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In 1972 Rolla Earl (Reb) Beck graduated from Law School at the University of Alabama.  He was sent off to Military Police School in the US Army as part of his ROTC agreement.

With the Vietnam War winding down, the Army was overrun with MP’s and didn’t need any more lawyers so Reb was allowed to shorten his stint and return home.  After passing the Bar in Alabama Reb took a “short term job” with his father’s company, Beck Sales Company and never left. 

Reb began the life of a traveling salesman selling the products that Beck Sales represented across the southeast US.  Much of his time was spent calling on cooperatives and municipals as there were older salesman covering Alabama & Georgia Power at that time.  As time marched on, Reb found his calling as a salesman.  He loved the interaction with customers and being able to fill their needs with products and advice.  His sales grew and he was able to eventually take over Alabama and Georgia Power when the older guys retired. 

In 1986, Utility Specialists spun off from Beck Sales Company and continued with the mission of providing electrical equipment to utilities.  Beck Sales continued with the manufacturing of some of that equipment and helped USI to grow as a sales agency.  And grow it did.  From having two outside salesmen to now having 9 and needing more, USI has grown to where we represent over 30 manufacturers of quality electrical equipment to the utility marketplace in 5 southeastern states. 

Reb had the vision and the ability to see what was the potential in any product and in any customer.  That combined to make USI one of the best sales agencies in the industry.  The management and direction of Reb set us on a course to continue to stay at the top of the industry. 

Reb passed away on March 6th, 2021 after a long battle with COPD and Lung Cancer.  He was stalwart in his faith to the end and making business phone calls up to two days before his passing.  He will be missed but he assembled a crew to continue his and his father’s legacy of providing excellent customer service in a fun and honest way.  We look forward to staying the course.

Southeastern Distribution Apparatus School

November  8 – 11, 2021

The Hotel at Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama


General Information
The Southeastern Distribution Apparatus School and Conference is sponsored by Utility Technology Association.  The school provides a forum for electric utility technicians, engineers and managers involved in distribution, telecommunications, substation and apparatus departments to obtain high quality, practical and comprehensive training. The school provides a network opportunity to discuss common issues and new technologies with representatives from industry. The conference is open to anyone interested and involved in these areas.

The school is divided into four modules to better provide instruction for utility professionals at all levels of experience.  The courses are designed for participants to select topics they require or have an interest in. Classes range from Fundamentals and Applications of Distribution System Apparatus for the substation or apparatus technician to SCADA, Communications and Smart Grid applications for the utility engineer, manager or technical specialist.

  •  Module 100: Fundamentals of Distribution System Apparatus

This module provides instruction in basic distribution apparatus theory and application.  Students will learn electrical fundamentals and power theory along with how the equipment works. This session should be attended by those who need to gain a better understanding of the components in an electrical distribution system. This module will help the student establish a good foundation for future classes.

  •  Module 200: Principles & Applications of Distribution System Apparatus

This module provides a more in-depth look of the individual distribution apparatus equipment used in the substation and on the distribution feeders.  The sessions will emphasize why the equipment is used and how the equipment functions. Distribution equipment included in sessions will be regulators, breakers, transformers, capacitors, arresters, switchgear and reclosers along with classes on system protection and protective grounding.

  •  Module 300: SCADA, Communications & Cybersecurity

This module provides instruction on the principles and equipment of a Power System SCADA system used for the monitoring and control of an electrical distribution system. Includes sessions on Cybersecurity, Fiber Optic Communications, Big Data, IoT, Enterprise Data Management with Asset Performance Management , Wireless Technology, Ethernet Communications.

  •  Module 400: Smart Grid, Engineering & Emerging Technology

This module will examine the initiatives and engineering applications of electric utilities. Session topics will include Distributed Energy Resources, Data as System Reliability Tool, Underground Design, Arresters, Transformer Loading, Wildlife Mitigation, EPRI Projects,  Electric Vehicle Outlook for Utilities. Also will be an in-depth discussion on Power Quality issues and solutions of the electrical distribution system.

Both classroom and hands on experience opportunities are included. The courses are designed for participants to select topics they require or have an interest in.

Professional Development Hours
The Southeastern Distribution Apparatus School and Conference will award 18 professional development hours to participants attending the entire school.

Exhibit Hall
The Exhibit Hall will be open Monday through Wednesday. All the suppliers you need to meet will be in one place to answer your questions and demonstrate their products.

Day Participant Program
This provides an opportunity for management (general managers, purchasing agents, operation managers, engineers, etc.) to attend one day for a reduced charge.  Come on any day and attend a few classes, then enjoy an evening of hospitality in the exhibit hall.

The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center is centrally located three miles from Interstate 85. The Hotel at Auburn University is situated in a charming university campus environment within easy walking distance to many shops and restaurants in the quaint, historical downtown Auburn, Alabama.

Find out more about the hotel at

Keynote Speaker

Michael Pesin
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Advanced Grid Research & Development

US DOE Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability

Conference Info

2021 School Program

General Information and Agenda
Exhibitor Registration Information
Class Schedule
Event Safety Guidelines

Hotel Info

The Hotel at Auburn University
241 South College Street
Auburn, Alabama 36830
Phone: 800-228-2876
Code: 210815APPA

2021 Hotel Reservation Link
2021 School Hotel Reservations Open Now. Use The Link Above

Contact Info

Utility Technology Association
Suzanne Powell
P.O. Box 695
Clermont, Georgia 30527
770- 519-1676

Planning Committee

Brian Chandler, City of Troy Utilities
Bob Cheney, Alabama Power – Retired
Chris Crawford, Superior Power Products
Ernie Thomas, Okefenoke REMC
George Dobbins, Alabama Power Company
Mark Ennis, AMEA
Mary Hester, Intelligent System Solutions
Joe Hall, CRESTA
Scott Johnson, Georgia Power Company
Chip Kanour, Utility Specialists, Inc.
Jack Kelley, Tri-State Utility Products, Inc.
John Moore,Coweta-Fayette EMC
Suzanne Powell, Utility Technology Assn
Nicole Sullivan, Patterson & Dewar Engineers
David Swafford, Southcon
Lonny Whitley, Satilla REMC
Robbie Young, Snapping Shoals EMC

USI is proud to represent Sternberg Lighting in AL, FL, GA, MS & TN. Sternberg Lighting designs and builds decorative and functional outdoor pole mounted luminaires that use the latest technology to provide efficient and cost-effective lighting solutions. Sternberg Lighting is a US manufacturer.

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