The Circuit Breaker Seminar Series is returning from Oct. 14-18, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia. In our first speaker spotlight, we are highlighting Mike Wolf, a licensed electrical engineer who earned his BSEE from Clarkson University and a MEPS from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Q: What will your session, "Circuit Breaker Installation and Commissioning," focus on during the event?
A: New substation equipment is being installed and placed into service across the industry at an impressive rate when compared to the recent past. To ensure safe and reliable service for the equipment’s life, commissioning tests should be performed to verify the functionality of new equipment. Throughout this systematic process, documentation is vital to establishing expectations, monitoring progress and capturing results.
This session reviews the commissioning process for a newly installed 230 kV ring-bus, focusing closely on the gas circuit breakers and their associated equipment. The process starts with planning the commissioning activities, then moves into performing the required equipment tests, thoroughly reviewing results, functional testing control schemes and finally performing in-service testing and post-energization follow-ups.
Q: How does your current position help you in teaching courses or in presenting your course or session—and how does your past experience help you in this role?
A: I run training sessions on test theory, procedures and data analysis fairly regularly, so presenting during a conference is a straightforward extension. I’ve always asked the more experienced folks a ton of questions, so I try to remember those same questions and hang-ups that I had when I was first learning the material and integrate that into the discussion, and hopefully make it easier for the next person to understand.
Q: When and why did you decide to go into your particular career field?
A: I entered an electrical engineering program without much of a reason other than I didn’t understand electricity very well. After the first “power” course I took, I was hooked! The integration of conceptual electrical theory with massive electrical machines sparked an interest in me that has burned brightly ever since.
Q: What is the best thing about your job right now?
A: The best feeling I have with my job is when other people get excited about electrical equipment. The equipment we work with daily is complex and fascinating, and I really enjoy it when I can trigger someone else to also have that feeling around power equipment.
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your past experience that you want to communicate to students or participants?
A: No one will give you a hard time about doing the right thing when it comes to testing and following-up with questionable results. If you find a problem while testing, you can’t ignore it because it’s inconvenient, or because it might throw off a schedule or budget. Not taking action on a problem found during testing or commissioning could allow a subtle problem to develop into a major issue.
Q: Why do you think your particular subject is important to the industry? How will it help your students?
A: Commissioning is one of the most important things that will ever happen in the life of substation equipment. This is the best and brightest the equipment will ever be, and what better time to find a problem or defect than before that issue has any impact on the electric system? Hopefully, the attendees will see that a detailed, methodical approach can make the process something that they can take pride in, and perhaps even enjoy.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time—do you see that as a complete escape or an extension of your career?
A: My wife and I enjoy hiking and backpacking in the diverse landscapes that the American West has to offer. I’m passionate about the natural world, and I try to learn the birds, trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in the areas I frequent. I see this as a total escape from my career, and I respect the division that the two interests create.
Q: Anything else you would like to add about your teaching philosophy or that would add to your profile?
A: I firmly believe that you can teach anyone any topic that they might be interested in, the material just needs to be presented at an appropriate level that is pertinent to their background and their intended use of the material.
For more information and to register, visit the Web site.