I'm a maintenance sparky in Ohio. I work on everything from the plant subs, 4160 volts, plc's, drives, run conduit, etc. I guess that's why I like the maintenance part of it. It's always something different. The plant I work in makes fluorescent lamps. I've been there 23 years.
I worked in a Georgia textile mill where they dyed cotton and polyester yarns. I did it all, run pipe, pull wire, weld, troubleshoot drives and controls, etc. We used alot of nasty chemicals, sodium hydrosulfite, sodium hydroxide, 50% hydrogen peroxide and a few others, we also used tons of salt, in a brine soluition around 90 to 100% concentration. Needless to say a water rinse and compressed air dry was mandatory for all tools before putting them away. I did not buy expensive tools to use here for obvios reasons.
Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid
I have worked the majority of my electrical career in a maintenance setting. This type of employment enabled me to learn how to draw my own schematics, build my own control panels, figure out problems and emplement them on the plant floor. How to truly understand complicated circuits and keep machines up and running. Very rewarding. I have had a masters license and contractors license for 15 years but rarely use them. You can learn alot in maintenance if you want to. I was lucky enough to work with a guy that taught me almost everything I know about machines and controls. I took that knowledge with me and expanded it, because then I really understood what I was doing. The last maint. job I had (plastic pipe extrusion), led me to work for a supplier as a service tech and then a technical sales career. A knowledgeable salesman is a successful salesman today. Lunch and sports tickets don't buy customers anymore. If you enjoy your job you may have opportunities you have not realised. PS.....I applied at a battery plant about 20 years ago. As soon as I walked onto the factory floor, I knew this was not the job for me. I am now disabled and cannot work anymore. Good luck with your career and learn all you can.
I spent the last 14 years training maintenance electricians on substation maintenance, mostly larger companies like GM, Ford, Steel mills, power plants etc.I am also a certified Level 4 NETA tech for power system testing. Now I run a new breaker and switchgear shop in NC. Always enjoyed the heavy industrial maintenance part of the E biz. www.cbsnuclear.com (call me if you need any breakers :-))
I currently work in a county jail as the electrician. I worked construction before this and have a masters license. Its a very different and rewarding job.
I work on the usual power stuff: motors, breakers, plugs and lights. I also work on the doors, some of which use 120 or even 480 volts. Along with kitchen equipment, laundry equipment, Intercom equipment, generators, UPS machines, and HVAC equipment. Even work on pneumatic AC controls.
The jail has multiple buildings and in a way its like driving a service truck but to the same buildings every time.
My troubleshooting skills have skyrocketed since I got this job.
The drawback... I got to do plumbing sometimes. Not my favorite thing to do but water leaks and sewage backups need to be fixed ASAP and sometimes I am the closest body to the problem.
By the way a jail is a factory, we may not turn out widgets but we do process inmates.
I have already had a background check and I do not need to walk through the metal detector. I have fixed the metal detector a few times as a matter of fact.
One last thing, the inmates are my customers. They may be criminals but they deserve a safe and working electrical system. I have had zero problems from the bosses scheduling shutdowns when a hazard needed to be repaired. They actually bend over backward to accommodate the shutdown.
I worked as a maintenance electrician for several years at an agricultural facility. My department was responsible for the design, fabrication, installation, and maintenance of many irrigation control systems and temperature control systems.
I enjoyed the job immensely and was trained on an incredible amount of very technical systems and equipment. There are many aspects of that job I miss, but would likely never go back into that line of work.
Bryan P. Holland, ECO. Secretary - IAEI Florida Chapter
When I was the state inspector I spent a lot of time in the prisons. My motto was "no inmate electrocuted before his time". I agree there is never a dull moment. In the max facility up near Bryan's patch I was out in the yard looking at a visitor shelter when 2 inmates picked a guy up, flipped him over and piled rived his head into the concrete. The guy I was with asked me if I had seen everything I needed to see and hustled me out the gate. As soon as the gate closed, horns went off and the place was locked town.