T&D World Magazine

Jill Duplessis: The Transformer Whisperer

Jill Duplessis has always been mesmerized by lightning and by the 10th grade, she had decided to go into electrical engineering. “But I fell into this career somewhat; my father and older brother were engineers,” Duplessis said. “I had as many teachers encouraging me to pursue a future in writing.”

But it’s a good thing she chose electrical engineering because now she is a specialist in power transformer diagnostics, including emerging test technologies. She speaks with a passion when she lectures about transformer diagnostics and was once called the “Transformer Whisperer.”

“There are a lot of recognized transformer gurus, or experts if anyone is brave enough to wear that title,” Duplessis said. “I like the subject and understand it well, but it’s the ability to share and give that really excites me. And when I see that the group I am teaching grasps the concept and I see their interest peak, there is nothing more gratifying.”

Duplessis is a primary manager, transformers (North America), for OMICRON Electronics USA. She has more than 15 years of experience in the area of primary apparatus and related diagnostic testing. She also has prior electric utility work experience with exposure to a wide breadth of engineering functions. She received a BSEE degree from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1991 and has completed extensive studies in electrical power engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.

The transformer diagnostic course that she teaches provides perspective on why electrical field testing is so challenging and then works to simplify the difficulties the task presents through an ordered presentation of the inclusive “ins and outs” of many standard transformer diagnostic tests and several emerging diagnostic tools. This course covers a range of information, including an overview, theory, measurement concept, interpretation strategies, variables that may influence the measurement, and much more, for the following tests:

  • Power Factor and Capacitance
  • Variable Frequency Power Factor
  • Exciting Current
  • Transformer Turns Ratio
  • Leakage Reactance
  • Frequency Response of Stray Losses
  • DC Winding Resistance
  • Dynamic DC Winding Resistance

Duplessis works to simplify complex subjects so the information is within reach for everyone to understand. She looks at herself as a good conduit for the transmission of information. “An idea belongs to no one. You must work with an idea to create something and not try to merely possess it,” she said.

Her passion to learn translates to a talent of teaching. “I like understanding the physics behind how things work and am motivated by the idea that in any given field, we are probably only comprehending a small fraction of the greater whole.”

She enjoys teaching and her career provides her with countless opportunities to circulate in the industry and teach many people. “Holding on to most things too long is toxic. This is particularly true of knowledge,” she said. “Without a doubt, the more you give, the more you get back.”

She also loves spending time with her two children. “They teach me so much,” she said. She likes reading (letting the books choose her, she said), art, music, hiking and traveling (with a strong “proclivity toward touring the world’s renowned libraries, art galleries, churches and places of spiritual significance”).

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