Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Oct 22, 2019

EIN Matt Davis 400By Blake Marchand

Electrical Industry Canada had the pleasure of interviewing Matt Davis of Newfoundland Power, a talented young professional working as a Protection and Controls Engineer.

For our purposes Davis’ story begins in 2011 at Memorial University (MUN) in Newfoundland, where he enrolled in their Engineering program. Following his first year he found himself drawn towards math and physics, “particularly the electrical side of physics,” he noted, as well as the courses focused on programming, circuits and robotics, which lead him towards the co-operative Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty at MUN.

Davis completed his first co-op term working with Rio Tinto as an Automation Engineering Student, which provided him with control systems experience in a heavy industrial environment, something he had always been interested in exploring. Davis would go on to co-op with Teck Resources, a minning operation that gave him more experience working on a heavy industrial site. Davis spent the remainder of his co-op terms with The Cahill Group as an Instrumentation and Control Engineering Student in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, and a Construction/Commissioning Field Engineering Student in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

“Throughout my work terms I was pretty lucky to always seem to have excellent, experienced mentors and supervisors to help me along the way who were passionate about Control Systems Engineering and Engineering in general. As well as seeking out the chances to work on what interests me the most and getting involved every chance I could.”

Davis graduated from MUN in 2016 and was offered a job with Astaldi Canada doing ‘fly-in-fly-out’ work on their Muskrat Falls project.

In his current position at Newfoundland Power, Davis primarily handles control systems for their network of hydroelectric/diesel turbine generators. “These are mainly all based on an Allen Bradley architecture. I am also involved in backup generator support, transformer protection, and assisting with the roll out of a new IoT solution for IED management, both configurations and event management,” he explained.

How did your experience in school translate to the workforce, was there a learning curve?

I found that in school you learn some pretty antiquated techniques and technologies to achieve proper control. Of course, they also teach you the fundamental theory behind control which provides the basis for which to build a more complicated modern system. I would say that while learning different theories, such as system dampening, cascaded controllers, the maths behind PID loops, and general control structure were helpful. It would’ve also been beneficial to learn more about modern control solutions, such as PLCs and their role, or the application of communication technologies in a DCS.

As for learning curve, I don’t believe there is too much of a learning curve when it comes to the baseline theory, but more the execution. In my current employer transition, I have gone from all ABB equipment to all Allen Bradley equipment, learning all the new software and all the new hardware components of the system is proving to be the bigger challenge overall.

What is your day-to-day like as a Protection and Controls Engineer for Newfoundland Power? What challenges you, what interests you?

My general work structure is that I have a few projects I work on throughout the fiscal year (design in the spring, implementation in the summer, and commissioning in the fall). I will typically come in and check if anything needs my attention for one of my projects and if not just work on tasks I will need to complete. The thing I like the most about control systems is that it is more hands on than other Engineering disciplines, so I will typically work on getting some device up and running (such as a communications link) or my IED mgmt. project requires a lot of leg work to build the inventory base before the database configuration can really happen effectively, so on days where there is nothing pressing I can dive into that for 8 hours.

Since we are a utility provider my position also requires road travel, one of my projects is replacing a HMI in a plant about 6 hours away so there are days where I will hop in a truck and drive out to the nearest hotel to complete a site visit as required. Overall, it is a pretty self-directed position as we have an operations department as well that typically handles issues that need immediate attention.

With respect to industry trends or technologies, what is interesting to you right now, or what do you find is pertinent to what you are doing? Is there anything you see as becoming more prominent 5-10 years down the road?

While I was working in oil and gas there was a big dependency on hard wired individual signals, especially when doing high integrity cause and effect trips. I think in the coming future using TCP/IP and more streamlined and unified communication methods in – even high integrity – control systems will become more common. I believe that as technology advances even further distributed control systems (i.e. Ethernet networks and long run fibre) you will see more remote control, especially in the offshore industry.

Also, with further distributed control I think IoT will become a significant player. You will see more job positions open up for specialized IT (I’ve seen a few now for Automation IT Engineers) who will handle the IT side of network control solutions.

I have heard of smart homes and some pilot project by some of the big tech companies in the US, however, industry application will lag behind cutting work being done by technology companies, as expected.

There are also some people doing interesting work in the field of AI and machine vision to detect issues in a process environment or using big data analytics to optimize plant operation. I think the future of Automation and Controls is going to be pushing more into delocalized control, data acquisition, and self-sustaining systems.

Lastly, what do you hope to accomplish with your career?

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure. I really enjoy technical work and really prefer being on site working and seeing the equipment; I think that is the best way to learn about any system. However, I am not sure if that feeling will maintain as I enter my thirties or forties. I’m sure at some point I will want to come back to an office and get into a more management position. The company I currently work for really seems to take care of its employees, so I would say this will be a much longer-term arrangement than my previous employers.

I am currently trying to position myself for a smooth transition into supervisory roles when the time comes, if ever. I am studying for my GMAT and plan to do an MBA in the next few years. I will likely pursue a part time course.

Blake Marchand is an Assistant Editor with Kerrwil Electrical Group

Changing Scene

  • Prev
As part of ESA’s expanding online services, the new Plan Review Portal will provide more options ...
Looking to enhance your business skills as an Electrical Contractor? These courses were designed to ...
Southwire has aquired Construction Electrical Products (CEP) of Livermore, CA. Serving the ...
A century of trust: UL in Canada is celebrating our 100th anniversary! We proudly support the ...
Recent events in Ontario, including 4 noose incidents being investigated by Toronto police, have ...
Double up on safety with Eaton's new revolutionary line-side isolation safety switch. ...
A New Brunswick provincial program aimed at supporting and mentoring women in apprenticeable trades ...
Government Relations Minister Lori Carr announced the transfer of gas and electrical licensing ...
IDEAL continues to recognize the essential work electricians are doing during this global crisis. ...
Stay Wired to Win is a monthly at-home challenge designed to keep your competitive spark going ...


CSABook your place for CSA virtual instructor-led Hazardous Area Requirements course October 5-8th. The CSA Group Hazardous Area Requirements for Electrical Equipment course provides a systematic approach for designing, installing and maintaining electrical equipment in Hazardous Areas.

From equipment selection to wiring methods and installation requirements, the safe installation of electrical equipment in hazardous locations depends on rigorous attention to detail. This course will provide a foundation of knowledge to help operations, maintenance, safety, electrical professionals and other stakeholders systematically apply the requirements for designing, installing and maintaining electrical equipment in hazardous locations. 

Read More


 

IBEWIBEW International President Lonnie R. Stephenson recently announced the “IBEW Strong” initiative to grow a more inclusive and representative union, and IBEW leaders in Canada are embracing the push to increase diversity while continuing to educate the best electrical workers in the world. It’s something that’s been an IBEW priority for many years.

“We have an opportunity as an industry to solve multiple problems by putting people to work,” said Cheryl Paron, an international representative in charge of the First District’s outreach to traditionally underrepresented communities.

 

Read More


 

Latest Articles

  • Prev
We are quickly approaching January 2021 and publication of the 5th edition of the CSA Z462 ...
Traditional brick-and-mortar supermarkets are reconfiguring their store layouts and lighting ...
Since earlier articles were based on the 23rd Edition of the CEC, Part I, I have revised this ...
Over many years of experience in the electrical industry, I have learned that my colleagues are a ...
The code is a comprehensive document. Sometimes, it can seem quite daunting to quickly find the ...


Supermarket LightingTraditional brick-and-mortar supermarkets are reconfiguring their store layouts and lighting designs as part of their new strategy to retain customers, attract new ones and remain relevant in the rapidly changing grocery retail channel.

As online competition and dollar stores capture more dry-goods business, supermarkets are shifting their focus away from shrinking center aisles to their perimeters where they can feature more fresh foods.

 

 

 

Read More


 


William (Bill) BurrBy William (Bill) Burr

Since earlier articles were based on the 23rd Edition of the CEC, Part I, I have revised this series of articles to reflect any changes made pursuant to the 24th and 25th Editions. (The 24th Edition of the CEC, Part I, (C22.1-18) * is available from CSA Group. The 25th Edition (C22.1-21) is scheduled to be published in January 2021.

The code is a comprehensive document. Sometimes, it can seem quite daunting to quickly find the information you need. In this current series of articles, I will provide a guide to help users find their way through this critical document. 

Read More


 

Product News

  • Prev
Lighting Analysts have announced the release of Luxiflux® Area, a web-based exterior lighting ...
EarthTronics architectural grade Lumen & Color Selectable LED Downlight Fixture Series offers ...
The optimally engineered diffuser throws the light downwards exactly where it is required, while ...
The RMHO series of high output remote heads are ideal for applications requiring maximum light ...
RDR Residential Downlights are LED retrofit options to replace legacy downlights in many existing ...
Lightheaded’s Contortionist series features a dual axis so that it can be tilted and rotated with ...
ILSCO is excited to reveal a faster, easier, and more refined way to strip cable with our new ...
FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) today announced the FLIR VP50-2 Non-Contact Voltage Detector and ...
The new Ex9C F-type IEC contactors from NOARK Electric provides increased protection and stable ...
Commercial/Industrial-Grade Surge Protection for your facility’s service entrance or load side. ...


 

LED Disc Light DomeMagic Light announces the newest addition to their In Ground / Wall / Ceiling Disc light series. LED Disc Light Dome is made of marine grade stainless steel and makes the perfect marker accent light for driveways, parking lots, public areas, building facades and more.

Consuming only 3 watts, this robust fixture casts a decorative beam of light along the mounting surface providing excellent ambience as well as safety. Up to 18 fixtures can be wired together off one 12V, 60W dimmable LED driver.

 

 

Read More


 

Lumenwerx UbikLumenwerx has announced the launch of Ubik, a new family of luminaires engineered to offer a multitude of sleek and sophisticated options for interior spaces. From linear downlighting to long linear runs to elaborate light patterns to striking corner illumination.

Ubik can pack a powerful punch of up to 1600 lm/ft. When installed with a parabolic louver optic, the luminaires have an exceptional performance of 137 lm/W. Ubik features glare reduction with an Unified Glare Rating (UGR) as low as 6, and with regard to optics, Ubik features the second generation of Wide Indirect Optic (WIO).

Read More


 


Tom MiguelBy Sarah Pickard

At 14, Tom Miguel was sitting in the counselor’s office of Silverthorn Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke with his entire life ahead of him. In 1981, the world was changing, and like so many young men and women, he was faced with a world of choices that would go on to define both his career and his life.

It was in this office that some counsellor suggested becoming an electrician, and Tom’s interest was piqued. “I knew from that point on what field of studies I needed to focus on to become an electrician,” Tom said.

Read More

 

ECAO's Graeme AitkenBy Blake Marchand

ECAO recently launched a new program called Future Leaders Advisory Council (FLAC), their inaugural meeting was held virtually this past June. Discussing the thought process behind FLAC, ECAO Executive Director, Graeme Aitken explained there were a number of factors that went into the decision.

The program is meant to be a resource for young professionals in the electrical industry for networking, building professional development skills, mentorship, and learning about the inner workings of the industry in general.

 

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