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First-Hand:Engineering Power

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Submitted by Clive M. Gardam

Although my desire was to major in electronics, at McGill University (Canada) in 1947, the emphasis seemed to be on power. I recall one professor telling us that there were too many students in the electronics option, and he strongly recommended that we choose the power option. "Most of you will end up in the power field anyway as there are too few positions open in electronics," he proclaimed.

Apparently, he thought there was a very limited future in electronics! I switched!

My first position was with the English Electric Company of Canada, in St. Catharines, Ontario, a manufacturer of transformers, motors, and switchgears. An interesting project I was given during my two years in the Motors Department was to develop the design for a 25/60 Hz motor for the Hydro Electric Power Company (HEPC) of Ontario (now Ontario Hydro) to be used during the frequency change over from 25 to 60Hz. English Electric manufactured many of these motors for the HEPC.

Later positions with English Electric included two years in Switchgear Design and two years as Head of Quality Control; a very demanding job, as the company had been bought out by new owners, and morale was very low in the offices and in the shop. This, in effect, lead to my voluntary departure. I left in 1954, moving to the Toledo Edison Company where I worked until my retirement in 1984.

At the Toledo Edison Company, I received several promotions and held several positions from Assistant Engineer in Power Plant Electrical Design, through Electrical Relaying and Control Engineer, System Planning Engineer, Substations Design Engineer, Manager of Station Electrical Engineering and finally to Director of Transmission and Substations Engineering in 1974.