Intellirent: Logistics, Training, Support

Drew WeltonCorporate Alliance Corner, Summer 2020 CAP Corner

NETA Corporate Alliance Partners (CAPs) are a group of industry-leading companies that have joined forces with NETA to work together toward a common aim: improving quality, safety, and electrical system reliability.

In our CAP Spotlight series, we look at what makes CAPs special and highlight some of their individual successes. In this issue, NETA World interviews Drew Welton, intellirent’s Vice President of Sales.

NW: What is something readers don’t know about intellirent?

Welton: When I can, I ask customers, “Why do you choose intellirent?” They always seem to give the same answer, “You’re just easy to do business with.” That is exactly what we strive for.    

But to answer the question… If I were to pick one thing NETA World readers might not know about intellirent, it would be how much behind the scenes work there is to get the equipment out right and delivered on time. A much larger team supports each and every customer order. The technical salesperson is who the customer knows but many others support the order.  I think the extraordinary attention on every customer is why we get the response…“You’re just easy to do business with.”

NW: What recent company achievement or milestone are you particularly proud of?

Welton: Some of your readers may not know intellirent was acquired by the ElectroRent Corporation in August of 2018.  The following year was a transition year for intellirent. We merged the electrical testing equipment fleets under intellirent, division of ElectroRent Corp.  This continued the focus on the electrical testing contractor while providing the largest fleet best to serve the industry.

NW: What evolution do you see on the horizon that will have a positive impact on your work?

Welton: The rental industry is so much more than buying and renting equipment. As we continue to expand our fleet of equipment, we are keeping pace with emerging technologies within our industry such as Renewable Energy.  Wind and solar power (PV) continues to grow rapidly throughout North America, and it presents a challenge to utility and testing companies in terms of maintaining acceptable levels of power quality. Since the onset of IEEE 1547, privately owned distributed energy installations are allowed to export Vars onto distribution networks. High levels of potentially harmful harmonics, extreme voltage fluctuations, and latency issues surrounding automated distribution systems expand opportunity for testing company solutions. PV testers, high-quality PQ analyzers, data recorders, and loggers are continuously being added to our list of rental assets and are quickly becoming commonplace in a testing company’s toolbox. While the challenges often associated with emerging technologies can seem overwhelming, the potential for growth and opportunity within our industry is significant.

NW:  What challenges do you see going forward for the industry?

Welton: Manpower! How many times do we see testing companies desperately reaching out to find qualified engineers and technicians to fulfill all the work that needs to be done? Many years ago, our utility customers realized the challenges in recruiting, training, and maintaining adequate staffing levels as qualified engineers and technicians took early retirement, jumped to testing contractors, or moved on during the utility downsizing period. Most were never fully replaced, which fortunately for many of us led to a boom for the contractor testing businesses. While we all benefit from working in a strong and continually growing power industry, we must provide additional training programs, ever increasing technical support from equipment suppliers, and educational opportunities for those willing to enter our workspace.

I believe all in this industry have a responsibility do two critical things:

  1. Attract new talent to the workforce.
  2. Champion training and educational opportunities for technicians.