Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Nov 9, 2018

Peers and ProfilesAllison Wood and Dominique Rivet are two apprentices who had a wealth of career options available to them but chose to work in the powerline trades. They couldn’t be happier with their decision.

“The trades may be a little rough around the edges,” says apprentice powerline maintainer Allison Wood. “But I love that it’s never the same day twice.”

Wood, now a second-term apprentice with IBEW Local 636 in Niagara, had a lot of options when she graduated high school. With a lot of math and science courses under her belt and a track record of 80s and 90s in her classes, she was considering becoming a doctor.

What changed her mind? “I didn’t want to sit in a classroom for years, just racking up debt. I was also really enjoying my technical classes, and decided I like working with my hands just as much as I like mental stimulation.”

Dominique Rivet (shown in photo), also an apprentice with IBEW Local 636, was initially was looking at becoming an electrical engineer. “After completing a semester I realized I was much more interested in building and troubleshooting the circuits than designing them,” she says. “I did a great co-op placement with an engineering firm, but there was no field work.”
Rivet is an apprentice power station electrician with Hydro Ottawa, and their second female in the role. Prior to that, she was Hydro Ottawa’s first female apprentice metering technician.
She’s very happy with her choice and her path. “For a long time it’s been my goal to get into a utility company. Everything here is great, and the team here really makes me feel included. Once I have my license and get more experience, my goal is to get a tech position here, doing protection and control of the lines.”

Finding their dream jobs

“A few years ago, I saw a video showing a linesman working high up on a pole, and I just thought that what he was doing was so cool,” says Wood. That video became the inspiration to her career path.

Wood had started on an apprenticeship doing construction and maintenance electrical work. But as a petite female, her supervisors felt she wasn’t physically strong enough to do the job. She lost her position, but that didn’t stop Wood from pursuing her dream.

“I started working with a personal trainer,” she says. “Some of the tools an electrician uses can be heavy, and you do need to have the hand strength to use things like hand crimps. I worked hard and developed the upper body strength I needed.”

It was at that point that she saw the video that inspired her to change direction. She applied to Niagara Peninsula Energy as an apprentice Powerline Maintainer and is working through her probationary year as a member of IBEW.

Rivet’s journey to her power station work was less direct. “I took a bit of a longer route and started by getting my instrumentation and control engineering diploma, followed afterwards by my electrical engineering technologist diploma.”

While she notes her job is physically demanding, Rivet didn’t have any trouble with the physical requirements. “I play hockey and I box, so I found it challenging but very doable.”
Rivet cites another key quality she feels is needed to be a success in her field. “Personally I think a good attitude is very important in being an exceptional electrician. I believe someone who comes to work optimistic and happy is more prone to working safely. Being more involved in the day to day business means they will learn more about the trade.”


Loving the work

Since she signed on with Niagara Peninsula Energy, Wood has attended several rounds of in-class instruction and has assisted journeymen with restoring power to homes and businesses after storms and other incidents. After one storm, she had her first taste of some of the long hours powerline workers sometimes face with a 7:00 am to 11:00 pm shift.

For Wood, however, it’s all a part of a job she loves. “In school I’ve been climbing 65’ poles, practicing pole-top rescue, stringing wires and changing transformers.” She clearly can’t wait until she’s able to do these tasks in the field.

She also likes the work she’s currently doing, under the careful supervision of the journeymen on her team. “This week a car crash resulted in a pole being snapped in two. The only thing holding up the top was the communications cable. Once power to the pole was disconnected, we went in, stripped off all the overhead lines. When the new pole was put in place, we reconnected everything. It was a basic pole, so the whole thing took about four hours. It can take longer for more complicated poles.”

She really likes the training aspect of her apprenticeship as well as the overall atmosphere. “All the guys are really helpful. If you’ve got a problem they’ll help you work through it, asking you questions so that you learn to step back, reassess, and go at the problem from a different angle. It’s very logical, and no one shoots you down or tells you, ‘That’s a stupid question.’ They’re very keen on helping you through the learning process, explaining why we use certain materials or processes.”

While Rivet won’t be climbing hydro poles, she is learning to do critical work that keeps the power flowing throughout the city of Ottawa.

“Right now I’m on a maintenance crew, and we go through each cell in a station and calibrate and test the relays, breakers, switch and other parts, and perform any necessary repairs to all the cell equipment.”

She notes that she’ll be doing something different fairly soon. “Hydro Ottawa is pretty good for rotating their apprentices through all the different aspects of the job. After maintenance, I should be joining a capital crew which involves building and commissioning new stations.”

Rivet has also seen her share of repair work due to storms, like the one that hit Ottawa in spring 2018.

“The power was out all over the city and it was while I was on the inspection crew. We were asked to walk some of the lines to find a fault since all of the powerline technicians were needed to repair the numerous lines that were down. We eventually found the fault — it was a very big maple tree that was leaning up across two phases. We made the area safe and ensured no one from the public would go near the line or the tree, and waited for a line crew to come to do the repair.”

Challenges and rewards

Do they find there are any big challenges as women in the electrical power trades?

“I’ve been pretty fortunate. So far all the guys are pretty good for making me feel part of the group,” says Rivet. “I guess the biggest challenge I have is finding bathrooms while I’m out on the road, since it’s not as easy for me as it is for the guys,” she laughs.

“That, and finding work gloves in size small,” says Wood.

As it’s not yet a common sight to see a woman on a powerline crew, Wood does get a surprised reaction sometimes from members of the public. “But nothing mean,” she says. “Just light-hearted jokes. Once someone saw me with the guys and said, ‘There’s a rose between the thorns.’ That kind of thing.”

Rivet agrees. “I think the nicest comment I have ever received happened when I was going home from work. I was in the elevator with a mother and her two children, and the little girl just thought I was the coolest person ever. She was flooding me with all sorts of questions.”

Peer support helps along the way

As part of the small percentage of female power supply electricians, these young women are in a unique situation.

Thankfully they can connect with other women in the trades through Women of Powerline Technicians. Women of PLT is a volunteer based organization that hosts networking events, field trips, 24/7 online accessible peer group, no cost mentoring, career postings and more. They are able to provide these activities thanks to the generous support of Oakville Hydro.

“Lana (Norton, Women of PLT’s founder) is a coworker of mine and she’s been great for providing me with information regarding different events for women in the trade,” says Rivet. “Being a member has helped me be in contact with other women in a similar trade.”

For her part, Wood is also becoming a mentor with the group. “There’s a girl who just started, and I’ve been helping her with tips, and even giving her some old textbooks.”

Proving that anything is possible

What would these apprentices say to other young people, especially young women, about going for their trade?

“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” says Rivet. “It’s also important to never give up even if things don’t work out the way you’d like them to the first time around.”

This article was first published on Powering Communities, an online initiative of the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The ECAO and IBEW are a formidable team of employers and electricians who are recognized industry leaders in delivering safe, stable and high
quality electrical/telecommunications construction and maintenance services.

Find out more: www.poweringcommunities.ca


       Partnering For The Next Step                                                                     

Siemens CanadaWelcome to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit brought to you by Siemens

How quickly can you react to changing conditions and demands in your market? How can you ensure your production will run securely at any time in the future?

Industry’s digital and technological transformation is the answer for meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and market needs.

With the right digitalization and automation solutions, expertise won from practical experience, and a partnership approach that benefits all involved parties.

To explore these possibilities, we’re bringing together top-level speakers, specialists and decision-makers from various industries and experts from Siemens to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit under the motto “Partnering for the next step.”   

This virtual summit will be an interactive digital event featuring first-hand experiences and success stories achieved with industrial digitalization and automation solutions, and cutting-edge technologies.

Join us on July 16 and learn from customers and experts how you can respond efficiently, flexibly and safely to the changing market environment.

To cover as many different time zones as possible, we offer two almost identical live sessions – you can also watch them on demand at your convenience:

Sessions runs from :  9:30 am to 2:15 pm ET (3:30 pm to 8:15 pm CEST)


READ MORE

Changing Scene

  • Prev
ECAO is piloting a young leaders group, named Future Leaders Advisory Council (FLAC).   ...
Cooper Lighting extends its commitment to education and support of its customers and specifiers. ...
Stay Wired to Win is a monthly at-home challenge designed to keep your competitive spark going ...
Join the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO) for a live webinar on July 7 at 2:00 ...
Following the latest COVID-19 announcements from the Ontario Government, ESA has decided to ...
Introducing Stay Wired to Win – a series of monthly at-home challenges designed to keep your ...
ESA’s response team has been working diligently to address the emerging issues. We are moving into ...

 

WestburneMany contractors prefer to deal with the people that they know, in their local branch. When doing a job out of town, it’s often inconvenient or simply impossible to return to your home branch to pick up material orders for the next day, within standard business hours.

Westburne’s new locker solution extends the branch’s pick up times to 24 hours, 7 days a week.

 

 

 


Read More

 

Latest Articles

  • Prev
Any contractor who has been on the jobsite during a difficult wire pull can attest to the ...
All electrical incidents are preventable! Keep employees safe with an up-to-date electrical ...

EmployeesBy Terry Becker

All electrical incidents are preventable! Keep employees safe with an up-to-date electrical safety program and complimentary training.

“Employees don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect!” This is a great quote when it comes down to occupational health and safety. The need for ensuring that an audit is a key component of your overall occupational health and safety management system and your company’s electrical safety program is essential.

Read More

 

 

Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

Student workers may make up a relatively small portion of the sector workforce, but their impact is substantial. EHRC’s Empowering Futures wage subsidy program has placed 510 students, contributing $14.8 million to the Canadian economy (and counting). That’s no small figure, especially considering that many placements are only a few months long.

In challenging economic times, the tendency might be to pull back on initiatives not deemed essential to operating — why take a chance on an inexperienced employee for only a short time when resources are already stretched?

Read More

 

Product News

  • Prev
LED security lights are perfect for applications such as yards, walkways, driveways, patios, ...
Signify is increasing its UV-C lighting production capacity and expanding its UV-C product ...
Stanpro LINK Emergency power conversion module was developed to eliminate conventional emergency ...
The new and improved next generation Rail 2 RM2DU (formerly the RM2DI) maintains its industry ...
Lutron Electronics introduces Athena: a simple, flexible, all-in-one solution that elevates ...
Available in standard and high output, LEDs provide excellent luminous intensities at low drive ...
Klein Tools introduces the new Loose Cable Stapler, featuring a forward action design for stable ...
Eureka announced the release of its Expo tube luminaire. Expo is a decorative lighting tube ...
Specification Grade, UL Listed for US and Canada; Dual Input 120/347, One or Two-lamp Operation; ...
The LMEZ Micro is a slim profile LED linear luminaire featuring an adjustable aircraft cable ...

 

Brady Pull-Handle Butterfly Valve LockoutThe Pull-handle Butterfly Valve Lockout. Its simple, fold-over design effectively lockspull handles in any desired position. And, it holds up to four padlocks for added safety. No matter what industry you’re in, this versatile, one-piece lockout device bolsters your safety lockout solution. And that’s a welcome addition to any lockout program. With this device you’ll also get:

  • A great fit – exclusive, anti-pivot lockout device that fits a variety of pull handle butterfly valve sizes

 

 

 

Read More


Shannon TymoskoBy Blake Marchand

Shannon Tymosko is a first-year apprentice with IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Local 105, something she undertook after 10 years working her way up the ranks of a payday loan company.

“One of the things I love, working in the trades, is you can see your progress and you can see at the end of the day the work that you have done.

 

Read More

 

 

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2020 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