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Line Life Podcast: Problem Solvers, Part 1

May 17, 2024
Tim Barat worked as an electrician and lineworker in Australia before moving to California, where he partnered with UC-Berkeley alumni to co-found Gridware.

For Part 1 of our new Problem Solvers series for the Line Life Podcast, we are highlighting Tim Barat, who worked as a sparky (electrician) before training to become a liney (lineworker) in Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

While working in the line trade in 2009, Tim experienced Black Saturday, a day he will never forget. Wildfires took the lives of 173 people, injured 414, burned half a million acres, consumed 3,500 buildings and killed more than 1 million animals.

The wildfires impacted him personally and professionally and changed the course of his career. He moved from Australia to California, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California-Berkeley.

Tim and two other UC Berkeley alumni, Hall Chen and Abdulrahman Bin Omar, then invented Gridscope. Lineworkers install the device on transmission and distribution poles to provide continuous real-time asset monitoring even during outages. After securing a patent, the team founded the company, Gridware.

Listen to this episode to learn how Tim built his own electrical grid in California to test the technology and how he and his team took the product from a concept to reality. 

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