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The 2021 FMEA Energy Connections Conference and Trade Show helped strengthen Florida’s Public Power community with lessons on how to enhance the resiliency, reliability and diversity of municipally owned electric systems.

ECC By the NumbersMore than 250 people representing Florida Public Power utilities and industry partners participated on Nov. 3-4 in Orlando. It marked the first time they were able to gather in person for this event in two years.

The conference included more than 20 speakers in educational sessions focusing around five major topical areas:

  • Customer Connections
  • Technology and Cybersecurity
  • Safety and Training
  • Engineering and Operations
  • Building Strong Communities

More on the presentation topics and copies of the presentations can be found on the conference website.

FMEA member utilities were also recognized for the outstanding community contributions through the Building Strong Communities awards. 

“It was great to meet in person to listen, learn and exchange experiences with our colleagues across the state at the FMEA Energy Connections Conference and Trade Show,” said Rafael G. Couret, MBA, Director Business Development at POWER Engineers Inc, an event sponsor. “POWER believes that being a part of this public power community is essential to the mutual success of our clients, partners and public power customers in the state.”

The keynote message by Bertice Berry, PhD, an author, sociologist, lecturer and humorist, focused on “Building Strong and Resilient Communities through Diversity.” With a razor-sharp wit, Berry illustrated how more diverse environments build more productive, creative communities, and she encouraged audience members to tackle old issues with a new perspective.

Buidling Strong Communities luncheon

“Clean your filter because the filter is blocking new information from getting in,” she said.

That message resonated with first-time attendee Michelle de Alba of Aggreko LTD.

“Incredible opportunity to attend the FMEA Energy Connections Conference and listen to an amazing woman, Bertice Berry, PhD, speak on ‘Building Strong and Resilient Communities through Diversity,’” Michelle said. “She captivates her audience from the very beginning with her creative humor and storytelling.”

FMEA’s Trade Show was a sold-out event. It featured more than 100 exhibitors and sponsors representing 45 companies.


Robert Tugwell, VP of Public Utilities at PowerSecure, appreciated the opportunity to make new contacts.


“We like to stay in touch with our public power brothers and sisters here in this community, making sure that if they are looking for resiliency, reliability or a return on investment, we’ll be glad to partner with them and support them in those efforts.”

FMEA’s unique idea to host a “Reverse Trade Show,” during which utility representatives sat down at booths and vendors approached them, was a big hit with John Chapman, Account Manager, ARCOS.

“I’ve spent a lot of time at a lot of events connecting with my customers and the FMEA Energy Connections Conference offered something I’ve never seen before: A Reverse Trade Show,” Chapman said. “This had wonderful participation from all of the FMEA utility members at booths for vendors to approach them and connect! Best. Format. Ever.”