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T&D World Magazine

Don Mayhugh: Following the Path

Don Mayhugh has arrived as an instructor at the AVO Training Institute by following the path that most held his interest; one that logically took him from math in high school to relays in his current job. According to Mayhugh, his most interesting high school courses were related to math. Then his appetite for electrical work was developed in the U.S. Army where he worked on large generators. Next was his first utility job, working in the electric watthour meter business at Southern California Edison.

“I was excited to do something that seemed to follow my earlier interests,” Mayhugh said.

Now, after working in the power utility industry since 1969, he says that “there is no better honor to your career than to be able to pass down your tools to a new generation.” Mayhugh has experience in testing and maintaining many electromechanical types of energy meters and installing and removing all metering equipment. He has installed, removed, tested, and maintained relays, meters, recorders, and monitors of all types throughout generating plants and substations. He has calibrated and maintained many microprocessor, solid state, and electromechanical types of relays for differential, line protection (transmission and distribution), load shedding, voltage control, breaker failure, and transfer tripping schemes with emphasis on SEL and GE Multilin relays.

Mayhugh is passing down those tools in courses he teaches at the AVO Training Institute. He will be presenting Advanced Protective Relay Maintenance on June 13-17, in Los Angeles, California. The course covers:

  • Complex electromechanical protective relay theory, application and components
  • Interpret internal and external wiring diagrams for typical relays
  • Perform visual and mechanical inspections
  • Use of MPRT with TVI
  • Proper application of voltages, currents and phase angles using phase shifting test equipment
  • Test, calibrate, repair and troubleshoot the following relays in lab: Directional overcurrent (CR, JBC), Power (IRD, JBCG), Sync-check (CVE, IJS), Impedance (GCX, KD, CEY, CEB)

“In this time of world unrest, it is a good feeling to know that relays are the backbone of any large power grid,” Mayhugh said. “The redundancy and complex schemes used on power grids go a long way to create an infrastructure that would be very, very tough to bring down by any attempts of terrorism. Regulatory agencies not only demand that grid operators do their maintenance, they also have the ability to impose very stiff penalties, and they do. If my students learn this craft, they will be very much in demand for a long time.”

Mayhugh not only brings years of experience to the classroom, he is also still learning new perspectives. Doing relay and meter service work for private contractors this last year has opened his eyes to the different situations not seen in electric utility work. “This last year, I have seen and used as many different kinds of equipment as I previously did in my utility experience. It has given me the chance to interface with a lot of new people in different roles,” he said.

He recognizes that technology changes quickly and creates new challenges every day. He also has learned that “all things are possible with ordinary people,” and he communicates that to his students.

Another subject from high school that has stuck with Mayhugh is wood shop, although a bit delayed, he said. He recently built a large wood shop next to him home. “It’s called a mancave,” he said. “I’m not sure what I will be producing, however I know I will be making one thing for sure, and that’s a lot of sawdust.”

Mayhugh also likes riding his newly purchased Honda Goldwing Trike with his “queen.” And of course, he enjoys taking care of grandkids.

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