In this issue of NETA World, we feature three standout employees from NETA member companies who have recently stepped up to take on the technical editing responsibilities for NETA’s quarterly journal. All three have busy jobs and outside lives, but they are committed to ensuring that NETA World is the best it can be.
Steve Park, PE, is Director of Training and Employee Development at Electrical Reliability Services (ERS), a NETA Accredited Company based in Westerville, Ohio. He has over 40 years of management, leadership, and operational experience in the design, maintenance, testing, and engineering of low-, medium-, and high-voltage power systems and apparatus. Steve earned a BSEE and MSEE from Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. He is a Professional Engineer, a NETA Certified Test Technician, and is OSHA 30 qualified.
Lyn Cosby is the Sales Manager at Hood Patterson & Dewar, Inc., a NETA Accredited Company. She has 38 years of experience in the field and has worked for HP&D for 30 years out of the Norcross, Georgia, office. She is responsible for company sales and support for electrical testing and electrical and mechanical commissioning and is an internal QA/QC advocate through HP&D’s client satisfaction process. She is involved in HP&D’s grounding group (test equipment sales, testing, and design services), project management, conference participation (abstracts and content), and magazine articles, and writes technical articles for the company’s blog. She was previously an account representative in the Technical Services Division of Square D Company/Schneider Electric. Lyn holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University.
Matt Wallace is Vice President of CBS Field Services, a NETA Accredited Company. Matt is based in San Diego, California, and has held his current position for four years.After high school and a short stint at college, Matt joined the United States Navy and graduated from the Naval Nuclear Program as an electrician’s mate. After a 10-year Naval career, he went back to school at Iowa State University, where he studied business and electrical engineering. Like many veterans, he worked his way up through the ranks, first as a field technician in the electrical testing industry, then as a commissioning agent focusing on substations and data centers. Matt has been with CBS Field Services, formerly Western Electrical Services, as a mid- and high-level manager for the past seven years.
NW: How long have you been in the electrical field, and how did you get to your current position?
Park: I’ve been in the electrical field since 1978 when I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a high-voltage lineman. After earning my BSEE, I became a military engineering officer. When I separated from active duty, I found a local HVM office that was a perfect fit for my talents and interests in power systems. During my time at HVM, I was a division engineer, service center manager, and engineered solutions group manager. After moving to ERS as a technical services manager, I became director of technical training, North America, at our parent company (Vertiv) for a couple of years. There, I realized the impact I could have on ERS by driving their training programs. I solicited company leadership and created this new role as director of training and employee development.
Cosby: I was hired by Square D/Schneider Electric out of college. My role as a technical sales engineer involved calling on contractors and distributors to sell equipment. After three years, I applied for a position in Square D’s brand-new (at the time) technical service division, which is how I came to the testing world. I talked my way into a job at Hood Patterson & Dewar and have been here for 30 years. I was initially tasked with selling equipment (we sold chemical ground rods and still sell smart ground multimeters) and am part of the now-specialized grounding group that provides testing services worldwide. I also manage our client satisfaction program, which has led to annual awards by Zweig and PSMJ for outstanding client satisfaction. I started our external newsletter (in the days before social media existed), which is now our company blog. My role has grown from a very narrow focus to touching all aspects of our company, which has grown tenfold since I started (from 12 people to 120+ people).
Wallace: I was first introduced to the electrical testing field in the mid-90s. After leaving college, I wanted to do something I could look back on and know that I made a difference. My first introduction was testing and commissioning wind farms and solar fields. To be a small part of a growing effort to be better stewards of this planet was very appealing to me. I then caught the dot.com fever and found myself at several of the top-brand data centers in the country, where again being on the cutting edge of an industry that continues to influence our everyday lives was attractive to me. I believe much of my success has been because I have a true passion for knowing that what we do makes a difference. I believe in the safety culture that keeps our technicians safe, and I like knowing that our onsite efforts save countless dollars by identifying problems before they become catastrophic failures.
NW: Who influenced or mentored you along the way?
Park: I’ve met and worked with many business and technical leaders through the years within our company as well as at NETA and IEEE, including Bob Chelle (previous owner of HVM), John White (previous leader with eti/ERS), Wally Vahlstrom (ERS), James White (Shermco/NETA), Tom Domitrovich (Eaton/IEEE), and Tom Nation (HVM/ERS/Vertiv).
Cosby: As I thought about college and a career, I believed I had good people skills and some technical competency and that technical sales might be a good fit for me. Turns out my instincts were right, and companies with technical products were looking for graduate engineers they could train as salespeople — hence my early career with Square D. As far as mentors at HP&D, I want to thank Mike Kline (who hired me); Richard Hood, the Hood of HP&D and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met; J.B. Franklin, who has more patience than anyone I know; and Richard Rush, who taught me most of what I know about grounding.
Wallace: I can’t name any one person or even just a handful of people who have influenced me along the way. I’ve had the privilege of working for, and beside many amazing people over the years, and I’m still being influenced by a great team. Every person we come into contact with helps shape who we are and who we want to become. I’ve learned just as much from entry-level employees as I have from seasoned techs.
NW: What about your work keeps you committed?
Park: As a young child, I remember my dad telling me that I should find work I enjoy. Power systems, apparatus maintenance, and system reliability are my passions, and I have had a very blessed career full of opportunities for education and experience. There are so many careers that don’t use much — if anything — of what you learn in school. In this career, so many cutting-edge technologies keep your technical skills honed and keep you challenged. Sweep frequency testing, insulation power factor testing, partial discharge, arc flash analysis, and power quality are a few of those things that keep me engaged and continue learning. I found work that I truly enjoy, and on most days, I look forward to firing up my computer and rolling up my sleeves for another day of exciting work. Now, entering the twilight years of my work career, I want to give back, and the best way I can give back is by creating an education program that will be sustained long after I am retired and forgotten.
Cosby: I work for an amazing company of smart, dedicated, supportive people who go above and beyond for our clients, resulting in a long list of highly satisfied, repeat clients. I am always learning and thrilled to be part of such a successful team.
Wallace: I still have the same passion for wanting to make a difference in the world, even if it’s just a small part. I enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge to work safely and thoroughly test the components of the electrical distribution system to ensure it has a reasonable expectation of safety and continued reliability. The implications of an unstable distribution system may not always be fully understood and may vary in significance, but an unplanned outage has wide-ranging consequences that range from life safety to a halt in production that can be costly to any business. Our electrical grid stability has more influence on our security, safety, and prosperity than any other single industry, and that’s what drives me. I’m committed to keeping the lights on and making sure our technicians go home safely every night, and this is what I remind myself of every day.
NW: What motivated you to volunteer as a technical editor at this point in your career?
Park: I have been involved with technical writing for the majority of my career, so when I became aware of a need for a technical editor for NETA, I thought it would be a great fit for me and NETA. I have often been approached by peers to review documents and have been able to make constructive improvements to those documents. I am a bit of a stickler for things being written clearly, succinctly, and accurately. The articles I will review will be seen by many, and I hope to ensure they communicate their topics clearly.
Cosby: As a newer NETA Accredited Company, HP&D is looking for ways to get involved at a deeper level. As I am the technical editor for our company publications, this position seemed like a good fit for me. I’m enjoying working with folks on the NETA staff and my fellow editors.
Wallace: The NETA World publication plays such a big part in educating our industry about new technologies, testing processes, and safety standards. With my passion for training and education, the chance to play a small role as a technical editor and contributor in helping develop technicians and raise the bar on the industry’s capabilities seemed like a good fit.
TIM COTTER: THANK YOU
Tim Cotter, who will retire as a NETA World technical editor after this issue, previously authored NETA World’s “From the Field” column for 12 years. Tim has also been a member of the NETA’s Standards Review Council and Exam Committee since 2003, where he was involved with the writing and three-year-cycle updates to the ANSI/NETA ETS and ANSI/NETA MTS standards for electrical equipment acceptance and maintenance testing.
An electrical power systems engineer with 40+ years of experience, Tim credits NETA with providing the opportunity to exit what had proven to be some relatively dull jobs earlier in his career. “I found the testing industry offered great opportunities for satisfying and interesting electrical work that provided real benefits to the customer along with endless learning and adventure,” he says. “Involvement with NETA also brought the opportunity to work with sharp, hard-working peers toward the goal of making the testing industry even better.”