1975 - 2020 Celebrating 45 Years
    Meeting Turbine Operating Challenges
        A Proud Heritage -- An Exciting Future
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The History of the
Combustion Turbine Operations Technical Forum
The Combustion Turbine Operations Technical Forum (CTOTF) originally known as the Combustion Turbine Operations Task Force, traces its beginnings back to 1975, when a group of gas turbine owner operators gathered to discuss problems with their General Electric Frame 7 machines.
Charles (Charlie) L. Knauf Jr, PE, was the group’s founder and first chairman, a position he held until losing his “user” status by leaving Long Island Lighting Co’s GT technical group in 1984 for a position at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  In 1988, Knauf was appointed director of EPRI’s Charlotte-based Combustion Turbine Center.  He remained in that job until “retiring” to private consulting in 1991.  Charlie was honored by the group at the Spring 2003 meeting. Never one to mince words, during his lifetime award acceptance speech he expressed his amazement that water washing still seemed to be discussed at every meeting.  Knauf died in 2009 at the age of 85.
Charlie Knauff
While under Knauf's chairmanship the group grew rapidly and expanded their subject areas to include Westinghouse and Pratt & Whitney / Turbo Power & Marine, followed by Siemens, and later Alstom (ABB) gas turbine owner operators.  The group became affiliated with Edison Electric Institute (EEI) in 1979, as the EEI Combustion Turbine Operations Task Force.  It reported to the Steam and Combustion Turbine Subcommittee of the EEI Prime Movers Committee. 
Herb Allen, a Florida Power Corp. (now Progress Energy) employee, succeeded Knauf as CTOTF™ chairman.  Allen is remembered as a: “quality guy, a person who facilitated interchange, quiet by nature, but a confident ‘force’ when it came to getting things done.” Allen maintained the CTOTF™ affiliation with the EEI which lasted for 16 years, ending with the reorganization of EEI in 1995.  Allen retired from Florida Power in 1991 giving up the CTOTF™ Chair to John Lovelace, then with Arizona Public Service Company.  After he retired, Allen spent several years as a consultant; his area of specialty was maintenance procedures.  Allen last attended a CTOTF™ meeting in spring 2006 when he accepted an award from his colleagues for a lifetime of contributions to the gas-turbine-based power plant community.
Herb Allen
With the EEI's reorganization which resulted in the elimination of its existing subcommittees and task forces and there too the Combustion Turbine Operations Task Force. Rather than disbanding the CTOTF™ members decided to continue to meet, as the benefit came from the exchange of information at the meetings, not from affiliation with any other organization.  One concern was that a lack of affiliation may cause difficulties for some members to get permission from their management to attend the meetings.  Other organizations were considered for sponsorship, but the final decision was to go it alone. The Combustion Turbine Operations Task Force dropped EEI from the name and met for the first time as an independent organization in Portland, Oregon, in the Fall of 1995.  The meeting was hosted by Portland General Electric, and was a huge success.  In 1996 the CTOTF sought the services of Wickey Elmo, now with GCSI, for conference planning and group coordination. This arrangement has worked well, significantly reducing the burden on a member company to act as meeting host.
As chairman, Lovelace, led the transition from an EEI-sponsored organization to CTOTF™’s current independent status.  Lovelace chaired the group for 17 years.  He recruited dedicated owner/operators from around the country to build CTOTF™ into the most comprehensive gas-turbine user meeting in the world. John received a double honor upon his retirement.  He is the first recipient of the John B. Lovelace Award of Excellence for his contributions to the industry in general and to the CTOTF™ in particular.  When Lovelace retired in 2008, the organization encompassed eight so-called “roundtables,” including ones dedicated to GE frames, Siemens machines, Alstom gas turbines, GE Aeros, and Pratt & Whitney FT8s.  Each subgroup has a chair and vice chair who are voting members of the CTOTF™ Leadership Committee.
John Lovelace
In the Spring of 2011 the CTOTF™ Executive Committee determined that to more accurately represent the purpose of the group a name change was needed. Henceforth, the Combustion Turbine Operations Task Force will be known as the Combustion Turbine Operations Technical Forum.
Robert G. (Bob) Kirn of TVA was elected chairman upon Lovelace’s retirement in 2008.  Recognizing the need to expand CTOTF™’s technical scope as the importance of combustion turbines grew within the electricity generation industry and in response to the User community’s desire for increased business value, Kirn proposed and led the organization’s expansion to its current format.
Bob Kirn
Now structured in the six strategic categories of Industry Issues, Generator, Electric, Instrumentation & Controls (Gen-E&IC), Operations & Maintenance and Business Practices, Combined Cycle, Regulatory & Compliance, and Combustion Turbines, CTOTF™ now provides nineteen distinct roundtables that touch all areas of plant equipment, combustion turbine manufacturers, and general business practices.

To support this expanded delivery profile, the Executive Board and Leadership Committee were created as was an expanded information and communications network.   Administered by GCSI, CTOTF™’s public Website and a Users only Internet Bulletin Board Communications Service (IBBCS), together provide both a dynamic communications capability affording CTOTF™ members with rapid responses to plant performance questions and an extensive presentation library.

As an on-going initiative to capture incremental value, CTOTF™ continues to create bold new ventures that reach outside the traditional user organization.  Recognizing the value of the industry’s manufacturing and services companies, CTOTF™ created its Industry Advisory Board (IAB) in 2009. Comprised of representatives from a cross-section of industry services, the IAB provides a collaborative communications platform to identify needs and solutions for the combustion turbine industry.

In reflection of the uniqueness of combustion turbine technology and in the desire to emphasize its emerging “stand alone” identity within the power generation industry, in 2008 CTOTF™ worked with Combined Cycle Journal (CCJ) to establish and host CCJ’s “Best Practice Awards”.  And in 2009 CTOTF™ initiated a program to provide Professional Development Units (PDUs) to conference attendees and is actively seeking Continuing Education Unit (CEU) certification throught the International Association of Continuing Education Training (IACET).



Entering into its fourth decade of continuous service, CTOTF™’s primary role as the combustion turbine  industry’s premier facilitator of information and communications remains its fundamental mission.