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I2T Summit promotes inclusion, recognizes innovation

​By Leah Shapiro

In May 2017, WAPA held its second Inclusion, Innovation and Technology Summit, or I2T Summit, to recognize and celebrate WAPA’s innovators.

The event, hosted at the Sierra Nevada regional office in Folsom, California, highlighted the role inclusion plays in innovation.  

“For WAPA to continue to be a leader in our industry, across our vast territory, we must be nimble. We must adapt,” said Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel. “Innovation will unlock our ability to provide even more value​ to our customers. Innovation will allow us to find solutions where other organizations may falter for not having made it a priority.”

The event was themed “Celebrating WAPA’s Innovators” and Supervisory Electrical Engineer Dan Hamai served as the emcee. “All of the nominees saw a better way of doing something. They collaborated with users inside and outside their areas, innovated and made a positive impact,” said Hamai. 

The event kicked off with speakers from WAPA, the chairman of the California Energy Commission and retired Electric Power Research Institute fellow Clark Gellings. “So often, these songs go unsung and it becomes a missed opportunity,” said Gellings. “The whole idea that you’re making an effort on a number of fronts to celebrate innovation at WAPA speaks volumes to your organizational priorities and the direction you’re heading.”

The event also included a panel of NASA employees central to leading its inclusion and innovation program. Supervisory General Engineer Gina Crawford and Asset Management Specialist Jeffrey Robertson moderated the panel. The NASA employees spoke about their efforts to develop an inclusive and innovative culture, the challenges they have faced along the way and specific strategies they employ to foster innovation.

“It is clear from the energy and enthusiasm of this group that WAPA is primed and ready to move on innovation and inclusion,” said Deputy Manager of NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation Steve Rader. “It was especially great to see the support from WAPA’s senior leadership. I look forward to the amazing innovations that are sure to come from your collective efforts.” 

“It is important to note there were many other individuals and groups who were nominated and who contribute to WAPA’s culture of innovation,” said Hamai. “It is apparent that innovation is alive at WAPA.” 

“My hope is that this event inspired someone who does not yet consider him or herself an innovator to challenge that assumption, and unlock their inner innovator,” Gabriel said. ​
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