Kelly Kienleitner: Chief Instructor, EJTC/Motor Winder/Electrician/JATC Member/Mother

Kelly K

 

Nov 24, 2017

By Owen Hurst

Kelly Kienleitner is a remarkable woman with an interesting story. She was raised in a Canadian military family. Both of her parents were in the Canadian forces and she followed in their footsteps and joined as well.

After her service Kelly went through some tough times being a single mom on welfare, but rather than retreat from her hardships she pressed forward and chose to pursue her true passions and began her pursuits in the skilled trades. She notes, “I joined the skilled trades to have a career that I loved, make good money and it makes my soul happy.”

Kelly has now been in the skilled trades for 22 years and has earned two Red Seal certifications: Motor Winder (Electric Motor Systems Technician) and Electrician. She was the top of her class and the first female motor winder to be trade certified in BC and Red Seal qualified.

She began teaching for BC’s Electrical Joint Training Committee (EJTC) in 2003, and designed and taught the IP refresher course for the motor winder trade. She was hired as an instructor in 2008 and promoted to Chief instructor in 2013. She has also served on numerous committees; for example, as Chair of the Motor Winder JATC, Secretary of the EWMC, founding member of the IBEW Local 213Women’s Committee, and Board member of the Sisters in the Brotherhood.

EIN was able to ask Kelly a few questions about her career and industry.

What impact would you like to make in your industry?

“As a trail blazer, I feel that one of the things I am most proud of is showing other women that it is doable. I volunteer at Belkin House (a Salvation Army facility in Vancouver), to offer inspiration and enforce that if I could go from a single mom on welfare to where I am now, so can they. It just takes hard work and determination. I do a ton of outreach to show women, and occasionally men, that making a career change later in life is scary but can be accomplished.”

What decisions do you find are the most difficult to make?

“Whenever I have to make a decision that will effect and affect other people.”

What is your biggest work-related challenge right now?

“Trying to find enough hours in the day to get everything I want done.”

What has been your greatest achievement in life so far?

“Raising my son to be a decent, moral and contributing member of society. He knows the value of hard work because he’s seen the outcome when you do.”

What do you think is next for your industry?

“My industry of construction and maintenance of electrical systems changes constantly. I think that energy storage solutions coupled with renewable resources is going to big as well as installation, programming and usage of control systems to ensure better battery usage.”

What industry developments are you most looking forward to?

“I think that changing the way we control lighting is a massive shift, from a simple wall switch to relays to self-adjusting ballasts based on clients’ lumen objectives.”

If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

“Remove the idea that ‘everyone’ works live. We shouldn’t ever have to work on an energized system, and if we are then all appropriate training and equipment need to be implemented.”

Describe one way in which you effectively separate work from family and personal life?

“I struggle with this one on a daily basis. I am trying to stay off my phone when with my family and recently on a holiday I made the commitment to only check in with the office once a day.”

Source of Inspiration? Mentor?

“So many people, from women in my family — strong intelligent family-oriented women who are more than willing to kick your butt or give you a hug. My first electrical instructor, Al Miles. My Winder instructor, Gordon Simpson (a man who believed I would/could be the best at my trade before I did). All the women who laid the path I walk on: Betty Butchart, YVR Electrical Supervisor, for example. I am currently working with a wonderful mentor, Andy Cleven, who has trusted me and given me such support and pushes me to be better all the time.”

Owen Hurst is Online Editor of EIN.

 

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