From Scott Carlberg

Get ready to be amazed in this week ahead of Labor Day 2018. Energy Consumers of the Carolinas (ECC) is going to introduce you to people who are working in and for the energy industry in North and South Carolina. You’ll be happily surprised at the variety of disciplines and unique work they are doing. We think you will be proud, too. We are!

Each day we will feature several different folks. These are people out there in the Carolinas, right now, making sure your laptop gets power, your AC is cranking, refrigerator is running, and the electric grid is okay. People are out there, researching the way your electricity will be even more reliable and affordable in the future. They are out there teaching and training current energy employees and the next generation of energy employees. The Carolinas have a significant, smart, and dedicated energy workforce. They don’t make the headlines. They work behind the scenes. They are our neighbors.

Energy Consumers of the Carolinas tips our hat to the people who are out there to serve both of the Carolinas with reliable, safe and secure electric service.

ABB: Travis Battle, Production Team Lead, Medium Voltage Product Line, Raleigh, NC

Travis is with ABB Inc., in Pinetops, NC in Edgecomb County. It is the Medium Voltage Products manufacturing facility. By the way, medium voltage products support the grid for the distribution of electricity. ABB provides a range of medium voltage solutions for electric utilities and industrial automation users with distribution automation products including switchgear, modular substation packages and related services.

Says Travis, “I began my career with ABB on 9/26/11 as a machine operator and have worked my way up to Production Team Lead.  In March 2017, my manager told me we had to replace the voltage rating decals on approximately 200 units for a customer in Texas and asked if I would go do the work.  I was excited for the opportunity to visit a customer’s site and also nervous because I had never flown before. The opportunity to rework our products taught me the importance of quality.  I came back to work with the understanding that we must make good quality products for our customers.”

ABB employs more than 2,300 people in North Carolina at seven facilities across the state – Cary, Raleigh, Pinetops, Shelby, Weaverville, Marion and Mebane. ABB’s US, North America and Americas businesses are headquartered in Cary.  ABB’s Power Grids division headquarters for North America is located on the Centennial Campus of NC State University in Raleigh.

Appalachian State University Energy Center: Hei-young Kim, Research Assistant, Boone, NC

Hei-young Kim is a research assistant at the Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University. Her focus area is “waste to energy” and currently works for the Nexus project: Biomass energy to heat a greenhouse. Cooperating with local farmers, she takes efforts to adopt the developed.

Hei-young conducted a feasibility study of a food waste diversion system in the region for her graduate thesis and has startethe pilot project of locally derived food waste to energy system. The photo is a 20×30 ft. greenhouse including a small scale pyrolysis system, solar thermal heating system, compost heating system, an anaerobic digestion system, and aquaponics system. It is located at the Watauga County Landfill. She earned her Master of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering from Appalachian State University in 2014.

Carolina Energy Solutions: Marc Rone, Support Technician, Rock Hill, SC

Marc is a Support Technician for Carolina Energy Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Company, in Rock Hill, SC. Marc, a military veteran, has given unparalleled dedication to the company for over 12 years. A skilled Electronics Technician by trade, he now supports all types of different operations, from Global Supply Chain to welding and machining operations to general facility maintenance.

On a daily basis, his activities consist of inventory control of welding and machining tools, equipment, and supplies. He recently also picked up shipping and logistics. Marc directly assists welders and machinists with setting up their equipment and troubleshooting. Because of his electronics background, he’s able to change out plugs on welding machines. Marc was recently trained to program and operate a new 5×10 CNC plasma cutting table. He helps with On-the-Job training for new personnel that we bring in; in a hands on fashion. He provides guidance on conducting Pre-Job briefs through Safety Task Assessments and Job Hazard analysis. Marc was in the South Carolina National Guard with active deployment to Iraq 2003-2004.

Duke Energy: Don Ligon, Manager of the Regulated Renewables Operations Center, Charlotte, NC

Don is busy whether it is sunny or raining because he oversees the hydro and solar energy operations center for Duke Energy’s regulated business. Particularly notable, though, is Don’s history with Duke, described in Lake Wylie Magazine: “In the summer of 1975 Don got a part-time job cutting grass for the local utility company Duke Power.  Once the summer had ended Duke offered Don a position as the youngest operator ever to work at the Lake Wylie dam.  He was just seventeen years old. Don says, “Duke told me, ‘We’ll give you the operator job, but you better behave yourself!’ So that’s when I started full-time with the company.”

Duke Energy considers managing the shoreline of our lakes and reservoirs is a part of its environmental commitment. Learn about that here.


Tomorrow, Tuesday, meet more people, right here, who help supply the Carolinas with reliable power.