It has been a very gratifying year as author of the Vegetation Management Insights (VMI) and Editor of the Vegetation Management Resource Center. Having had the fortune of having a number of mentors, particularly early in my career, I have always been appreciative and a proponent of sharing our knowledge with those newer to our field of endeavor. So, I was delighted to have been approached by a number of individuals newer to UVM (less than 15 years) at the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) conference, who expressed their appreciation for the education I’m providing via this medium. I am deeply grateful to T&D World and our sponsor DuPont for providing this medium whereby I can give back to the community that has stimulated and energized me for so many years.

I had the intention of periodically writing articles that would serve to educate regulators about UVM and to communicate the needs of utility vegetation managers. However, I received a request from a regulatory staff member stating “Maybe you could write an article that explains exactly what utility vegetation management professionals need from utility regulators to help them do their jobs.” This request proved a great stimulus and forced a coalescence of my thoughts on the topic. It resulted in a six-part series and was immediately followed by an ancillary topic and series, the use of benchmarking for the purposes of rate case decisions.

While attending the ISA conference, there were also many expressions of appreciation by seasoned vegetation managers on the message(s) I was conveying via VMI. Indeed I was awarded the Utility Arborist Association’s Education Award for my outreach to regulators and the broader utility community. What does this mean to me and you, if you are a regulator? I have represented utility vegetation management professionals and their needs well. The template to better UVM and reliability has been provided. The only thing missing is the feedback and aligned action from the regulatory community.

In next month’s VMI I’ll try to stimulate senior utility management to help regulators reach decisions that will ensure adequate VM funding and thereby help themselves and the customers they serve. The following month I will expose a practice that has been, and can’t help but be, an abysmal failure when applied to VM.

Your feedback and suggestions for topics are always appreciated.

In the spirit of Christmas, may you be renewed; to enter the New Year with optimism and hope.