Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Mike Marsh

August 15, 2017

By Scott Williams

Mike Marsh, President and CEO of SaskPower, has been a leading figure in Saskatchewan’s electricity industry for almost 25 years. Joining SaskPower in 1991, Mike began his career in engineering and maintenance. He spent the next two decades playing a key role across a number of business functions, taking the helm as President and CEO in 2014.

During Electricity Human Resources Canada’s most recent awards ceremony, then-board chair Norm Fraser described Mike as “a great leader with a fair and amicable way of engaging with people, having strong labour relations skills from years of experience at the bargaining table. As a proponent of health and safety, Mike possesses the necessary experience to support and lead the industry forward.” These comments formed the basis of CEW’s conversation with Mike.

Do you believe that awards like this are useful for the industry?

They are. Our industry has so many hardworking people, and it’s good to be recognized by your peer group. The more we recognize people, the more we build confidence in the things that we're doing. 

What personal growth challenges and opportunities stand out for you in your career?

Prior to joining SaskPower, I spent 12 years in the construction industry. I was in a small office and didn't have any people reporting to me, I was working on various projects but not having to lead groups of people. Then I moved to Boundary Dam* and started in the engineering department in there, I guess it was my ability to work with and communicate with people — from tradesmen to the plant manager at the time. Within a year I was promoted into a maintenance supervisory position. It was something that I felt nervous about, but when I stepped into it, my first rule was to provide for the people. I realized I had an ability to talk to them in a way that was respectful. I didn't know I had that ability.

When you're starting to manage more and more people, doesn't this become a bigger challenge?

It certainly does. It's about being genuine, and making sure people understand your true intentions, and building trust in the workplace. As a leader, you have to make tough decisions. But that doesn't mean that you have to be demanding and authoritative. You can deal with difficult situations in a way creates trust and confidence. 

Have you had any role models or mentors along the way?

There have been a number of folks. Two come to mind right away — a colleague and coworker at Boundary Dam. In the early part of my career, Lane Hutton was a maintenance supervisor, and I looked to him for advice and direction. His approach wasn't “Do this, do that.” It was more like, “Well, have you considered this? Have you thought about that?” Having different perspectives on an issue is what helps leaders grow as they encounter new experiences in the workplace and in life. 

The second important person in my SaskPower career was Rick Patrick, a former vice president who I came to know and work for over the years. Very knowledgeable and confident in the industry. As I was growing and getting to understand the business, he encouraged me to take calculated risks on certain things. That was another very important learning opportunity, when you're encouraged to make decisions and take risks, and try to move the organization forward.

What kind of risks?

Making decisions about organizational alignment. For a number of years I was involved with the HR department for all the generation business units — dealing with people issues and facilitating resolutions to conflicts. I started to assert my opinion more. In an environment with a strong hierarchy, sometimes that can be a risk in itself.

Have you had opportunities to be a mentor?

Oh, yes. We have a leadership development program here at SaskPower, and over the years I've mentored employees who have come through that program. Then there is the informal approach — the open door concept. I have always encouraged employees to come and talk to me. While it can be challenging in terms of time management, I try to make sure that anyone who requests time gets time. Last week I had a young engineer come to talk with me about his role and his future. Just trying to understand where he could move his career. 

Is this part of SaskPower’s culture?

I believe it is. We encourage openness and collaboration. Trying to build trust inside an organization so that you can get the most out of an engaged workforce is very powerful for a company. Knowing that everyone in leadership has their back and is willing to talk to them, that's a powerful motivator for a workforce. 

On SaskPower’s website, safety is the first value listed. Is safety a priority for you personally?

Yes, I am engaged at many different levels in safety issues and programs. I’ve been involved in safety directly throughout my career. We’ve had very good people working with our field divisions, whether it’s in generation or transmission distribution, to improve our safety culture and safety performance. We continually try to raise the bar to increase safety awareness, and encourage workers to be conscious of safety at all times. 

We have a motto here: “Although we work on dangerous equipment, we do not do dangerous work.” Think about the hazards associated with the job, plan the job accordingly, then do the work. If it’s done according to procedures and with the proper safety equipment, you will have a positive outcome. 

Mental well-being is emerging as a major workplace issue. Is this happening at Saskpower as well?

Yes. We recognize that mental health is a significant contributor to things like productivity. It certainly affects the ability of employees to be in the moment and have a good situational awareness when working with hazardous equipment. It’s all part of being engaged in the work that they're doing.

How does the organization encourage that?

We're always encouraging our staff out there to take that extra few minutes and think about the job at hand. Don't move quickly into doing a job that could have a hazard that has not been properly identified. If you can identify the risks, you can identify the proper mitigations and perform the job safely. Nothing is worth an injury or potential loss of life.

How do you see the industry changing in the next 10 years?

I think the movement towards a lower carbon future is going to impact the electric industry in a very significant way. It’s certainly accelerated the path that we were already on. The transportation sector alone — electric vehicles, electric trains — is really going to help shape the electrical grid of the future. The amount of data we're now collecting that we can utilize and share with our customers is remarkable compared to a decade ago. Integrating renewables will transform the electrical grid in North America. 

I would think relationships with customers are also changing quite a bit.

Oh, they are. More information and data are available to all types of consumers. There is a growing expectation of having that information available, as well as other services to help customers monitor and manage their energy consumption. As an industry I think we're moving quickly. 

The advent of social media is also changing the way we communicate with people. It's not just one-way communication anymore. Just like how the electric grid is changing. It’s morphing into a two-way system, where electricity can come into the system from any location and can be used at the source or pushed back into the group. What we see in the next 10 years to 20 years will be amazing.

In your personal down time, what's your favourite place?

I would have to say my and my wife's favourite place is our cottage in northern Saskatchewan. It's that place that you go to relax and unwind. The smell of pine trees, and water… 

We try to get there as often as we can over the summer… mostly weekends. If I can get away for a couple of weeks in the summer, that's where we'll be with our grandchildren. On the boat, kayaking… 

How easy is it to detach from work when you’re on holiday?

We always stay connected through the Internet, but I try not to engage. I will read emails but won’t necessarily respond. Otherwise, you get drawn into the conversation. 

What would you tell a young person starting a career, whether it's electrical or not?

The biggest thing is, don't be in a hurry to get somewhere. We have a lot of young people with energy and creative ideas, working hard and providing a valuable contribution to the company. But in many cases, I think they expect to move into senior leadership roles within a very short period of time. 

Life goes by fast, and my advice is to enjoy it while you’re here. Be positive, make a positive impact on those around you, and contribute to the goals of your work unit, even if it’s not your ideal destination. 

At the end of the day, those moments and experiences will be the ones that you remember, and will bring you the most satisfaction. 

Scott Williams is Associate Editor of EIN.

* Boundary Dam Power Station, located near Estevan, Saskatchewan, consists of two 62 net MW units (decommissioned in 2012-14), two 139 net MW units, one 139 net MW unit, and one 273 net MW unit. It is also the site of a carbon capture and storage demonstration project.

Changing Scene

  • Prev
ABB recently won an order of eBus charging solutions to support TTC as it modernizes its service ...
A consortium of Canadian energy organizations has been shortlisted to develop the electricity ...
Skills Ontario Summer Camp is a week-long day program for kids entering Grades 7-9.   ...
  Glen Dimplex Americas is proud to announce that its Vancouver facility was recently ...
May 13 to 19 is Powerline Safety Week in Ontario, which is meant to inform people across the ...
Divisional Lighting Manager Salma Siddiqui, the initiative will focus on making Westburne the ...
As of April 30, Natural Resources Canada has new dry-type transformer energy efficiency ...
Ontario Power Generation (OPG), in partnership with the Six Nations of the Grand River Development ...
The Energy Council of Canada has chosen of Fort St. John, BC Mayor Lori Ackerman as Canadian Energy ...
The winners of the New Products Competition at the MCEE 2019 trade show were announced tonight; ...

Electrician Forum Brought to you by Schneider Electric

As industry experts you know the products you use everyday better than anyone and should have input on what information you receive about products and what could improve them.

Therefore, we want your insight on the biggest challenges or issues you face when installing loadcentres, breakers (CAFI, GFI's…) and other surge protection devices. We ask that you do not provide product specific details but rather your general issues and concerns or any questions that have come to mind while working with these product types. Provide us with your valued expert insight into the issues you have faced so manufacturers can better inform you about the installation and use of these products. Lets generate some discussion that will help guide the Industry.

Make your comments  HERE

 

Lovato EFCLovato Electric Corporation was founded in Canada in 2007 and is a subsidiary company of Lovato Electric S.p.A., which was originally founded in 1922. Based in Laval, Quebec, Lovato manufactures energy and automation products. The company has joined EFC’s Industrial Controls product section.

They stock over 1,800 products for Motor Control & Protection, Control & Signalling, Circuit Protection & Isolation, Automation & Control and Energy Management.



Read More

 

 

 

 

ABB Eco FactoryABB has an extensive portfolio of eco-efficient solutions and services that can help decouple economic growth from environmental impacts. In fact, over half of ABB's worldwide revenues are generated by technologies that combat the causes of climate change. The company’s goal is to increase this contribution from 57 percent in 2018 to 60 percent by 2020.

The company’s commitment to combatting climate change includes limiting the environmental impact of its own operations. ABB’s current target for climate action is to reduce its own GHG emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from a 2013 baseline.



Read More

 

 

Codes and Regulations Brought to You by the CSA Group

  • Prev
The Code is a comprehensive document. Sometimes it can seem quite daunting to quickly find the ...
The Code is a comprehensive document. Sometimes it can seem quite daunting to quickly find the ...
In this article: Tables — Part B. This section of the Code contains 99 tables of essential ...
In this article: Section 58 — Passenger Ropeways and Similar Equipment. Rule 58-000 ...
  Unauthorized CSA Group certification marks have been found on wiring by Triumph Cable ...
In this article: Section 52 — Diagnostic imaging installations. The CE code is a ...
In this article: Section 46 — Emergency Power Supply, Unit Equipment, Exit Signs, and ...
  In this article: Section 44 — Theatre Installations. The CE Code is a ...
CSA has published C22.2 No. 60947-7-3, the harmonized standard for low-voltage switchgear and ...
  Electric welders. The CE Code is a comprehensive document. Sometimes it can seem ...

 

Keith SonesBy Keith Sones

Some days it’s hard to find happiness in what can be a gloomy world.

Pick up a newspaper or scan your preferred electronic newsfeed and you’ll likely see a series of dramatic headlines, proclaiming the end of our planet as we know it. The global population explosion will soon have us unable to feed ourselves. The oceans will rise significantly in a matter of a few decades, leaving untold billions of people stranded and homeless in the aftermath. Political scandals have become normalized, with a parade of elected officials having their transgressions regularly revealed on the front pages.

Read more about Finding The Answer......

Latest Articles

  • Prev
Pick up a newspaper or scan your preferred electronic newsfeed and you’ll likely see a series ...
Britech Corp, one of Canada’s largest heating cable companies has signed a formal agreement ...
Electrical enclosures serve to protect electrical devices from adverse environmental influences, ...

Lighting LEEDThe Rivierè-des-Mille-Îles Park encompasses an array of natural forest, waterways, marshland and shoreline in the city of Laval, Quebec. With its exceptional biodiversity, it’s a unique natural attraction for the city, and welcomes over 150,000 visitors annually.

The Exploration Centre is the latest addition to the park and was built as the main visitor welcome area. The pavilion stands out with its modern and avant-garde architecture, and magnificent view of the nearby river.

 


Read more about Lighting Design...

 

 

Tools for the Trade

  • Prev
  IDEAL Industries has introduced Combination Drill Taps to its tool lineup. Combining the ...
  Stripping and crimping device, 100 - 240 V input voltage, for insulated ferrules with a ...
Professional all-in-one cutter/stripper for coaxial and twisted pair cables     ...
  Klein Tools' Coax Explorrer 2 tests coaxial cable and maps up to 4 locations   ...
  Ideal Industries' T-14 wire stripper s are ideal for all professionals working within the ...
  The ATS850 conveyor eliminates all types of electro static discharge requirements. ...
  Lorik Tool & Automation has the experience and ability to manufacture a variety of ...
  Ideal Industries' 26 piece insulated Journeyman kit is ideal for new electricians or for ...
  Klein Tools Deluxe Fish Rod Set comes in 19 pieces that when assembled can fish wire and ...
  BendWorks Software was designed to help electrical contractors adopt this new process ...

BritechBritech Corp, one of Canadas largest heating cable companies has signed a formal agreement with Heat Trace Limited, of Cheshire, England. Heat Trace, founded in England in 1974, Heat Trace is one of the world’s leading industrial heat trace cable manufacturers.

The company is known mainly for innovative solutions in self-regulating high temperature heat tracing cables up to 275°C, their exclusive high temperature, 425°C, cut to length, industrial, in the field replacement for mineral insulated cables, and their high temperature Long Line heating cables that can be installed on pipes in one length up to 10 kilometers long.

Read More...

 

Product News

  • Prev
Created with the future in mind by pushing the boundaries of the current landscape of recessed ...
Meet Soraa HEALTHY, the world’s first and only blue-free LED lamp that creates light ...
Explosion-proof lighting or hazardous locations luminaires are used in environments where ...
Power management company Eaton has launched a frequency response energy solution, called Energy ...
Designed for retrofit and new construction, Evolution Series 6” Poke-Thru devices ...
The MiniFlex Model MA114 is a compact flexible AC current transformer composed of a 14-inch ...
This new range of PINET concealed internally mounting parallelogram hinges was launched ...
Don't just rely on pen and paper for your maintenance and safety inspection. Add this ...
Whether you need to eliminate the surprise of an accidental battery connection, or have visual ...
AIS designed LED high bay lights and LED low bay lights to address the varied lighting ...

 

Fluke Insulated Hand ToolElectricians and facility maintenance technicians should ideally work on de-energized electrical equipment, but that isn’t always possible, so their hand tools should provide as much protection as possible. The new Fluke1000 V Insulated Hand Tools are designed to keep workers safe in hazardous areas and are rugged enough to use in the toughest environments without breaking.

Fluke Insulated Hand Tools are manufactured using state-of-the-art German steel to Fluke’s exacting standards for quality, ruggedness, and reliability. 

 


Read More

 

 

Maxlite TrimaxMaxLite has earned a U.S. patent for the innovative linking design features of its TriMax Vapor Tight fixture. This patent, issued as U.S. Patent No. 10,168,012, brings the number of MaxLite’s issued and pending patents worldwide to 106, a testament to MaxLite’s focus on developing cutting-edge innovation.

The TriMax is engineered with connections at the top of the fixture that maintain a hermetic seal when two or more 4’ fixtures are linked together. By simply snapping a toolless connection bracket into place, installers can uniquely create an IP66 rated lighting solution that is 8’ or longer. 

Read More...

 

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2019 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil