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Julie Darrington joins Vantage Point Solutions as Vice President of Consulting

Posted By IAMU, Thursday, April 4, 2019

Vantage Point Solutions is pleased to announce Julie Darrington has joined the Vantage Point team as Vice President of Consulting. Darrington, previously a Vice President at CenturyLink, brings over 25 years of experience to Vantage Point. She began her duties April 1.

The role was previously held by Rep. Dusty Johnson, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018.

“Julie brings an incredible depth of experience to Vantage Point, and we’re certain our Consulting clients and team members will benefit from her leadership,” said Vantage Point CEO Larry Thompson. “Our industry is facing unprecedented opportunities and challenges, and her strategic, engaging leadership will really benefit our clients. Her extensive background in managing field operations and her understanding of the operational realities faced by broadband providers have set her apart in the industry for years. We’re very pleased to welcome her to our team.”

As Vice President, Darrington takes the helm of a successful and growing Consulting department which recently led clients to securing over $165 million in the Connect America Fund Auction 903 (”CAF II Auction”). In addition to securing funding for rural broadband, Vantage Point’s consulting group is particularly known for its strategic, financial, regulatory, and operational guidance for broadband providers.

Darrington has worked in telecommunications for over 25 years, with experience ranging from small business services, sales and marketing, and field operations to ensuring service reliability and delivery to business, residential, government, and wholesale customers. Her experience was particularly focused on states across the Great Plains, where she developed a strong appreciation for the unique considerations facing rural communities and providers.

“Joining the Vantage Point team is a spectacular opportunity,” Darrington said. “Vantage Point’s commitment to improving lives through broadband access, and doing so while putting clients and employees first, resonates with my personal values. In particular, I’m looking forward to working directly with companies who provide this critical communications service across the country.”

For more information, please contact Jacki Miskimins at 605-995-1784, email info@vantagepnt.com, or visit Vantage Point online at www.VantagePnt.com.

ABOUT JULIE DARRINGTON – Julie Darrington comes to Vantage Point with over 25 years of telecommunications experience, ranging from small business services, sales and marketing, and field operations to regional market management. Much of her experience was in managing operations across Great Plains states, including Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Montana, and Wyoming – where she developed an appreciation of the unique circumstances facing rural providers. She is renowned as a strategic, determined leader whose pragmatic and focused approach excels in the ever-changing broadband and telecommunications industry.

A committed community volunteer, Julie has served on boards and councils for Chambers of Commerce, Service Organizations, and Arts and Leadership Programs throughout her career.

Julie and her husband, Paul, have two young adult children. They reside in Mitchell, SD where Vantage Point is headquartered.

ABOUT VANTAGE POINT SOLUTIONS – Vantage Point Solutions is a national provider of engineering and consulting services for the broadband/telecommunications and financial industries. Vantage Point combines professional engineering, technical expertise and extensive regulatory knowledge to design technically advanced and economically viable solutions customized for each client. Progressive thinking has made Vantage Point well-known and respected in the industry. With over 300 employees and hundreds of clients across the country and international, VPS has the vast experience necessary to understand the best solution for any company.

Tags:  Vantage Point 

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IAMU Receives $200,000 Grant

Posted By IAMU, Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities (IAMU) has been awarded a $200,000, two-year grant by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), with funds from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). The funds will be used to conduct a high-level assessment of the energy resilience posture of Iowa’s municipal electric utilities and to develop a “Comprehensive Iowa Municipal Energy Utilities Hazard Mitigation Plan” to remediate any assessment findings.

“Energy generation, transmission, and delivery by Iowa’s municipal utilities require a strategic approach that addresses the diverse security, technical, and environmental risks of the 21st century,” said Russell Saffell, IAMU’s Director of Member Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection. “Emerging threats from both manmade and natural hazards present significant challenges to utilities that are often understaffed, limited in response capability, and have aging or inoperable infrastructure. This grant will allow IAMU to assist municipal utilities by assessing current potential risks and helping to fix any vulnerabilities.”

IAMU will also provide technical expertise in emergency management, risk and hazard mitigation, business and operational continuity, cyber and physical security, and disaster recovery. The goal is to enhance energy resilience programs at Iowa’s municipal utilities and their respective service territories through a shared program manager approach from IAMU.

We are pleased to dedicate funding for projects that support IEDA’s efforts to implement the Iowa Energy Plan,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham. “Through support of this project, our goal is to foster innovation and enhance the reliability and safety of Iowa’s energy systems.”

Tags:  DOE  Grant  IEDA 

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IAMU Supports National Safe Digging Month, Encourages 811 Calls for Utility Location

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 3, 2019

More than 40 percent of American homeowners who plan to plant a tree, landscape a yard, or install a fence or mailbox this spring likely will not make a required 811 call to have their underground utilities located before digging begins, according to a survey conducted by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines.

Iowa law requires that any resident or professional excavator contact 811, or Iowa One Call, a minimum of two business days before digging to prevent serious injuries, service disruptions, and costly repairs that could occur when buried gas, electric, communications, water or sewer lines are damaged.

The CGA survey also found that nearly half of all Americans who plan to dig have no experience with the 811 process. Placing an 811 call or submitting information online to IowaOneCall.com notifies operators with underground utility facilities of the intent to dig, and utility companies will respond within two business days by marking underground utilities with color-coded paint marks or flags that tell an excavator where utility lines are located.

In support of National Safe Digging Month throughout April, IAMU joins Common Ground Iowa and Iowa One Call in reminding Iowans to be safe and help protect underground utility lines by following these steps in advance of any digging projects:

  • Always call 811 at least 48 hours before digging, regardless of the project depth or familiarity with the property. Plan ahead by calling on Monday or Tuesday for weekend projects, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
  • Confirm that all lines have been marked before beginning a project and consider relocating any project that is close to utility line markings.
  • If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has called 811. Don’t allow work to begin if utility lines aren’t marked.

Iowa’s One Call center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Learn more by visiting the Call 811 website for complete information.

Tags:  811  CGA  Iowa One Call 

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The Dangers of Driving While Drowsy

Posted By IAMU, Wednesday, April 3, 2019

We all know drowsy driving is dangerous, but just how dangerous is it?

According to the National Safety Council:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports about 100,000 crashes each year involve drowsy driving, while the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that there are actually many more, with up to 328,000 drowsy driving crashes annually 
  • NHTSA estimates that fatigue-related crashes cost $109 billion each year, not including property damage
  • Driving while drowsy is similar to driving after drinking; driving while not having slept for 20 or more hours has an impact similar to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, which is the U.S. limit

To learn more, check out the article in the EMC Loss Control Insights.

Tags:  EMC  Insights 

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Winter Moratorium Extended to May 13 for Disaster Areas

Posted By IAMU, Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) has extended the Winter Moratorium for Natural Gas and Electric Customers from April 1, 2019, to May 13, 2019.

The IUB order (DOCKET NO. SPU-2019-0005) comes in response to Governor Kim Reynolds’ proclamation of public health disaster emergency due to continued widespread flooding and flash flooding impacting large portions of Iowa.

Iowa Code § 476.20(2) establishes a moratorium from disconnection of natural gas and electric customers who are eligible for low-income home energy assistance or weatherization assistance programs between November 1 and April 1. The IUB adopted rules at 199 IAC 19.4(17) for natural gas service and at 20.4(17) for electric service that provide: “No disconnection may take place from November 1 through April 1 for a resident who is a head of household and who has been certified to the public utility by the local community action agency as being eligible for either the low-income home energy assistance program or weatherization assistance program.”

The extension to May 13, 2019, will apply to only those previously certified low-income individuals in counties that have been declared disaster areas who could be subject to possible disconnection on April 1, 2019.

The IUB order links the moratorium extension to STATE (Governor) disaster declarations and not to FEDERAL (Presidential) declarations. To read the order, go to:

https://efs.iowa.gov/cs/groups/external/documents/docket/mdax/odqz/~edisp/1843024.pdf

IAMU and the IUB understand that not all member utilities in the counties included in the state declaration have been impacted by the effects of the flooding, but all member utilities in those counties included in the state declaration must adhere to the order. The order accounts for potential future flooding that could occur over the next six weeks during the continued seasonal thawing and rain.

If you have any questions or concerns about this moratorium extension, please contact IAMU General Counsel Tim Whipple at twhipple@iamu.org or 515.289.1999.

Tags:  IUB  Winter Moratorium 

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