Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

June 13, 2019

Mark UnsworthBy Blake Marchand

Mark Unsworth is an electrical engineer with over 35 years of experience in project management, construction management, engineering management and business development.

CEM Engineering is a thermal power engineering firm based out of St. Catharines, Ontario, specializing in cogeneration and energy management solutions. CEM employs a team of 48, consisting of mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, civil/structural engineering, designers and support staff. CEM Engineering was founded in 2001 by Martin Lensink, and since then has grown into a leading developer and designer of customized engineering solutions in the energy and power generation industry.

Throughout his career Mark has held senior positions at engineering and construction companies, as well as two electrical utilities, Hydro One Networks Inc. and Guelph Hydro Inc. Mark noted that as a former utility employee, he is inclined to understand the challenges utilities face when it comes to maintaining a robust electrical grid network, which provides him a practical benefit in his current role. “When there are technical issues that restrict the generating facility from connecting to the utility grid network, I work with the utility to seek out acceptable solutions that will allow the connection to be made.”

Growing up Unsworth always had an interest in a career in the electrical industry, either as an electrician or an electrical engineer. He initially pursued an apprenticeship taking a job as an electrician’s helper and ultimately completed 2000-hours towards his apprenticeship. Although Mark admitted he enjoyed the hands-on experience he got as an apprentice, he decided to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering.

“One of the benefits of becoming an electrical engineer is that I have been able to control how much I worked in the field versus working in an office environment,” he explained. “This was very important to me and I have taken full advantage of this flexibility throughout my career.” Mark added that his career has been split between field work in a construction environment, as a commissioning engineer or construction/project manager, and office work as an engineering consultant.

Prior to taking a role with CEM Engineering, Unsworth was in a senior project manager’s role with AMEC where he handled EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management) projects working in renewable power generation space. “I was responsible for the successful completion of 150 MWs of wind generation projects, and 30 MWs of land based solar PV generation projects,” he noted.

Mr. Unsworth added that while he did find success in that role, as time went on he had a desire to return to his roots, so to speak. “I realized my preference was to work within a smaller company again,” he said, “where I could have the opportunity to make a real difference in the success of the business.”

At that point he reached out to CEM Engineering’s owner and Principal-In-Charge, Martin Lensink. “The timing was perfect for the both of us,” said Mark. At the time Lensink was looking for a senior engineer to help grow CEM Engineering’s electrical engineering department and Mark fit the bill, “and now I’ve been with CEM for five years.”

Mr. Unsworth explained that, specifically, his technical expertise is in conceptual and detailed electrical design for generating facilities and high-voltage substations. “I utilize my experience to manage each project, ensuring that the design is implementable, constructible and cost effective for each client,” he said.

Below, we asked Mr. Unsworth about his industry experience, the different trends he has experienced throughout his career and gained some insight into his perspective on the industry.

How has the industry evolved/changed throughout your career, what technological/industry developments have had the biggest impact on what you do?

The industry has evolved/changed so much throughout my career! When I started in this industry

• design drawings were drawn by hand on a drafting table

• specifications were written by hand and typed via a typing pool (with real type writers)

• short circuit studies were done with the use of hand-held calculators

• electrical protection relays were electromechanical

• power generation was provided by nuclear, coal, water, steam and natural gas

Almost since the beginning of my career, the political environment has been pushing for environmental conservation and the development of renewable energy. As a consulting engineer, I worked with a wind developer that initiated the first developments of wind generation in the Bruce Peninsula area. I have also led wind generation projects from the engineering phase, through the construction phase, and through to commissioning. I have developed roof top solar photovoltaic (PV) as well as large land based solar PV projects. I have developed and constructed hydro-electric generation throughout the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Newfoundland.

The other biggest impact on my career has been either directly (or indirectly) affected by the reinforcement of Ontario’s electrical infrastructure and the rising electrical energy prices. I have been involved with the replacement and/or upgrading or expansion of aging electrical utility infrastructure within Ontario and British Columbia while working for an electrical utility and as a Consulting Engineer.

Now, at CEM Engineering, I am part of a team of consulting engineers that help our clients achieve their energy and environmental goals.

Can you tell us about a job you did that you found interesting or unique?

At my first job, I trained for two years and then took over as the Senior Reactor Shift Engineer. I held the license to operate a 135 MW research nuclear reactor in Chalk River, Ontario for Atomic Energy of Canada. I had the overall responsibility to operate this nuclear reactor safely and reliably. I was also responsible for the managing of the operators, technicians, electricians, and training engineers on my shift.

What are some of the industry advancements that are most interesting to you?

I am interested in the development of combined heat and power (CHP) generation in conjunction with battery storage systems.

Energy storage systems (battery) can play an important role in providing a more reliable power supply for industrials/manufacturers within production facilities that encounter a high financial loss due to the loss of production during a power disturbance (such as a voltage sag or a complete power interruption). Energy storage systems can be used in conjunction with CHP generation facilities to provide a reliable power supply by islanding the manufacturing facility whenever there is a disturbance (or a threat of one) on the utility distribution grid. When the CHP generation is operating normally in parallel with the utility distribution grid, the energy storage systems can assist in correcting the power quality of the power supply delivered to the manufacturing facility. Power quality is related to fluctuations in the electrical supply in the form of momentary interruptions, voltage sags or swells, transients, harmonic distortion, electrical noise, and flickering lights, among others.

What advice would you give a young individual considering a career as an electrical engineer?

I would encourage a young individual to take the ‘power’ option within the electrical engineering bachelor’s degree course at university. There are a variety of industries that employ electrical engineers, some of which include manufacturing, energy, and construction. The employment opportunities as a power engineer have always been good to me over the past 35 years. During good or poor economic times, power engineers are needed.

As an electrical engineer, you are responsible for the lifecycle of electrical projects, from the design phase to delivery and beyond. I would advise a graduate electrical engineer who wants to work in the power industry, to work for an engineering consultant for his first five to eight years of his career. This will provide a solid knowledge base that he/she will rely on throughout their career. Most graduate engineers will also be advanced into more of a management role after 5 years, as a project engineer or project manager.

Considering Ontario’s recent cancellation of green energy programs, what types of technological advancements are needed to make renewable energy sources a more obvious option? Are green energy options still that cost prohibitive?

Green energy options remain cost prohibitive without financial incentives from the government. Green energy does not provide base load power, other than some large hydro-electric generators. A base load power plant is a generating station that provides a continuous supply of electricity throughout the year. Base load power plants will only be turned off during periodic maintenance, upgrading, overhaul or service. This provides a continuous and reliable power supply for Ontario. Wind generation for instance, only operates 30 – 35% (on average) of the time, Solar PV operation is dependent on how much daylight hours there are and can only operate at a maximum output during a very short period of the day. Green energy options, in general, have challenges to be able to provide continuous and reliable power supply.

Since most Green energy options are not a continuous power supply, we need further advancements in the Battery storage systems to work together with green energy technologies (such as wind or solar) that will be able to provide the continuous power supply. For example, when the wind is blowing, the wind generation will provide a power supply to the distribution grid as well as charging the batteries within the battery storage systems. Therefore, when the wind is not blowing, the charged batteries allow the battery storage system to provide the power supply to the distribution grid and thus providing an uninterrupted and continuous power supply overall.

Blake Marchand is Assistant Editor, Panel Builder & Systems Integrator.

Changing Scene

  • Prev
The Electrical Contractors Association of BC (ECABC) has announced the impending departure of ...
The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough was at ...
The launch of the Apprenticeship Service stands to help overcome financial barriers employers face ...
The National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO) is pleased to announce that they will be rolling out ...
43 years ago, Steve Silverstein bought a table saw and a delivery van and began a revolution in the ...
E.B. Horsman & Son (EBH) has announced their Victoria location will be officially moving to a ...
 The Maritime’s largest Mechanical and Electrical event took place last Wednesday and ...
IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. is calling all professional and student-apprentice electricians to come out ...
Vivi White has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Electrical Safety Authority ...
The Sonepar Ontario Region is proud to announce the relocation of their SESCO Central Distribution ...

Become a Wiser Approved Installer

Wiser Approved Installer

Get access to exclusive benefits, product discounts and resources that will help you drive more business, and lower energy bills for your clients.




Read More


Vivi WhiteVivi White has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) by the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services.

“As Chair, I am pleased that the Ontario Government recently appointed Vivi White to the Board,” said Annette Bergeron. “The Electrical Safety Authority’s efforts over the years have greatly improved the safety of the people of Ontario. It’s an important mandate and requires a strong, talented and diverse board as we transform into a modern regulator.”


Read more


Omnicable joins ETIMETIM North America announced that OmniCable has joined the product classification standards organization. Headquartered in West Chester, PA, OmniCable has 24 locations throughout North America, and also owns Houston Wire & Cable (HWC). The company partners with many electrical manufacturers and only sells to distributors.

According to John Dean, Director of Marketing & E-Commerce, OmniCable/HWC, “The wire and cable industry is often called commodities, but there are very distinct features and attributes for the different products our manufacturers produce. 

Read More



Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion



Latest Articles

  • Prev
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with David O’Reilly, Vice President Home & ...
Canada’s labour market is feeling the effects of ‘a tight labour market, illustrated in the ...
NETCO (National Electrical Trade Council) is an alliance of IBEW (International Brotherhood of ...
62-000 Scope states that this is a supplementary or amendatory section of the Code and applies ...
This recall involves a yellow electrical wire, 12/2 NMD90 75M Romex SIMpull cable, sold by the ...
Alberta has released two STANDATA updates in April: Liquid-filled Transformers & Lightning ...
"Electrical work is evidently dangerous. Electrocution is one of the top six causes of occupational ...
Electrical distribution problems are not always immediately identified as issues with power ...
 FRE Composites fiberglass elbows provide a number of benefits to raceway installations no ...
As the cost of living continues to rise, Canadian homeowners are increasingly seeking solutions ...

Grimard is More Competitive and Produces Estimates 3X Faster with Procore

ProcoreWhen the pandemic lockdowns started in March of 2020, Grimard (an electrical contractor) had to decide whether to shut down its operations entirely or implement a new platform with people who were now freely available for work. Once they implemented Procore, they found a way to efficiently communicate with stakeholders and offer full transparency in terms of project costs and planning. It also allowed Grimard to utilize historical data to make project estimates more accurate. Grimard was able to streamline its bidding process, which made it more attractive to potential clients and helped the business grow.

Read More



FlukeElectrical distribution problems are not always immediately identified as issues with power quality. An example of this is a thermal-magnetic circuit breaker. When it trips, the indication is generally a short circuit, ground fault, or overload. At times this can be put down to an old breaker that needs replacing.

However, it’s important to investigate the types of loads on the system and monitor harmonics for a potential disturbance. This article explores common issues with power quality and how to troubleshoot those issues.



Read More


EIN Romex 12 2 Recall 400This recall involves a yellow electrical wire, 12/2 NMD90 75M Romex SIMpull cable, sold by the spool. Products were also sold at Home Depot designated as article 108196.  Only cables with a time stamp between 12:41 and 18:02 are affected by this recall. 

The recalled product contains a neutral wire that is a smaller 14-gauge wire, contrary to the stamp on the wire identifying both the neutral and “hot” wires as 12-gauge (i.e., "12/2"). 

The recalled product contains a 14-gauge neutral wire instead of 12-gauge (as labelled), thus it may not perform as expected in 12-gauge applications, resulting in a risk of those applications having impaired performance and/or compliance with safety codes or standards.

Go HERE for more information


SimplySnap: It Just Works.

SynapseSmart technology is only smart if it works, and SimplySnap? It just works.
Scalable, field-proven, DLC NLC 5.0 qualified, and easy-to-install wireless network
lighting controls are in-stock. Explore energy code compliant SimplySnap
technology here.

Read More



Product News

  • Prev
Ericson announces upgraded versions of their extremely capable line of Industrial String Lights and ...
Intermatic Incorporated announced its new P40000 Series Load Centers, a set of next-generation ...
Klein Tools introduces new Stand-up Zipper Bags, in a 2-Pack with 7-Inch and 14-Inch sizes, ...
Cree LED, anSGHcompany, announced the launch ofXLamp® Element G LEDs, delivering a new ...
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates 350 employees are killed ...
IDEC Corporation has released a complete product line of S3TL series ferrules, wire strippers, ...
Corning CCH pigtailed cassettes are factory assembled, quality tested, and available in LC and ...
QuickLink delivers the fastest downlighting installation HALO has to offer. Installers can power up ...
Kidde HomeSafe™ is a comprehensive suite of smart home safety devices to help protect against ...
Combination Couplings used to join 3/4" EMT conduit via set screw to 14/2 through 10/3 Steel and ...

Greenlee Mobile Bending Table for 881 Series Hydraulic BendersGreenlee is bringing secure and easy-to-transport conduit bending capabilities to jobsites with the introduction of its Mobile Bending Table for 881 Series Hydraulic Benders. The new product combines the latest in anti-theft protection with enhanced mobility, easy set-up and quick teardown.

“Electricians are constantly trying to do work more efficiently. Anytime we can shave time off a job, it’s a win – and this product delivers that with easier set-up and portability. At the same time, we know that protecting equipment from theft is an issue for a lot of tradespeople. The new Greenlee Mobile Bending Table for the 881 Series Hydraulic Benders is our latest solution to help professionals safeguard their investments and increase productivity,” 

Read More



Klein Tools Upgraded Testing KitKlein Tools introduces the Premium Electrical Test Kit.

Premium Electrical Test Kit (Cat. No. 69355)

  • Refreshed kit that features three new product releases geared towards a variety of electrical testing applications.
  • Kit includes instructions and all required batteries.

Manual-Ranging Digital Multimeter with Right-Angle Test Leads (Cat. No. MM320 – Exclusive to Cat. No. 69355 and Cat. No. MM320KIT)

  • Measures up to 600V AC/DC voltages, 10A DC current and 2-ohm resistance
  • Also tests batteries, diodes and continuity.

Read More



Brady M211Design, preview and print – all from your phone. Simple and intuitive, the M211 Label Printer is built for the job site, running all day on a full charge while resisting drops, shocks and crushes.

  • Simple. Easy. Intuitive.  Seamlessly design, preview and print labels from the industry leading Express Labels App on your familiar smartphone and swiftly connect to your printer.
  • Label it once.  Now with both pre-sized and continuous labels in 90+ cartridges, filled to the brim with reliable, tested and dedicated label materials that stay attached and remain legible on every surface and in any environment.


Read More


Brent NeillyBy Blake Marchand

Brent Neilly is the Group Marketing Manager with Milwaukee, he has a background in business communications with a B.A. from Brock University, as well as experience working in the construction industry.

“When I joined TTI (Milwaukee’s parent company) it was kind of a perfect match, I had some marketing knowledge from my business degree and some industry experience from working in the trades.” Neilly gained his experience covering an area from Orillia to Timmins, Ontario when he first joined the company as a Field Sales Rep, as well as on their Job Site Core Trade Specialists in the GTA where he found his niche working with utility clients. 

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
©2022 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