Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Oct 8, 2020

EIN Kenzie Gillian 400By Sarah Pickard

Mackenzie Gillan, a bright young lady from Baysville, Ontario, tells us about how she learned to love the electrical trade in high school, and how that path has carried her forward to unexpected places and new heights—literally. Gillan is set to begin a Powerline Technician Apprenticeship with Hydro One, and as she explains below, she had some interesting experiences during two college co-op placements. While her career has just begun, Gillian is already active in the broader industry as an advocate for women, working as an ambassador for KickAss Careers, Women of Powerline Technicians, and Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE).

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your career so far? 

Growing up I played a lot of competitive sports and believed that going to university on an athletic scholarship was the only pathway for me to be successful. In my later years of high school, I started to realize that I didn’t like working inside at a desk, and the university pathway may not be the right fit for me. 

Due to moving in my senior year of high school, I had to take an extra semester to graduate. Moving from the city of Barrie to the small village of Baysville in Muskoka really opened my eyes to the career paths in the skilled trades. Also, being the new kid at school and not knowing too many people gave me the confidence to try things out of my comfort zone.  I decided to take a dual-credit electrical installation class run by my high school and local college. I was one of two girls in my class, which was a little intimidating at first, but I absolutely loved the work that I was doing and didn’t care that I stuck out like a sore thumb. 

From there, I seriously considered pursuing the trades as my career. I stumbled across a college program called “Powerline Technician” and started doing some research. I loved all the components of it and I actively started to work towards being a top candidate for acceptance into the colleges. I was accepted into my top choice, Conestoga college, starting the fall of 2018. I loved what I was learning in school and started looking forward to going to class and learning. I knew that I found the right career path for me.

Through the college, I was able to complete two co-op terms. The first was painting Transmission structures across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The second was with Toronto Hydro. This gave me some exposure to the trade outside of the college. 

In my third semester of college, I applied to a Hydro One/ PWU hiring Hall apprenticeship posting. Knowing that it is very competitive to get an interview/ hired on, I had taken as many extra training certificates to make myself a top candidate for the job. However, I was doubtful that I would hear back. Thankfully, I received an interview and an apprenticeship offer. I am set to start my apprenticeship with Hydro One soon.

What drew you to the electrical field?

At my high school in Barrie, I had a good physics teacher that made the electricity section of the curriculum interesting and fun to learn. The experience I had in Ms. Macfie’s class made career paths in the electrical field really stand out to me. 

What do you do in your current role, what are some of the rewards/challenges?

When I start my apprenticeship, I will be building and maintaining the distribution and transmission lines of Ontario’s Grid. Basically, powerline technicians (linemen) ensure that power travels from the generation station safely to the consumer’s meter. 

When it comes to challenges, there are so many different aspects of the trade and so much to learn. Especially as a new employee in the field, every day you could be doing something completely different from the last. It’s important to always be asking questions and ensuring that you are working safely. Also, the trade can be physically demanding. Some components require you to use muscles that you may not have used before. It is important to keep physically fit and learn/ practice proper techniques for those components.

As for rewards, it’s a great feeling when you finally accomplish a new skill that was challenging. Every day is something new when you get to work in a team environment, and the views from the air are incredible. The trade can take you places that you have never even heard of before. You get paid to travel and experience new places.

What areas of the industry interest you most? Where do you hope to go with your career?

As I am just starting out my career, pretty much everything in my field really interests me. Starting out, it is crucial to learn the basics of being a good ground hand first. But as I progress, I am looking forward to live line work. Also, I know it is very competitive to get into helicopter work in the trade, but helicopter work is the top thing that interests me. 

What is the worst/best job/project/service call you have ever had, and why?

When I was on my first coop painting transmission structures, I had the opportunity to visit the Maritimes. This was something that had been on my bucket list since I was in elementary school. Not only did I get paid to travel out there and had my living expenses covered, I had some of the coolest views of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The first time I had really got to see the Ocean (Bay of Fundy) was at a jobsite in Saint John’s New Brunswick. One tower I worked on in Dartmouth Nova Scotia perfectly overlooked the suspension bridge to Halifax. Another tower I worked on was in Tiverton, Nova Scotia. Before I worked there, I had never heard of Brier or Long Island before. We had to take ferries every day to get to and from work. Some days it was so foggy on top of the tower that you couldn’t see the ground. Others, it was clear enough to see for miles. One day I was fortunate enough to watch dolphins swim and jump while I worked. No office view could beat any of these views.

How has the pandemic affected your work?

The pandemic has postponed my start date with Hydro One. As much as I would love to be starting my apprenticeship right away, I understand they are taking all necessary precautions to keep their staff and communities safe. I am using the delay in my start date as an opportunity to finish my college diploma at Conestoga College.

What trends in the industry are you most excited by right now?

I am very interested to see how advancing technology and consumer trends affect the grid. Electric Vehicles seem to be rising in popularity. It will be very interesting to see how EV’s play a part with the bidirectional grid.


      Salex Welcomes New Partner: Senso by Lumini                    

LDS Salex Spotlight 400Salex is pleased to announce a new partnership with Senso by Luminii – a Canadian manufacturer of locally made LED fixtures. As of August 6, Salex will represent their lighting products in the Southwestern Ontario region.

With every product, Senso Lighting pursues a vision of providing flexible and environmentally conscious lighting solutions to upgrade the typical fluorescent office. For over ten years, the Canadian manufacturer has specialized in LED technology and embarks on a mission to illuminate commercial spaces with custom solutions that are beautiful, economical and sustainable.


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Changing Scene

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#IDEALTruckinIDEAL has a long history of offering collectible toy trucks, which have always been a popular item with electricians and contractors, So they are very excited to announce our 2020 promotion, Keep on Truckin’ with IDEAL.

This fall, participating distributors will receive two 1:24 scale, diecast Dodge RAM® 1500 pickup trucks, complete with IDEAL branding, to raffle to their customers. The toy trucks will also be available as a premium to end-users who make a qualifying purchase of a barrel of Can-Twist™ Wire Connectors during the promo period.

 

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Connected Drum Internet of Things Nexans Canada has launched a service providing cable reel tracking via connected devices. The “Connected Drum” Internet of Things (IoT) service allows customers to benefit from real-time location, theft and loss detection and management of residual cable lengths on reels. 

By tracking and monitoring a fleet of cable reels that are off-site or at subcontractor locations, significant savings can be realized. The service includes an online and mobile software platform for efficient and convenient management. This innovation provides customers with the real-time location of each reel as well as an alert system for monitoring on-site events including deliveries and pick-ups.

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ManitobaThe Manitoba government has expanded its Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy Program as part of its continued commitment to safely restarting the provincial economy.

“The Back to Work wage subsidy is benefiting hundreds of Manitoba businesses that are bringing back employees who were laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, and hiring more staff to boost their operations and provide valued services to Manitobans,” said Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister. “Manitoba has designed some of Canada’s strongest support programs to help relieve small businesses of unexpected financial burdens...

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Terry BeckerBy Terry Becker

We are quickly approaching January 2021 and publication of the 5th edition of the CSA Z462 Workplace electrical safety Standard. This is good news for Canada as we continue to evolve in our identification and management of the electrical hazards of arc flash and shock.

But as I have quoted in the past, we need to ensure we are getting it right, and there is still a lot of work to be done. Most of the focus has been on arc flash and I am concerned that the electric shock hazard has been neglected.

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Keith SonesBy Keith Sones

I was elated, thrilled beyond belief. In my wildest dreams I hadn’t thought I’d ever be so lucky. I stared at the paper in front of me, grinning from ear to ear. All of those beautiful shapes, connected together — it was art. My eyes ran to the bottom of the page, then up again to the top where they rested, immersed in what they beheld. I felt so happy, so powerful, almost god like. I couldn’t wait to get going.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as I sometimes do. Sorry about that. Let me roll back time a bit for you. It’ll make the story easier to understand.

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Mersen IsoMAXXMersen is pleased to introduce its high performance IsoMAXX Vacuum Brazed Cold Plates. This patented design is the optimum cooling solution for latest generation PrimePACK IGBTs. IsoMAXX represents a super compact cooling solution providing unsurpassed cooling performance with a high degree of thermal homogeneity on chip-to-chip and module-to-module configurations.

As market needs for more efficient electrical power conversion designs grow, so do the technological advancements from power electronic module manufacturers. The new generation of PrimePACK IGBT modules now boast an increased power dissipation compared to previous generations. 

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Betacalo Soft SQThe optimally engineered diffuser throws the light downwards exactly where it is required, while creating a subtle indirect glow on the ceiling. Ideally suited for atriums, lobbies, boardrooms and reception areas.

Body: Aluminum and steel.

Diffuser: Opal acrylic.

Drivers: HPF electronic for 120-277V (EU-240V)

Remote mounting of drivers: Wire Size (max distance from canopy to drivers) 18 AWG - 9.5' (2.9m), 16 AWG - 19.5' (5.9m), 14 AWG - 29.5' (9m). Drivers must be accessible after installation.  

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Dee DurantDee Durant is an industrial electrician apprentice attending Conestoga College and an Ambassador for Kick Ass Careers. As an ambassador for KickAss Careers she spent time shadowing mentor and KickAss founder Jamie McMillan attending events for the organization.

The advancement of women in male dominated industries is an important endeavor for Durant, inspired by her mother, who was the first woman on the Brantford Police department. In EIN's interview with Durant, she discussed the future of electrical work, and how the ongoing pandemic is affecting our country’s students.

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EE LightingBy Blake Marchand

Energy Efficient Lighting is a LED lighting manufacturer with nearly 30 years of industry experience. One that was founded on principles of environmental sustainability and responsibility to future generations. Based out of Markham, Ontario, they offer complete lighting solutions for commercial and industrial applications.

Their product lines include conventional lighting fixtures, LED retrofit kits, complete LED luminaires, LED systems, drivers and electronic ballasts. 

 

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