When Gregory Faith started out as a substation mechanic at Con Edison in 1973, formal classroom training did not exist. He learned on the job when the equipment required frequent maintenance and repairs were needed more often
But Con Edison has been one of the companies to change that, in order to train the new generation of substation mechanics. Even as the utility industry moves toward smart grid technology, workers still need to learn the basics of substation maintenance and repair in order to hone their craft.
Since his early days of learning by the ropes, Faith has become senior instructor of substation training at The Learning Center, Con Edison's employee training facility. Since its opening in 1993, TLC has been a place of learning for Con Edison’s employees, and has served the training needs of businesses, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other large outside organizations.
Faith will be presenting the Integration of Hands-on Training into a Classroom Environment at Finepoint’s Circuit Breaker Test and Maintenance Training Conference on Oct. 5. The presentation will show how Con Edison has brought various manufacturers’ “factory classes” into its classrooms.
After attending factory classes, the folks at Con Edison were able to collaboratively procure working models of substation equipment with the help of engineering and substation operations. These working models include high-voltage circuit breaker mechanisms and interrupters, as well as tap changers and on-line monitoring systems. Faith will show samplings of manufacturers’ resources that are used in their factory, and on-site programs such as slides, animations and videos.
“The goal is to show how we continue the integration of hands-on training into the classroom at a time when a high percentage of first-generation substation equipment has been replaced and the new generations of substation mechanics(x-y) have been replacing the baby boomer generation,” Faith said.
Faith has worked in various positions at Con Edison throughout his 38 years of service, and is culminating his career by passing down the knowledge and skills needed for the next generation of substation mechanics. He graduated from the Brooklyn Technical High School and started working at Con Edison as a general utility worker for the substation department in 1973. He started his career as an instructor in 1983 in Con Edison’s first maintenance substation training center, located at the retired Sherman Creek Generating Station.
“This was the beginning of hands-on training for substation mechanics,” Faith said.
He was assigned as a safety and training administrator for steam operations from 1989 to 1995, and went on to hold positions in environmental health and safety, construction management and The Learning Center. He then returned to school to obtain his degree at Manhattan College.
He prides himself in continuing to integrate hands-on training in the classroom. He’s also proud of his two children, ages 21 and 24.
When he’s not in a classroom, he enjoys boating, skiing, gardening, exercising, car repairs, home repair projects, and living by the beach.