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May 16, 2018 | Tom Ballard

GRIDSMART launches new magazine named #talkITS

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

GRIDSMART Technologies Inc. has always been at the forefront of the intelligent transportation sector, so it should not surprise you that the company has just launched a new initiative.

Coming on the heels of three successful years of its INTERSECT conference held each fall, the West Knoxville company with the tagline of “Traffic Control Freaks” just published the inaugural issue of its new magazine – #talkITS.

Bill Malkes, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GRIDSMART, says we can expect two or three editions of the publication annually. The inaugural one focused on the INTERSECT17 that was keynoted by Mary Peters, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation (see our article on her presentation here.)

“We all had a great time and learned a lot” at the event, Malkes wrote. The 2017 conference theme was “Time we had the talk.” For the 2018 edition set for October 16 – 18, he says the focus will be to start putting the lessons to work under the theme of “Getting our hands dirty.”

After more than six years of publishing, we know the challenges of publishing, even in the more limited area of an electronic newsletter. We inquired about the motivation.

“Starting a publication is a hefty undertaking, but we’ve never been afraid to do the heavy lifting to fill a gap that we see,” Lauren Jochum, GRIDSMART’s Chief of Staff and Director of Brand Strategy, says. “When we met for INTERSECT17 last November and ‘had the talk,’ we focused on asking the hard questions, opening-up dialogue about the things that are often overlooked, and we got so much great feedback from all the amazing people that joined.”

She said that one of the recurring themes in that feedback was the absence of a robust source of straightforward communication about what is happening in the industry.

“People seemed to want something that would cut through all the PR static and get to the heart of what’s really going on . . . so we created #talkITS,” Jochum said. “Our goal was to create a publication that featured the ‘man on the street,’ the on-the-ground problems, and the real-world solutions that fit everyone from the CEO to the “Average Joe.’ And that’s what we’ve got now.”

She explained that each issue will discuss new trends, upcoming innovations and new products in addition to highlighting smaller, less flashy updates and resources that focus on making current products work even better.

“More than anything else, we just wanted to offer an outlet and a voice for our partners and fellows in the industry,” Jochum explained.

You can peruse the inaugural issue here. Individuals can also subscribe for future issues by sending their name and mailing address to

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