Launched in 1987
1986 - First industry forum on automatic meter reading (AMR) held in Denver, CO. Follow-up meeting of AMR Steering Committee held in Atlantic City, NJ.
1987 - Automatic Meter Reading Association (AMRA) incorporated in New Jersey, June 15, 1987. Individual memberships set at $50 per year. Charter members adopt Bylaws and elect Board of Trustees.
1988 - IRS grants AMRA 501 (c)(6) tax exemption on May 11, 1988. First National AMR Symposium held in Traverse City, MI. AMRA newsletter started.
1989 - Don Schlenger named first executive director. First AMRA Annual Member Meeting held in Dallas, TX.
1991 - The Sherwood Group, an association management company based in suburban Chicago, retained to provide headquarters, staffing and operations services.
1994 - First Outstanding Contribution Award presented to Howard Scott.
1997 - First Distinguished Service Award presented to Bill Rush.
1998 - First website launched.
1999 - Products and Services Directory available online.
2001 - On Sept 11, as the annual symposium was getting underway in Quebec City, CAN, terrorists struck New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC. Delegates voted to continue the conference.
2003 - AMRA Newsletter available online.
2004 - Annual symposium renamed Autovation. Ironically, as the conference and expo was preparing to open in Orlando, Hurricane Jeanne hit central Florida forcing cancellation of the event. Company memberships introduced.
2006 - Distinguished Service Award renamed for former AMRA President Robert Green. Online forums and chats introduced.
2007 - AMRA celebrates 20th anniversary. Association name changed to Utilimetrics. A Technology Assessment Tool was introduced.
2008 - First CEO, Joel Hoiland, hired in Jan. In September Autovation & Expo attendance exceeds 1,700 at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. First Ed Malemezian Best Practices Award presented to Glen Purcell. International Expansion plan launched and dinner for international guests held at Autovation. Weekly public policy reports with legislative and regulatory issues launched. Online Career Center introduced. First exhibit and presence at NARUC meetings (Winter, Summer and Annual). New strategic direction and plan approved.
2009 - First Business Plan adopted by Board, Jan 2009. CEO contract extended to 2012. In August, Utilimetrics separates from management company and becomes a stand-alone, self-staffed business organization with a new office in Des Plaines, IL adjacent to O’Hare International Airport. All staff, startup equipment acquired. By year-end there were eight full time staff members and several retained staff. New website, technology platform, and accounting system implemented. New bylaws adopted in Sept. Incorporation moved to Illinois. First blog started. Launched new magazine called Utilimetrics Quarterly. Implemented social media plan; started groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In terms of programming, attendance, exhibits and reviews, Autovation & Expo held in Denver in Sept was the strongest on record.
-- Also in 2009, U.S. Congress passed the Stimulus Act setting aside $4.3 billion for smart grid/smart meter projects (awarded to 100 companies). As a result of the hype, the smart grid technology conference market became so crowded that industry experts complained there were too many to choose from, and that repetition of content was problematic. Utility industry and smart grid markets started to feel the impact of the recession. Utility technology projects were shelved and company layoffs impacted the industry.
2010 - Utilimetrics co-sponsored conferences in Costa Rica and Brazil. Launched Regional Learning Labs. Launched Smart Utility Marketplace a new online product directory. Started AMI/Smart Grid project Management Award. Introduced historic meter display at Autovation & Expo in Austin, TX. Held first Autovation Reunion & Roast. Increased board size to 29.
2011 - Utilimetrics new programs and services positioned the association to pursue acquisitions. To create greater synergy and sustainability, merger discussions held with Geospatial Information Technology Association, Utilities Telecom Council, Peak Load Management Association and several other related organizations.
-- Also in 2011, The crowded, over-saturated smart grid conference market saw several fall by the way-side from poor attendance. Autovation & Expo attendance in Washington, DC did better than most. However, the recession continued to impact the utility industry, technology manufacturers and related consultants (Utilimetrics core members).
2012 - In the third quarter, of 2011, Joel Hoiland departed Utilimetrics. In March 2012, in the absence of executive leadership, the board terminated staff, closed the association office in Des Plaines, IL and transferred management to Smith Bucklin, an association management company based in downtown Chicago. Disrupted delivery of programs, services and communications affected Autovation, the primary revenue driver for Utilimetrics.
Final Chapter - In September, Autovation & Expo, held in Long Beach, CA, was crippled by low attendance and greatly diminished vendor participation. Surveying the financial landscape, the board of directors voted to dissolve the association.
As stated in a Dec 2012 article in SmartGrid Today, a "bedrock element of the industry is lost."