Powerline 2019

Conference Sponsors

Powerline 2019

Wood utility poles have served for more than a century as the backbone to the North American electrical distribution system. While new technologies for overhead systems have emerged, the proven performance of wood utility poles has secured their position as the preferred choice for utilities.

The POWERLINE 2019 conference will review new developments and recognized best practices for wood pole overhead systems. The two-day conference feature insights on wood pole quality and design, service life, maintenance and remediation, system resiliency, disposal and high voltage assemblies.

Conference overview

The conference will be held June 4-5 on the campus of Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss. It is sponsored by the North American Wood Pole Council and the Mississippi State Department of Sustainable Bioproducts.

The program will include classroom presentations and a field visit to the Mississippi State High Voltage Laboratory, the largest university operated high voltage lab in North America. Laboratory demonstrations will include what happens when tree limbs come in contact with lines.

Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided each day and there will be a reception for attendees on Tuesday, June 4.

Who should attend

Attending POWERLINE 2019 will be beneficial for utility personnel at all levels who are involved with design, purchasing, installation, management and maintenance of the electrical distribution and transmission systems. This includes:

  • Design engineers
  • Systems executives
  • Pole purchasing managers
  • Operations and engineering managers
  • Line staking engineers
  • Utility contractors
  • Asset/Investment recovery specialists

Each registered attendee will receive a certificate of completion for 12 hours of instruction, which can be used to qualify for Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits.

Speakers, program schedule

Conference headquarters will be at the Franklin Center on the Mississippi State campus

Monday, June 3

Afternoon Arrival in Starkville

Tuesday, June 4

7:30 a.m. Continental breakfast
8 a.m.

Josh Wooten, Tennesee Valley Authority

Pole Inspection on Receipt for Utilities
James Carter, Wood Quality Control, Inc./NRECA

Unique Overload Capacity of Wood Utility Poles
Martin Rollins, H.M. Rollins Company, Inc.

Noon Lunch
1 p.m.

BIL – More Than Just a Lightning Strategy
David Taylor, Entergy

Machine Vision Rapid Damage Assessment System to Detect Utility Infrastructure Damage
George Banzhaf, Quality Pole Inspection & Maintenance, Inc.

Wood Poles: How Long Should They Last
Butch Bernhardt, North American Wood Pole Council

Using Analytics to Benchmark Pole Maintenance
Spencer Loe, Osmose Utilities Services

Underground vs. Overhead: The Complex Decision Tree for Utility Companies
Mike Freeman, Laya Khademi, consulting wood scientists

Proposed NSF Engineering Research Center for the Southeast:
Utilities and Pole Companies as Models of Disaster-Impact Readiness

Beth Stokes, Mississippi State University

5 p.m. Conference Reception

Wednesday, June 5

7:30 a.m. Continental breakfast
8 a.m.

Fire Protection for Wood Poles
Shane Heartsill, Osmose Utility Services

Panel: Today's Wood Pole Preservatives
CCA - Tim Carey, Lonza Wood Protection
Copper Naphthenate - Jeff Lloyd, Nisus Corp.
Creosote - Heath Huschak, Koppers, Inc.
DCOI - Kevin Archer, Viance, LLC
Penta - Jason Councill, KMG Chemicals

Pole Breaking Demonstration
Dr. Dan Seale, Mississippi State

Noon Lunch
1 p.m.

MSU High Voltage Lab Demonstrations
Dr. David Wallace, Mississippi State

  • Tree contacting a power line
  • Insulator flashover on crossarm, wet and dry
  • Defective insulator on crossarm
  • Ground short due to animal contact
  • Prevention of ground short due to animal contact
  • Flashover due to worker proximity to line
  • Flashover due to lightning strike

5 p.m. Conference closes


REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED. You can register on site at the Franklin Center on the Mississippi State University campus on Tuesday, June 4 at 7 a.m. You can pay by check only when registering on site. Cost is $195 per attendee. Each attendee will receive digital versions of the presentations and NAWPC technical guides.

Hotel accommodations

Since the conference will be held on campus, there is no headquarters hotel. Attendees are responsible for making their own hotel arrangements. The following hotels are near the Mississippi State campus:

Questions, additional information

For any questions or additional information about the Powerline 2019 conference, contact the North American Wood Pole Council at