Honoring Those Who Save Lives & Learning at MEA's Annual Operations Conference

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Over 1000 gas and electric utility workers attended Midwest Energy Association's (MEA) Annual Operations Conferences and celebrated as 9 people were honored for saving lives. MEA also honored 4 companies with an Accident Prevention Award.

Nine life saving heroes joined over 1000 other attendees at Midwest Energy Association's (MEA) Electric and Gas Operations Conferences in Ames, Iowa July 31-August 3, 2007.

Amidst 48 electric classes and 66 gas classes, updates on the latest field equipment, and hands on time with over 200 suppliers demonstrating their gear, 9 MEA Life Sustaining Awards were presented.

MEA honored these men; credited with saving 30 lives, Urich Falatyk and Michael Wood of We Energies; Rob Smith of Duke Energy who saved an accident victims life; Norman Barnes, also of Duke Energy who saved 3 from carbon monoxide poisoning; Miller Pipeline employees Larry Knight, John Ragland, and Toby Harris saved a homeowner from choking; Glen Thompson of Alliant Energy dove into frigid waters to free a man from his submerged car; and Wyatt Hanson of MDU saved a fellow employee from choking. MEA gathers nominations for the Life Saving Award annually. There are undoubtedly many more heroic events performed by industry personnel on and off the job that are not reported to MEA.

E.On U.S., Exelon, Ohio Gas, and Ponca Public Utilities received MEA's Accident Prevention Awards for the lowest days restricted or transferred (DART) incidents during 2007.

The 84th Gas Operations Conference is the longest running gas safety and training conference in the US. "There are no smart 'pigs' around here," laughed Bill Burnet, Chairman of the gas event and Supervising Engineer for Ameren Services, Jefferson City, Missouri. "We ate 550 pork chops on Wednesday night!" In addition to all day classes and evening hands on outdoor demonstrations, attendees enjoy, outdoor picnic like home style Iowa dinners each evening.

The 8th Annual Electric Conference served nearly 400 attendees, a 10% increase over 2006.

During both conferences a group of utility company training professionals honed their skills on MEA's http://www.energyu.org web based learning portal. The MEA Development and Customer Service team used one of the Iowa State Computer Labs to train on how to administer the system, how to customize the content to individual company needs, and how to use the new CERCplus compliance record keeping solution.

Presentations from the classroom and briefing sessions featured regulatory updates, new technology, plus successful practices--those proven in the field--in all areas of energy delivery. MEA captures these successful practices and adds them to their searchable database so that members can find cost saving, performance enhancing practices at http://www.midwestenergy.org. The 2008 conferences will take place August 4-8 in Ames, Iowa.

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