Business & Finance

A New Digital Link for Ga. Co-ops

By Victoria A. Rocha | ECT Staff Writer Published: August 9th, 2012

Although it’s only a few months old, a new employee association for technology professionals at Georgia electric cooperatives already has made quite an impression.

Jennifer Jones and Ben Schwarting, Cowetta-Fayette EMC, at the first meeting of Georgia EMC Technology Association. (Photo By: Amy Lott)

Jennifer Jones and Ben Schwarting, Cowetta-Fayette EMC, at the first meeting of Georgia EMC Technology Association. (Photo By: Amy Lott)

The Georgia EMC Technology Association, set to meet for the second time next month, has helped make ready for prime time a new online tool for Georgia co-op employees. Ultimately, the tool will allow interaction between all employees statewide, who are members of their own associations.

Recently launched by the Tucker-based Georgia Systems Operations Corp., the online tool streamlines the numerous usernames and passwords required for co-op management and employees to log on into a single portal. With pre-approved credentials, employees can access information.

“The technology association emerged at the perfect time, coinciding with GSOC’s member portal launch, and it developed a template to share for the remaining employee associations to replicate,” said Bill Verner, the statewide’s vice president, external affairs. “The portal connects employees in a way they haven’t been connected.”

The template created by the technology association has allowed GSOC to create the remaining sites for the 10 other employee groups. All that’s needed now is content from the associations to populate the sites.

Technology association founder Louise Blackman at Snapping Shoals EMC, Covington, wants to promote the site during its upcoming meeting Sept. 27-28 in Young Harris.

“We want to help the other associations see the value of the portal, that members can use it for surveys, document storage and information exchange,” said Blackman, vice president of business technology.

And that has a good chance of happening, said Blackman, who was “pleased” with the turnout during the association’s inaugural meeting in May. “As more co-ops have IT personnel and departments, I see attendance and interest growing.”

Some 40 people from 25 Georgia co-ops attended the May meeting to learn more about topics including disaster recovery, security, apps and mobile devices, telecom and virtualization. More than 30 vendors and speakers also attended the meeting at Coweta-Fayette EMC, Palmetto.

“What we’re finding is that since technology is so embedded in the coops, many topics cross over between information technology, engineering and other departments. Technology is not so centralized in IT. Every division, including field personnel, is utilizing technology,” Blackman said.

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