From Scott Carlberg

Yesterday we introduced you to three people who make the electric industry in the Carolinas special: A manufacturing worker, an energy researcher, and an entrepreneur/inventor. Today, three more people who put their spin on the energy industry. As we said yesterday, be prepared to be surprised, and mighty proud of your fellow Carolinians!

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute: Jenny Keever, Hudson, NC

A good headline for this story is “Climbing Poles, Breaking Barriers: Jenny Keever, Female Lineman.” In August of 2017, Jenny Keever became the first female to complete Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s (CCC&TI) rigorous electrical lineman training program. Since then, she’s been blazing a path to success as a lineperson.

Keever is employed with Utility Lines Construction Services (ULCS). ULCS is an Asplundh Company serving the electric construction and maintenance needs of investor-owned, cooperative and municipal utilities and large industrial customers.  Keever works as a lineperson and is currently training to become a crew leader with the company.

Jenny during a demo at CCC

“During my interview with Utility, I took great pride in talking to them about my experiences in the program at CCC&TI. They told me I would be the first female lineman with Utility. Because of my training, I felt prepared to take on this challenge,” said Keever. “The Utility family has welcomed me with open arms. I love my job and opportunities it has brought my way.”

Through the program, students gain the knowledge and skills to install, operate, maintain, and repair indoor and outdoor residential, commercial, and industrial electrical systems, and associated power transmission lines. The curriculum includes basic circuits, wiring practice, A.C. and D.C. controls, safety procedures, and distribution and transmission from the source to the consumer. The program also teaches students how to use hand and electric tools, and how to read and interpret blueprints and other written and graphic instructions.

Want to learn more about the good work of CCC&TI’s Electrical Lineman Institute? Visit www.cccti.edu or contact the Program Coordinator David Coffey at 828-726-2611 or dcoffey@cccti.edu.

Catawba County Energy: Barry Edwards, P.E. – Director of Utilities and Engineering, Catawba County, NC

The Catawba County Regional EcoComplex and Resource Recovery Facility is near Netwon, NC. Barry Edwards has been instrumental in making this facility happen and be a success. Its goal: Recover usable products and by-products from a group of private and public partners located in a close-knit defined area, the EcoComplex. This group uses each other’s waste products either as a source of energy (electricity, steam, or heat) or as raw material for the production of their own product (pallets, lumber, biofuel, compost, soaps…). The EcoComplex also makes and uses renewable energy.

Catawba County Processing Facility

Barry said, “There is enough energy to power about 1,500 homes. Though the heart of the EcoComplex is its trash to energy production, the complex has many more components, which include a bio-diesel research facility that will use fuel produced from crops grown at the Blackburn Landfill. The complex uses county waste to create methane gas. The facility uses wells and a vacuum system to extract the methane gas, which is then forced into an internal-combustion engine and used to create energy.” Barry has a clip on YouTube explaining the facility.

Atom Power: Ryan Kennedy, CEO, Charlotte, NC

For more than 20 years Ryan worked in large, high profile commercial electrical projects, some as an electrician, some as an engineer, and some as a project manager.

Now he is an entrepreneur, and his company, Atom Power, which creates digital power distribution products – circuit breakers (right), distribution panels and software for industry and business. “We are applying digital technology to applications that have been mechanical,” says Kennedy. “Right here in Charlotte, we created the world’s first commercially viable solid-state circuit breaker, the fastest circuit breaker in the world.”

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We’ll see you tomorrow with more energy workers in the Carolinas … counting down to Labor Day, and tipping our hat to the people who help keep the lights on!