After spending time at ECN, I've come to respect electricians for the different ways that they fit into the industry. I see residential electricians being about speed, knowledge of the first 4 chapters of the code, and 680. Residential is, too me the toughest market. Skill in trim out, and making it all look "perfect" is important. Customer relations better be high on his list as well. Project scheduling and management will make or brake them. I see commercial electricians needing to have not as much speed as residential, but more than industrial electricians. They have to have skill in some skill in bending conduit, but for the most part, their conduit work is concealed, so it tends to not be as "pretty" as industrial. Knowledge of the first 4 chapters of the code is a must. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 from time to time. Project management and scheduling are critical, but suppliers tend to cater to commercial guys so their material is usually delivered to the site which helps relieve some of the logistical problems. Market is not as tight as resi, but make a few mistakes, leave out some big ticket items, and Chapter 11 is not far away. Industrial and maintenance I would put together. Speed is not as important, and knowledge of the code probably not as important because industrial evironments are usually overloaded with EE's which direct personnel in the installation rather than the electrician looking up the rules in the code. IMHO the industrial electrician has to know the equipment and machinery that he works on. With the PLC being King in today's industry, he will never quit going to school. I've always wanted to brake off into the industrial side. I've done industrial construction, but I've never worked for a plant, and it's something I've always wanted to do. A friend of mine has worked several industrial/maintenance jobs, and as far as I'm concerned he is one the best electricians I've ever met. I've always felt like he, and others like him were the ultimate electricians. Though my knowledge of the code is greater than his, his over all knowledge of the industry is so far superior to mine, I sometimes can't believe that he is one man. This thread is an example of what I mean. Notice the post that maintenanceguy made. I'm telling you, he knew what he was talking about. Others please comment, and I will post more later.
Watt Doctor, I would beg to differ on your point about speed of work not being important, with regard to Industrial work. I do quite a bit of Industrial installation, maintenance and also Breakdown work, it is a think on your feet kind of thing, when a part of a plant is broken down, it has to be fixed, Yesterday, no questions.
Re: Who is the ultimate electrician?#18423 12/10/0212:03 AM12/10/0212:03 AM
speed of work not being important, with regard to Industrial work.
I can dig it Trumpy. Let me rephrase it. The pace is "different". I don't think it can be argued that the pace is not different, and wv66 gives a good example of what I'm talking about. Let me further add that many times in maintenance/industrial situations there is "down time", and as a rule times where productivity seems to come to a halt. An example would be building scafolding to get to areas that aren't normally worked in. How about the "travel time" that it takes to get from the ground to 75' in the air in a man lift? In industrial there are so many things that must be done in order for productivity to even begin. Does that make sense? Residential and commercial electros normally don't have to deal with those kinds of problems. The residential electro had better "hit the ground running" from the word go in the morning, and not stop 'til quitting time. If he isn't nailing on a box, he had better be drilling a hole in a stud to pull NM cable through because the market is so "tight". Let me make my original point more clear. After reading my own post, I think I should add to it. In my own career, I feel like I'm weak on the "control side". If someone's A/C is broken, or Mrs. Jones' door bell doesn't work, I can go "play" with it for a while until I figure out what is wrong. I've done some controls, but I'm talking about large magnetic relay control cabinets, and PLC's. And perhaps it's because my knowledge is limited in this area, I stand back and say, "Man, I wish that I had that guy's knowledge." So to me, as I said above, those guys are the "ultimate electricians". But, that's my opinion. So what I'm asking is.....what is everyone else's idea of the "ultimate electrician". I'm not trying to say that one type of electrician is better than another, or that anyone is a "second class citizen". Most people in the electrical industry have done more than "just" wire houses, or "just" commercial work. Most of us have done a little everything. So, in your opinion, who is the ultimate electrician?
The Watt Doctor Altura Cogen Channelview, TX
Re: Who is the ultimate electrician?#18427 12/10/0211:26 AM12/10/0211:26 AM
I think a well rounded electrician is one of the best. One who is encouraged and willing to learn new things and adapt to them. It's not fair if one electrician is good with one aspect of the field and anothers stronger point my be elsewhere. It all depends on where you've been, what you've done and research on your own time. So I guess an excellent electrician would IMHO be someone who never stops learning.
Re: Who is the ultimate electrician?#18428 12/10/0211:36 AM12/10/0211:36 AM
Watt Doc, This is not an answer to your question, but I have to get on my soap box. There is a big difference between some one who installs electrical power and someone who repairs machinery. 7 years ago I hired a damn good journeyman electrician. He can bend conduit second to none. However since that is what he had been trained on his trouble shooting skills were, well let's just say lacking. Within a year he was what I would call a maintenance man, not only an electrician. One thing that I taught him was hydraulics. He had never had to work on any hydraulic systems before so he did not know it. I told him that it is logical just like electricity. The pressure is just like voltage and the oil flow is just like amps. Also if a machine is down you do not start in the middle of the control panel. Check for voltage at the disconnect, if there is voltage then move on to the next part of the panel.
Sorry if I have run on, I just wanted to put in my say.
Ultimate electrician, hard to say. Like you have pointed out there are two sets of standards, residential and commercial. I would say the ultimate electrician is one who knows a little bit of everything. And if he doesn't know is not afraid to ask. Also one who knows where to look it up in the NEC. Like Einstein said, I don't know what my phone number is but I know where to look it up.
He also has to take pride in his work. Very important.
I will know step down from my soap box and get back to work. Scott
Re: Who is the ultimate electrician?#18429 12/10/0208:26 PM12/10/0208:26 PM
I think a well rounded electrician is one of the best.
Nuttt, I'm still looking for something more specific. Say I get to the point that I am that "well rounded" electrician. Where do I go from there? In my mind, there has to be a progression. Let me use Scott as an example.
There is a big difference between some one who installs electrical power and someone who repairs machinery. 7 years ago I hired a damn good journeyman electrician. He can bend conduit second to none. However since that is what he had been trained on his trouble shooting skills were, well let's just say lacking. Within a year he was what I would call a maintenance man, not only an electrician. One thing that I
In my mind, there was a sequence of events that took place in the quote from Scott. This electrician had a background in installation. Then after a year he "progressed" to become what our beloved Scott calls a maintenance man. No matter what you call him, I think that man obtained skills that many in the industry don't have. So, let me put another twist on it. I think the ultimate electrician may have served in the military in a technical position. Upon discharge he either went to a trade school for 4 years, or went to a junior college for 2 years. After he "turned out" and got his license, he continued to go to school at night. He may have studied and obtained his master's license, or branched off into instrumentation. After around 10 to 12 years of construction experience he gets a chance to work for a manufacturing facility that pays very well, and has great benefits. While he's there he learns PLC's, and how to work on "freq drives", etc. With around 5 to 10 years of experience in this part of the industry, I'm saying that this guy has got to be in the top few percent of electricians. Does the ultimate electrician take another route, and become a business owner? The above is just my opinion. I'm looking for specific "ideas" about the ultimate electrician.
The Watt Doctor Altura Cogen Channelview, TX
Re: Who is the ultimate electrician?#18430 12/10/0208:27 PM12/10/0208:27 PM
"Like Einstein said, I don't know what my phone number is but I know where to look it up." Love it!!!
"ultimate electrician" -one who knows his/her limitations.
I have in my years been exposed to alot of different areas of electricity. Started out doing resi work as a helper.Moved onto industrial work for a few years and then spent time doing a mix a of resi, industrial, and commercial work. Last 13 years I've worked for a plumbing/HVAC firm. I have learned quite a bit about control wiring involving boilers, chillers, HVAC units. This kind of work gets me in contact with most of the areas electricians, when I get on "their" jobs. I get to see how other guys do their work and I'm sad to say it usually isn"t pretty. Doesn't seem like most take pride in their work and the bottom line is all important. Actually had one guy feed his rooftop recepticals from one of our AC units control transformer(before the fuse).Our tech guy plugged his vaccuum pump in it and was takeing lunch and looked up on the roof to see smoke rolling out of the unit.One krispy control transformer!He was trying to save some money by not running his circuit down to the panel. Ah sorry got off track there. I can find myself converting a 110 volt jet pump to a 220 volt submersible pump (like today) or wiring up some VFD's for hot water circulation (like tomorrow) or hooking up the latest DDC controls for building management. I find the diversity of work to be the thing I like the most. Does this make me the ultimate electrician?
I think the ultimate electrician has to understand all the theory and get his hands "dirty" every day and be involved in all aspects of the job.