Donation gives new jolt to program
A 13-foot tall, 26-foot long circuit breaker scheduled for salvage will now serve as a powerful learning tool for Moraine Park Technical College’s Electrical Power Distribution (EPD) students. The breaker donation from American Transmission Company will allow Moraine Park to add a new element to its EPD program – the electrical substation.
Electricity is delivered to homes, schools, hospitals, businesses and industries through an integrated system of generation facilities, power lines and substations. Moraine Park’s EPD program focuses on the transmission and distribution parts of this process.
In a large substation, circuit breakers are used in system protection to interrupt any short circuits or overload currents that may occur on the network, as well as switching lines and routing power on a transmission system.
“Circuit breakers are a key element to the reliable operation of the transmission grid,” ATC Senior Construction Coordinator Paul Roltgen said. “Skilled workers are needed to install and maintain these devices and ATC has made a donation to encourage the development and education of qualified workers to maintain and operate the electrical power grid.”
Roltgen graduated from Moraine Park’s EPD program in 1989 and has over twenty years of experience in the electrical power distribution field.
“This is the first time Moraine Park students have received the opportunity to work with circuit breakers,” said Mark Theyerl, an EPD instructor at Moraine Park. “The substation and circuit breaker training will certainly give our students an edge when entering the workforce.”
All EPD students were present for the circuit breaker delivery. ATC worked with an outside company to provide the delivery and installation of the breaker, which required an “Oversized Load” flag on the trailer as it made its way down highway 151 from Fond du Lac. The breaker needed to be lifted and placed by a crane, with EPD students assisting under Theyerl’s instruction.
“It was perfect timing for the EPD students to assist with the breaker delivery,” said Theyerl. “They had just learned about rigging and slings and got a unique opportunity to apply those skills in the field. Through the delivery, students practiced laying out a large piece of equipment in relation to the center of gravity; they practiced proper hand signals for the crane operator and measured how to place heavy equipment.”
Beaver Dam student Gordon Gossink helped to center and place the breaker as it was being lowered by the crane. “I’ve been learning a lot — being in the EPD program has been a great experience so far,” said Gossink. “I’m looking forward to learning more about the substation side of electrical power distribution.”
According to Theyerl, Moraine Park has support from other regional companies, including G.H.K. Custom Log Sawing of Van Dyne, and Eilertson Inc. of Fond du Lac. Both companies donated their crew, equipment and materials to help prepare the new substation area and existing EPD training area.
“Partnering with these area businesses allows Moraine Park to enhance our training capabilities,” said Theyerl. “We are extremely grateful for their support in helping us provide skilled workers in the electrical utility industry.”
For more information on Moraine Park’s EPD program, visit morainepark.edu/programs.