X marks the spot.
Stay there too long though, and it marks the spot of your demise.
The key to resiliency is to keep moving forward, be it in life or business, as retired Navy Seal Clint Emerson hammered home during the final session of the 2023 Strategic Issues Forum.
The theme of the mid-August Hoosier Energy event held in French Lick was Powering Resilience: Inspire, Immerse, Interact.
Emerson’s presentation was the capper on two days’ worth of varying perspectives and aspects of that theme.
The introductory address came from Katie Jezera, Vice President of Corporate Relations for Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Her theme was Strategic Insights and Industry Perspectives, noting past accomplishments, present trends and future challenges.
Among these was the fact that in the past 100 years, electricity has become 20% of the worldwide energy picture and is expected to become another 20% within the next 20 years. That is accompanied by the expedited targets for carbon reduction and clean energy, which will require going four times faster than the current pace of change.
Jezera suggested a phased approach to learn fundamental costs, options for storage and transport and thorough testing so that future energy technology doesn’t turn out to be something later found to be as damaging as coal ash.
She also took a number of questions from attendees centered on potential risks, technology readiness and the advantages or disadvantages of proposed and ongoing changes.
That set the table for the next presentation, which shifted gears outside the utility industry with Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann. Her theme was Civility in Engagement, an underrated aspect of showing resiliency under pressure.
Ellspermann drew largely on her run for state representative in 2010, where she pulled off an upset of the incumbent while using her 10 Commandments of the Campaign and The Civility Pledge in an effort to stay out of the political muck and mire.
She also served as Lieutenant Governor under Mike Pence before taking over as Ivy Tech President in 2016.
It was a fitting transition into the Federal Policy Perspectives provided by United States Senator Todd Young during the lunch break. Young answered questions about housing policy, farm aid, clean energy and more in a candid conversation that featured several questions from an engaged audience.
The first day wrapped up with an Indiana Energy Policy Perspectives Panel moderated by John Cassady, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. Participating panelists included Indiana State Representative Dave Hall, Executive Director of the Indiana Office of Energy Development Ryan Hadley and Chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Jim Huston.
They took turns taking on questions regarding the changing energy portfolios, rising costs, studies, emissions, regulations, broadband, cybersecurity, MISO and much more.
The second day picked up where the first left off with a panel on Technology Innovation and System Planning for Resilience moderated by Hoosier Energy Director of Strategic Business Management Jennifer Richardson.
She was joined onstage by MCR Performance Solutions Vice President of Transmission Jim Pardikes, GridLiance Director of Development Elizabeth Solano and MISO Director of Resource Utilization Andy Wittmeier.
Their discussion centered on what the grid of the future looks like, including short-term and long-term projects, the potential financial ramifications and options for getting involved in competitive or non-competitive projects to bolster an energy portfolio.
That set up the event finale with Emerson, a former member of Seal Team Three, Seal Team Six and an individual operative for the NSA. He offered a lesson on Resilience and Agility in the Face of Adversity, subtitled a Navy Seal Operator’s Guide to Recovering Quickly, Adjusting to the Unknown and Moving Forward.
Emerson offered eight key parts to doing so – Mental Toughness, Growth Mindset, Gel the Team, Preemptively Adapt, Deconstruct Failure, Tactical Decision Making, Contingency Planning and Keep Moving Forward – all while referencing training and mission experiences.
He even provided a mini-lesson on Active Shooter situations during the question-and-answer portion at the conclusion of the presentation.
But even in that was the reminder that being on the X makes you a target unless you keep moving forward. That’s resilience.