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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Ferguson

27 | Eric Brown, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)


In today’s episode of The UVM Podcast, hosts Nick and Steve are joined by industry thought leader Eric Brown, Manager of Grid Assets for Electric T&D Vegetation Management at Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). Eric shares the serendipitous story of how he was first introduced to a career in the UVM field—right in a parking lot! Reflecting on his time at PG&E in various roles, Eric highlights the invaluable insights he gained from colleagues, peers, and consultants. Eventually, shared corridors and previous collaborations led Eric to his current role with SMUD, where he manages their T&D programs. Eric also sheds light on the nuances of SMUD's condensed yet unique service territory, spanning from desolate wilderness to the California State Capitol.


The conversation then shifts to discussing the organizational and regulatory differences between Municipalities and Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs), with the ultimate assertion that both share a common goal of safety and reliability. They delve into some of SMUD’s specific programs, including their partnership with the Sacramento Tree Foundation, which supports the improvement of the Urban Forest as well as Social Equity in UVM.


After reminiscing on Eric’s past role as UAA President and his continued involvement in the organization, they have a candid conversation about the industry's pressing issues. Topics range from consistency in UVM programs to the efficacy of cycle-based programs, with a significant discussion about technology's role and its continuing importance, particularly in inspection and quality control. As the discussion covers the evolving landscape of UVM work, they also address fires and other weather-related events. Eric outlines his participation in developing a program for managing risks around SMUD’s assets, specifically focusing on risks not within Right of Way or easements. This is followed by an insightful look at efforts being made to increase visibility and appeal of UVM Work as a career.


Wrapping up, Eric shares the inspiring work he is doing with Light Up Navajo. More information about Light Up Navajo can be found at https://www.ntua.com/.


We trust you’ll find this edition of the UVM Podcast enlightening. Should you have feedback or suggestions for upcoming topics, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at podcast@utilityvegetationmanagement.com.











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