If you ask a real estate developer what the most critical component of a new construction is, they’ll probably tell you planning. A well thought out plan with input from key people can help everyone involved understand the desired outcome, anticipate potential obstacles, set realistic expectations, know limitations and even solve issues before a shovel ever hits the ground.

That is probably why one of the most critical interactions a builder has with DTE Energy is through their service planners. Before, during or even after sketching final designs developers and their contractors meet with DTE Energy service planners to determine the amount of energy that will be needed, resources that are available, how the energy will be distributed and how new equipment will work with other design goals.

One of those service planners is Tiffany Davis, and she understands the importance of these customer connections. She has been working with business and residential customers in the southeast region of Michigan for almost 17 years, working on a variety of projects.

“It’s sort of like solving a puzzle,” said Davis. “You want the customer to have the design they want, but you also need to educate them on the equipment that is required and the safety standards that come with it. Sometimes, this means that we are adjusting our plans or helping them to alter theirs so we can get them energized while meeting safety requirements and getting them their desired product.”

Like other service planners, Davis balances her days between the office and the field. In any given day, she may be on a construction site with a customer, at her desk drawing up designs or visiting work sites to check progress and accuracy. However, Davis says one the most critical components of her job is communication.

“Communication is very important,” said Davis. “Understanding the customer’s needs and being able to relay the correct information affects the final product. Having good communication between the customer and myself makes a better, smoother project.”

Davis’s favorite part about her job is meeting and working with new people. While she works mostly with developers, contractors, electricians and other DTE employees, she also helps some of residential and local business customers meet their changing energy needs. Whether a family is asking to relocate equipment so they can install a pool or a local shop is picking up more business and needs more energy to run additional machines, Davis is there to help the customers power their goals.

“It hits home the most when it’s a smaller business,” said Davis. “They don’t always have the same resources as bigger jobs so it feels good when you can do something to fit their needs, stay in their budget and make them happy.”

Davis says her job takes a mixture of skills – from patience, flexibility and a customer-first mindset to math and proficiency in computer programs like ESRI, Maximo Asset Management and CSB.

Davis is one of thousands of employees at DTE who make a daily impact on customers and  the communities they serve.

“DTE always says we are ‘the lifeblood of the communities where we live and serve’ and I feel a part of that. Even though I may not live in your community, I am still a part of it and I am here to help you,” said Davis.

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