In June 2019, utility professionals from more than 40 countries will converge in Columbus, Ohio (USA) for the ESMO 2019. The program spans four days, featuring two days of outdoor field demonstrations and exhibits and a two-day technical program combined with an indoor exhibit area. Attendees will gain the knowledge and expertise required to effectively build, operate and maintain the world’s power-delivery systems.
The event, from June 24-27 in Columbus, Ohio, is hosted by American Electric Power. The following is a Q&A with Rob Grawe, one of the presenters for the underground panel session.
Q: Where were you born, and where did you get your education?
A: I’ve lived in Columbus, Ohio my entire life. I graduated from Purdue University in 1996 and earned my MBA from Otterbein College in 2001.
Q: Why did you or what you got you into this industry?
A: The desire to work for a major utility, especially the electric power industry. It works with AEP in my hometown.
Q: Talk about the different positions you have had during your career and where you earned your teaching degree.
A: After obtaining my PE license, I started my career at a few civil engineering consulting firms in the central Ohio region. I accepted a position in 2005 as a civil engineer with the underground distribution network engineering organization. My responsibility included the rehabilitation and new construction of the underground network infrastructure across AEP’s system. During the five years I was with the UG Network organization, I completed my technical degree in power engineering from Michigan Tech University (BSEE in 2009). During that time, I also obtained a teaching degree and began to teach technical courses, and course development, online through Bismarck State College in North Dakota.
In 2010 I then accepted a new position running the crews who operated and maintained the underground network system in Columbus and Canton, Ohio, and Wheeling, West Virginia. I did this for two years before transferring to Transmission Line Engineering as a supervisor in 2012. I brought my underground expertise and leadership to the group. I’m currently the transmission line engineering manager for AEP’s Ohio region.
Q: What is the most exciting thing about your job right now?
A: I have a great staff of engineering supervisors, engineers, designers, technicians, coordinators and GIS. I get to experience a lot of wide-rangingsituations and challenges, all unique… We have a lot of work to do, given the recent industry growth in Transmission. I can say more about this…
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: A storm, emergency outages and being able to get necessary support to restore power.
Q: You are presenting at ESMO. What is the working title for your session?
Q: Who will the panelists be and what criteria are you using to choose them?
A: The panel discussion will be a small part of the Underground Session. It will bring UG Distribution and UG Transmission experts together to discuss monitoring technology and differences between UG distribution and transmission systems. We have EPRI, PDC, AEP now, and still working to get more.
Q: Why is this topic so crucial to the industry?
A: It’s underground, the other option to overhead design. Also, more people are asking more questions regarding burying power lines.
Q: What will be different or special about this session?
A: It brings distribution and transmission together to talk about differences and similarities between the two different types of cable systems. Also, we will work together and collaborate on monitoring efforts to help ensure the safety aspects of operating and maintaining underground systems.
Q: Why should people attend ESMO and your session? Who would benefit?
A: Anyone involved with the design, operation and maintenance of underground cable systems.
Q: What can the attendees expect to hear during your session at ESMO?
A: Staying safe is the number one goal, and staying safe around operating and maintaining underground power systems, both distribution and transmission, is essential. At my session, utility professionals will learn how to find out the latest information on safety through monitoring efforts of underground power systems.