies and HVAC technologies.
“I really enjoyed it, and it far exceeded my expectations,” said Colin Mahoney, energy advisor at WIN Energy. “The number of people here was fantastic, and it was very engaging.
“A lot of the sessions taught me things I want to take back to look into or work on and gave me new thoughts.”
There were also networking breaks to allow for everyone to interact.
“I saw new faces, met new people and had good conversations,” said Brandon Hall, Chief Information Officer at Henry County REMC.
Conversations, whether they were on stage or at the vendor tables or over food, were certainly the order of the day.
“This was a great day,” said Norm Campbell, panelist and Federal Team Manager for Go Electric. “The connectivity between utilities, end users, policy makers and people that are in the business space is great. It’s very rare you get everybody in the same room talking about the same thing.”
The breakout sessions offered the opportunity to talk about some different things in a more intimate, personal setting with questions more easily asked.
“The breakout sessions were smaller and could address more of your own questions,” Hoosier Energy Key Accounts Manager Mike Owens said. “I got a lot of answers. I asked one question at the battery storage session, the panelist looked at me and it was like he read my mind – he’s got a key account out there asking these exact questions.
“He answered it perfectly – I wish I would’ve recorded it – because that’s exactly what I’m going to take back and tell the key accounts.”
With a variety of people in attendance at all levels of the industry, many attendees received answers to important questions.
“I was very excited when I saw all the people here,” RushShelby Energy CEO Chris Chastain said. “I liked it because it wasn’t just CEOs or directors, but there were other people in the audience, too. That’s important because these are messages we have to get out to our membership. If we don’t bring the people communicating to the members, we’re missing out on a whole gamut of abilities.”
Not to be lost in everything else was a dose of the cooperative spirit.
“I like how they talked about the collective, not just one co-op but collectively, working together to get programs to the community and build things out for the members,” Hall said. “That’s just how cooperatives are, working together to try and share information.”
That helped make the whole scene less formal.
“It wasn’t just a sales pitch, there was a practical aspect to everything,” said Sandy Cason, Whitewater Valley Director of Member Services and Corporate Relations.
There was also some room for fun with a Tesla on display from Hendricks Power Cooperative, an electric school bus from Blue Bird and an Altec bucket truck.
“I stopped by a lot of booths, but my favorite thing was probably the truck and the bus outside,” Mahoney said. “That was really neat.”