T&D World Magazine
Craig Nelson: Always Something New

Craig Nelson: Always Something New

The electrical field is diverse and constantly changing, and according to Craig Nelson, there is always something new to learn about. This is the message he carries to students: Ongoing training is important in order to stay abreast of technology and new developments; especially standards and code requirements.

Craig Nelson is training specialist at Shermco Industries in Irving, Texas. His job has always involved instructing people, from the time he was a journeyman teaching apprentices in the early 70s. Later on, as an applications engineer at Megger, he presented products and instructed customers. While working for an engineering services company from 2003 to 2009, he had the opportunity to teach courses and enjoyed the experience. So he decided to move on to teaching as a profession and joined Canada Training Group. He recently came to Shermco Industries and teaches courses in electrical and arc flash safety. He also presents sessions on substation and power plant electrical testing and maintenance, with an emphasis on low and medium-voltage circuit breakers.

“Circuit breakers and other types of system protection are vital to maintaining electrical system reliability and in eliminating or at least limiting electrical damage, loss of property and revenue,” Nelson said. “Unless they are properly tested and maintained, malfunctions can lead to catastrophic failures that make the cost of electrical system maintenance cheap in comparison and, in turn, a wise investment.”

Shermco provides the training necessary for students to perform the maintenance and testing properly, and to enable them to identify problems that require outside resources to correct them. Nelson has actually been associated with Shermco as a vendor and supplier over the years and knew a lot of the personnel and the company when he joined it in December. “It’s a real pleasure to be able to teach courses surrounded by excellent talent and resources, and be part of a top-flight organization. This always makes every day on the job one to look forward to,” he said.

Besides his teaching experience, Nelson brings a well-rounded background to the classroom. He has been involved in power plants, substations, power systems test equipment and a variety of other disciplines. His past also includes a well-decorated career (active and reserve) in the U.S. Navy. His roles consisted of master chief construction electrician, Seabee combat warfare-qualified and second-class deep sea diver.

Nelson considers the knowledge that he can pass on to students a valuable gift, especially how to work safely. “No matter how well we do our jobs, we are only really successful when they end the day in the same shape they started it,” he said. “Quite often in the electrical trade, if you make a mistake, you don’t get a do-over.”

Building is his spare-time activity—either doing home improvement projects or helping his grandson build something. Working on his vintage Volkswagen goes along with that.

Shermco Industries is a provider of safe, reliable testing, repair, professional training, maintenance and analysis of rotating apparatus and electrical power distribution systems and related equipment for the light, medium, and heavy industrial base nationwide. Founded in 1974 in Dallas, the company comprises two strategic business units; the Machine Services Division and the Engineering Services Division. With a corporate location in Irving, Texas, a sales office in Brussels and service centers in Austin, Cedar Rapids, Houston, Sweetwater, and Tulsa, Shermco Industries has over 350 full-time employees. The company is a member in good standing with the Electrical Apparatus Service Association, American Wind Energy Association, Professional Electrical Apparatus Recyclers League, and the InterNational Electrical Testing Association.

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