For Erica Steinfeldt, Super Bowl Sunday is hardly the only day of the year that a sporting event takes center stage.
As a mother of three, the Hoosier Energy Forecasting Analyst has plenty of experience attending football, basketball and baseball games as well as dance and show choir competitions.
However, Steinfeldt had her eye on another mother during this year’s big game – Donna Kelce, who had her two sons on opposite teams.
With oldest son, Aaron, a tight end on the IU football team and youngest son, Aidan, collecting college football offers, Erica can only imagine what that must be like for a mother.
She spoke with GridLines recently about that subject and her work at Hoosier Energy.
Q: What is Super Bowl Sunday like for the Steinfeldts?
A: Super Bowl Sundays are spent with friends and kids, if they are around. I am from Michigan, and my dad is Lions fan, so I hope one year soon they will make it to the Super Bowl. My husband, Jesse, is from Green Bay, so he goes into mourning if the Packers get knocked out (which happened this year thanks to the Lions).
My eyes this year were on the momma who has sons on both sides of the ball. I know being a mom all you want is happiness for your kids, but to see them succeed at the NFL level and have both teams make it to the Super Bowl, I can’t imagine how exciting that is.
Q: How long have you worked at Hoosier Energy and what led you here?
A: I have worked at Hoosier Energy just over a year. The previous nine years, I worked in Capital Planning and Facilities at Indiana University as a utility analyst. Prior to that I had worked in manufacturing as a Senior Buyer for Kohler Company and a Manufacturing Engineer for Steelcase.
Q: Can you give an overview of the resource planning department and how your role as forecasting analyst fits into things?
A: The goal of resource planning is to provide reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy based on the forecasted needs of our members. The role of forecasting is to develop a forecast for consumers, energy and demand for the next 20 years.
There is a structured process to gathering data to create this forecast known as the Power Requirements Study (PRS). We create a PRS for each one of the 18 member cooperatives and for Hoosier Energy overall.
My group has access to extensive data to develop the forecast. The information is used by Hoosier Energy and our members for determining distribution system modifications and capital investments, to plan for our system-wide requirements and improvements and is required for Rural Utilities Service (RUS) borrowers. Lastly, we are often asked to provide subsets of this data for a variety of business needs.
Q: How does the role of forecast analyst change depending on time of the year, market situations, etc.?
A: A forecast is basically a two-year cycle and at any given time we are working on completing one forecast and starting the next. Data collection and management is a large portion of the work. The data consists of hourly metered data, daily weather data, monthly sales data, economic forecasts and biennial meetings with each co-op to discuss a variety of topics, including in-depth discussions about their industrial customers. It is extremely important that we are aware of new industrial customers coming online so we can account for the new load in our forecast.
Next, using this data and information, a model is developed for each class of consumer (residential, commercial, industrial and other) to create a forecast for each of our 18 co-ops. The aggregation of the 18 members is the Hoosier Energy Forecast. This past forecast was created with a new software we just implemented called Metrix ND from Itron, who specializes in the utility forecasting space. One of the benefits of the new software is it allows us to easily look at alternative future forecast impacts, such as the adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy resources.
Lastly, the forecasts are approved by the respective member boards and Hoosier Energy by the Board of Directors. Following requirements from RUS, we then develop a full PRS report for each co-op and Hoosier Energy including additional graphics, tables, methodology and background information.
Q: When you’re not at work, what are you doing?
A: With two kids in college (Aaron a sophomore at IU and Addison a freshman at Western Michigan) and the third one driving, I seem to have lots of free time outside of work. I still find most of my free time watching sports. During the fall, we are busy with Friday night football (Aidan will be a senior playing for Bloomington North) and Saturday college football (Aaron playing for Indiana). For the first time in a while, I don’t have a child playing high school basketball, but I still love to go to watch and cheer on the kids I know.
I have also been fortunate to attend several IU men’s and women’s basketball games this season. This spring I will be watching Aidan play baseball at North and plan to attend some IU baseball games.
In the summers, I love spending any time I can on Lake Michigan. With more free time, I am planning trips with friends and just enjoying all that Bloomington has to offer.
Q: Can you remember a time you weren’t running around to ballgames and what are a couple highlights that stand out in your mind?
A: It is truly hard to remember a time that my life wasn’t planned around my kid’s activities. All three are only a year apart, so we quickly went from no kids to three in diapers and just as quickly to three in school. They all started sports, dance and/or music pretty much right away. In the early days we got involved with YMCA youth sports, Twin Lakes basketball, Sherwood Oaks soccer and, my favorite, rec baseball at Winslow.
My daughter decided quickly that sports wasn’t her passion and moved on to dance and show choir although she did play basketball for St. Charles until eighth grade. Addison did learn to love to compete while on the basketball court and luckily found a home competing in Show Choir competitions with Bloomington BEAT. It was so refreshing to take a break from whistles and buzzers to watch wildly talented kids perform on stage.
My two boys couldn’t get enough sports and thanks to countless amazing coaches and teammates they achieved great success. My husband was a talented three-sport athlete himself playing football, basketball and baseball while in college and professionally overseas. He very much wanted to sit on the sidelines and watch our kids participate but was quickly brought into coaching – first youth baseball, then middle school basketball and currently he is on the high school football coaching staff at Bloomington North.
A top memory I have is Jesse coaching Aaron’s eighth-grade basketball team to a first-ever CYO State Basketball Championship title for St. Charles. Baseball has always been my favorite to watch my kids play. I have so many memories of close games, big wins and heartbreaking losses, but a favorite recollection is Aaron hitting a home run so far that he hit the North High School auxiliary gym. The best season I can remember is the fall of 2020 football season. The uncertainty of Covid possibly meant no football season. I’m thankful to the powers that be that allowed Indiana high school sports to proceed and gave the opportunity for my boys to play on the same team for the first time. Aidan made Varsity football his freshman year and he played with Aaron for his senior year. I can’t recall the team record or the number of touchdowns they both had, but it was wonderful to watch them play together being coached by their dad.
Q: What’s next?
A: Highlights continue as I am fortunate to watch my boys play football in college. I cried when Aaron caught his first touchdown against Michigan in the last football season and then almost threw my popcorn at the ref when it was called back. Fortunately, he did score the next game. Aidan currently has five offers to play college football. He is hoping to take a few more college visits before making his decision this summer. We do seem to have offseasons recently, and I can’t say that I love the downtime. I so appreciate all the memories of watching my kids do what they love.