When the presentation for this year’s Alliance Recognition Award began, Dr. Nick Perjanik thought the award was going to anyone but him.
“At first, I thought it was someone else since there were many people in the room with similar backgrounds and contributions to NETA. Once the reference was made to my dissertation, I was surprised I was the one being recognized,” Perjanik says. “It was an unexpected but appreciated honor.”
His doctoral dissertation focused on how to capture the experience-based knowledge of retiring electrical engineers at electrical utilities. As Director of Operations for Weidmann Electrical Technology Inc. and through his contributions to NETA, Perjanik has proven time and time again his dedication to education and training.
“Nick is first and foremost an educator,” says Tom Prevost, Vice President Innovation and R&D Americas Region for Weidmann. “Even though he never was a teacher or professor in the traditional sense, he strives to leave those around him more informed whenever the opportunity arrives.”
Prevost says he was immediately impressed and surprised when he met Perjanik.
“My first thought was ‘Who is this guy and where did he come from?’” Prevost says. “I left Weidmann for a few years, and when I returned, he was leading the company’s education efforts. I met him at a conference where he spoke, and I was surprised he was so knowledgeable, yet I did not know him earlier.”
Some of the surprise Prevost felt had to do with Perjanik’s demeanor. Prevost describes his colleague as someone who is clearly incredibly knowledgeable but still humble and eager to find the best way to share his knowledge with his peers. “He cares about people,” Prevost says. “He respects his peers deeply, and it shows.”
Perjanik credits his passion for learning and helping others learn in no small part to an important educator in his life.
“Dr. Fredi Jakob was a California State University–Sacramento professor and the faculty advisor to the Snow Ski Club. We connected as chemists and avid skiers, and I began my career testing transformer oils for his local lab in the 1980s,” Perjanik says. “Years later after working alongside him, I was honored when he introduced me at a training conference as his colleague. He continued to influence my career and demonstrate how knowledge and expertise could lead to a long career.”
So far, it’s been a career defined by that thirst for knowledge.
“In college, I took a required chemistry course and ended up just staying in that building for four years. I continued to take chemistry classes I found challenging, and a week before graduation, a professor told me I needed to officially change my major to chemistry,” Perjanik says. “I was caught up in the analytical nature and logic of the sciences and that has continued to this day.”
“When you find a career in an industry that allows you to be both professionally and personally challenged and rewarded, you do not take it for granted,” Perjanik says. “I enjoy learning, contributing, and working in this industry.”
Of course, with his drive for education, Perjanik notes the importance of partnering with organizations such as NETA that are dedicated to learning.
“I’ve been involved with NETA since the early 1990s, so I have seen the association grow and become a recognized and leading force in the industry. I have been honored to support NETA companies and members for many decades at training sessions and conferences, with NETA World articles, and with ongoing technical support,” Perjanik says. “The association is a valuable partner to my organization. Having properly trained and knowledgeable clients makes what we do that much more valuable.”
“As a manufacturer of electrical insulation and testing systems and a supplier of laboratory services to NETA members, we see NETA’s ongoing value in developing, standardizing, training, and advancing the safe and efficient testing of power systems to ensure operational continuity — an especially important trait in these times,” Perjanik says. “NETA offers companies like Weidmann Electrical Technology opportunities to educate, train, and leverage the collective knowledge of the industry — something we intend to continue to support.”