The particulars of field design

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Field Design


Each month, I receive a printed report from every co-op department head.  These reports are essential, in that they provide accurate summaries of the various departmental groups’ work activities for the previous monthly period. 

For an organization like Blue Ridge to succeed, all our individual sectors and their respective work actions must operate in harmony with one another.  I believe we’re seeing that coordination happen because I know the cooperative is delivering a high level of service to our members.  Safety is our number-one priority, but member service is close behind in second place.

Functioning effectively

I could devote this article to any number of our workforce units that enable the cooperative to function effectively.  However, I’ve decided this month to spotlight the employee team that makes up our field design group, which is housed within the co-op’s engineering department.  

The title of field design technician is quite descriptive because these individuals carry out most of their work in the field.  They meet with members on site to discuss what might be involved in extending a new electrical service to their premises or perhaps upgrading their service.  A large body of their work includes drawing up specs for new or improved power-distribution facilities, as outlined in the cooperative’s four-year Engineering Work Plan.

Designated for replacement

In addition to their staking responsibilities, these technicians obtain hundreds of right-of-way easement documents each year from members and other landowners.  These easements are then forwarded to the co-op’s member services group to be recorded at local county courthouses.  Our field design folks also work with our operations department to schedule testing of numbers of the cooperative’s wood utility poles.  Poles found to be nearing the end of their useful life are designated for replacement.  For the 12 months of 2020, these field design technicians staked about 3,600 construction jobs and executed nearly 700 right-of-way easements.  They also prepared service orders for more than 900 poles to be changed out.

Their efforts produce the benefits of better service reliability for our members and a safer environment for both members and employees alike.  Needless to say, these technicians represent an important feature of our Blue Ridge business plan.  Like their fellow employees in all our other working groups, their contributions are critical to the continuing progress of the cooperative’s operation.

As Blue Ridge is now embarking upon another New Year, it’s very reassuring for me to know I have a team of professionals standing with me.  We’re looking forward to 2021 and the further opportunities it will offer for your cooperative to keep supplying you with quality service.

Jim Lovinggood

President CEO