A weekly e-newsletter for FMPA members
Feb. 9, 2009
FMPA Newsletter Tenth Anniversary
Weekly Newsletter Celebrates 10 Years with a Fresh Name, Design and Content
This edition of FMPA’s weekly e-mail newsletter represents the publication’s tenth anniversary. In honor of the occasion, we are re-launching the newsletter with a fresh name and design, as well as enhancements to the content. Read on to take a look back at the newsletter’s history and the changes we’re making today.
FMPA surveyed employees in the late-1990s to assess inteal communication in the Agency. At that time, staff expressed a desire for more communication and information sharing. The idea of a brief inteal newsletter was developed to: 1) ensure that all staff receive information in a timely manner, 2) provide a heads-up to staff on events happening during the week, 3) exchange information among departments, and 4) utilize e-mail, which at the time of the survey was respondents’ preferred medium for receiving information.
The newsletter made its debut in February 1999 and quickly caught on among the staff. The newsletter’s audience was expanded in April 2002 to include FMPA’s Board of Directors and other interested individuals in FMPA’s member cities. The newsletter now reaches approximately 180 recipients weekly.
FMPA conducted a readership survey in December 2008 to ensure the newsletter was continuing to meet its readers’ needs after nearly a decade. The survey assessed the newsletter’s usefulness as a communication tool and solicited feedback for improvement. Key findings included:
1) The newsletter excels in providing basic information in a timely manner. Nearly 95% of all respondents agreed that it performs these functions well.
2) Readership is high. More than 88% of all respondents read weekly, and no one reported never reading it.
3) Readers have diverse opinions about content, which means the newsletter needs to remain simple and easy to skim.
4) The majority of readers (68%) prefer to receive the full newsletter via e-mail, instead of reading it online.
5) The best opportunity to further enhance the newsletter’s value as a resource to staff and members would be to provide additional background information and interpretation of the news.
Introducing FMPA Weekly
We listened to your feedback and developed a new and improved version of the weekly newsletter, called FMPA Weekly. Key updates include:
Fresh Format and Organization
The newsletter now combines updated formatting with the accessibility and simplicity of a plain-text e-mail. It features larger, easier-to-read fonts and fresh colors, to make the newsletter even easier to skim and read. The newsletter’s organization has also been updated. In addition to “Last Week and “This Week, we have added a new section, called “Coming Up, for news that pertains to future dates. We have also eliminated the “Special Dates section. Employee birthdays will no longer be run, and employee service anniversaries will be included in the “This Week section.
Enhanced Clarity for New Readers
We are adapting our reporting style to make the newsletter easier to understand, especially for new readers. Acronyms will now be spelled out, and in every issue, we will link to an all-new online glossary that defines frequently mentioned committees, companies, places and terms.
Links to Supplemental Resources
We will also work to connect our readers with the other information resources FMPA has to offer. For example, we will link to Agenda Packages or other reports on the Member Portal or FMPA’s employee intranet, InSite. We will also announce when new issues of FMPA publications or other resources are posted online.
Reader Feedback and Suggestions
Finally, as always, we will continue to encourage our readers to communicate with us. We welcome your feedback on the new-and-improved FMPA Weekly, and we also welcome questions, comments and story ideas at any time.
The newsletter’s success would not have been possible without the dedicated support of FMPA managers and staff. Each week, more than two dozen employees from all departments and levels provide information for the newsletter. These face-to-face interviews are an irreplaceable resource for the newsletter writers. Without consistent news, there would be no newsletter. Sincerest thanks to all our weekly contributors!
Thank you again for a decade of readership and support. We hope you enjoy the new FMPA Weekly!
Strategic Planning Workshop
FMPA held a Strategic Planning Workshop last Thursday and Friday to develop plans for the Agency and the All-Requirements Project. The members decided to create unified vision, mission and values statements for the Agency and All-Requirements. During the workshop, five long-range goals were created and several strategies were identified for each goal. The next step is to create a strategic plan document based on the workshop’s results. The plan will be presented to FMPA’s members for approval in March. The workshop was well attended with 37 people present the first day and 34 people the second day. The workshop evaluation forms showed that members were satisfied. The facilitator received very favorable comments. Overall, 35% of respondents said they were very satisfied with the workshop, 55% said they were satisfied and 10% were neutral. Contact: Nick Guarriello or Mark McCain
Cane Island Unit 4
FMPA and Kissimmee Utility Authority submitted an Engineering Improvement Plan to Osceola County last week as part of a requirement of the Conditional Use Permit issued by the county last June. The plan is a compilation of everything that will be done on the site, and it must be approved prior to construction. Contact: Susan Schumann
FMPA’s Finance Team, which includes Fred Bryant, Janet Davis, Mark Larson, FMPA’s Financial Advisor Craig Dunlap, and Art McMahon and Barry Rothchild from Nixon Peabody, have met weekly throughout January and will continue to meet in the coming months to review the status of interest rate and commodity swap projects to ensure adequate liquidity. Contact: Mark Larson
Congratulations to Matt Brower, Ocala’s assistant city manager for utility services, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on FMPA’s Goveance Committee.
Bids for Property Programs
FMPA staff met with Aegis Insurance Company and FM Global last week to discuss bids for the Agency’s property insurance program. Final bid packages will be presented in March for Board approval. Contact: Rich Popp
SunTrust’s underwriter bankers assigned to FMPA’s accounts are now located in Atlanta. Representatives from SunTrust visited with Janet Davis and Mark Larson last Tuesday to get acquainted.
Pad-Mount Transformers Painting and Inspection Services Bid
FMPA is developing its first bid for pad-mount transformers painting and inspection services. Proposals were opened last Tuesday and are currently being evaluated. The awarded vendor will receive a one-year agreement. Contact: Sharon Samuels
2009 Training Directory
The 2009 FMPA-FMEA Training Directory has been posted on http://fmpa.com/html/member_services/pdf/FMPA-FMEA_2009_Training_Directory.pdf> style=text-decoration: underline;>FMPA.com.
ARP Rate Workshop
ARP Executive Committee members meet by conference call Tuesday at 2 p.m. for the All-Requirements Project’s monthly rate workshop. Participants will hear updates on natural gas markets and liquidity, and the group will discuss loads, costs and rate calculations for January. Staff will also present estimated rate ranges for February through April. For the rate calculations, visit the FMPA Member Portal. Contact: Jim Atz
Public Gas Partners
Mark Larson and Richard Montgomery travel to Atlanta on Tuesday for a Public Gas Partners meeting. The meeting will provide updates on Pool Number One and Pool Number Two.
National City Bank
Mark Larson meets with representatives from National City Bank on Thursday to review FMPA’s line of credit and market activity.
Paperless Audit System
FMPA staff meet with representatives from ProSystems fx on Thursday to view a demonstration of a paperless audit system and to consider a potential changeover to a paperless system. ProSystems fx is an award-winning tax compliance and preparation software. Contact: Rich Popp
Joint Purchase Project
The Joint Purchase Project meeting scheduled for Thursday has been cancelled. The next meeting will be March 12.
Congratulations to Dan O’Hagan, who celebrates four years with FMPA on Saturday, Feb. 14.
ARP Load Forecast Update
An ARP Load Forecast Update workshop is scheduled for March 4 in the Board room at 10 a.m. The workshop will discuss the load forecast process and results, as well as possible issues associated with the forecast. Contact: Chris Gowder
Establishing Safety Goals Workshop
FMPA will host a workshop, called Establishing Safety Goals That Will Reduce Your Workers Comp Costs and Keep Employees Safe. The workshop is scheduled for March 11 in the Board room at 10 a.m. This workshop will present an overview on how to become proactive in measuring safety records, as well as getting buy-in from management. To register, visit FMPA’s Web site at http://fmpa.com/html/member_services/pdf/calendar/Establishing_Safety_Goals_Workshop_09b.pdf> style=text-decoration: underline;>http://fmpa.com/html/member_services/pdf/calendar/Establishing_Safety_Goals_Workshop_09b.pdf;. Contact: Mike Siefert
FMPA’s next Lineman’s Roundtable is scheduled for April 16 in Kissimmee at 10 a.m. Roundtable participants will exchange ideas on operations practices, safety training, tools and equipment. Contact: Sharon Samuels
IN THE INDUSTRY
Boxer Releases Climate Change Principles
Sen. Barbara Boxer, head of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, released a set of principles last Tuesday that she believes should guide Congress as it writes legislation regarding global warming. Some of the principles include: 1) reducing emissions to levels guided by science, 2) setting short- and long-term emissions targets, 3) ensuring continued pioneering efforts by state and local entities, and 4) providing incentives for emissions reductions, as well as effective deterrents. Boxer would like Congress to pass a climate change bill by the end of the year.
Progress Energy to Study Solar Power at Coal Plants
Progress Energy has partnered with Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to discuss the possibilities and engineering required to add solar energy panels to the utility’s coal-fired plants in Roxboro, N.C. and Crystal River, Fla. The basic plan is to aim panels containing fluids at the sun, allowing the fluids to heat and create steam that would be added to a conventional fossil fuel-powered steam cycle. This would offset some of the fuel required to generate power. Bryan Hannegan, vice president of EPRI, noted, These hybrid power plants will combine the low-cost reliability of existing fossil power plants with the environmental benefit of renewables.
FMPA Weekly is published by FMPA for employees and goveing boards of FMPA member utilities. Questions or comments about this newsletter may be directed to Diane Nelson or Beth Pangbo in FMPA’s Public Relations Department.
Want more background on the names and terms used in this newsletter? Check out FMPA’s new Glossary, which features some of the most frequently mentioned committees, companies, places and terms, or get in touch with the contact listed at the end of each story to lea more about that topic. (Click here for the Staff Directory).
Have a question, comment or story idea for the newsletter? FMPA welcomes your feedback at any time. Contact Diane Nelson.