T&D World Magazine

Randy Stebbins: Transformer Specialist

Randy Stebbins did not join the power industry by earning an electrical engineering degree. He graduated with a bachelors’ degree in chemistry and physics and was recruited into the power industry because of his chemical experience. Recruited 25 years ago, he had experience in specialty chemicals, technical training, environmental management and regulatory compliance.

“I was recruited to help owners of electrical systems manage environmental and regulatory concerns regarding PCBs,” Stebbins said. “It was a new challenge and quickly proved to be rewarding.”

Now he is technical director for S.D. Myers, Inc. in Ohio, which provides analytical and consulting services for electric equipment owners throughout the United States and overseas. Stebbins is responsible for all technical aspects of the company’s oil testing, evaluation and consulting, and chemistry related activities. He is also responsible for the curriculum and technical content of published materials for S. D. Myers Training & Education.

Stebbins will be teaching a course in S.D. Myers’ new Transformer Specialist Certification Program. The Transformer Specialist I (TS1) Certification is designed to provide complete and foundational knowledge of the internal and external elements of the transformer and the critical fundamentals of transformer operation and maintenance.

“Transformer owners can develop and use the information from electrical testing and from insulating liquid testing to extend the reliable and cost-effective life of their substation equipment. While a snapshot of the current test data is frequently helpful, the most reliable management decisions are made from an understanding of how the results are changing over time,” Stebbins said. S.D. Myers’ goals for transformer certification graduates are for them to perform their jobs better and to give employers an excellent return for their investment in equipment testing and maintenance - and employee development.

Stebbins stays up to date on industry conditions and innovations so he can give his students the most accurate and current information. “I am responsible for the technical content of our courses and for the technical aspects of the chemistry side of our business,” he said. “I also represent the company to several trade, technical, and standards-making organizations.”

He has taught both the electrical and the chemical side of S.D. Myers’ existing curriculum including all sessions of the courses: Half Century Transformer, Principles of Transformer Maintenance, Advanced Concepts in Transformer Maintenance, Dissolved Gas Analysis Workshop, and Transportation and Installation of Transformers, as well as various custom courses developed for particular transformer owners.

Stebbins also noted that he tries to find ways to fill in the missing pieces for the least-technically trained, while ensuring that he does not lose that attention of the rest. As an instructor, he said that education does not end when the training class adjourns. “We have to be available and open to answering follow-up questions from attendees,” he said.

S.D. Myers courses address current industry problems such as aging infrastructure and workforce. “We work in an industry where we have serious difficulties that are continuing developing and deepening. Owners of equipment for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power face challenging problems due to evolving technology in areas such as designing equipment for energy efficiency and utilizing renewable resources for power generation,” Stebbins said. “Our efforts keep owners informed of improvements in asset management and maintenance and new technologies while helping to prepare and to educate the next generation of industry experts.”

To continue training that next generation, Stebbins commits to keeping current by following industry press and traveling extensively. But he tries to find time to read popular literature and spend time with his wife and family.

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