Scott Davis is the Vice President of Engineering and Technical Services and has worked for KEC for three years.
What made you interested in working as an engineer? How did you train for work in this field?
At an early age, I developed an interest in troubleshooting and making repairs or improvements as I worked with my dad on all kinds of projects. He worked for an electric utility as an engineering technician, and later got me interested in taking summer internship opportunities at the utility. He was a big influence in my decision to study electric power systems in college. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, I began my career with an electric utility and worked in various positions responsible for the design and operation of distribution, substation, transmission and generation systems. Even after 29 years of working with experienced engineers, taking additional classes, attending professional development seminars or technical conferences, the training has not stopped. This environment of continuous learning is something we promote at KEC, too.
What does a day look like for you as the Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services at KEC?
The typical day has me giving attention to a variety of capital projects, operations and maintenance of our substations, or specialty material and equipment needs. I oversee and work with a team of engineers, electro-technicians and a designer responsible for the analysis and planning of the power system, developing construction work plans and designing capacity and reliability improvement projects. Our group also performs meter testing, substation maintenance and other equipment inspections and condition assessments.
What projects is the Engineering Department working on right now?
The engineering department is currently working on a large project to build a new substation that will provide capacity to meet forecasted load growth and bolster reliability to our membership in the northern part of our service area.
Another large project for our group is the installation of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. Phase I of the new SCADA system is to install system software and new hardware in all KEC substations by first quarter 2022. Once the SCADA system is commissioned, it will provide KEC with real-time monitoring and control of devices on 37 distribution feeders across our entire service area. Advance work on Phase II of this project has begun and involves integrating SCADA with our mapping system and outage management system. The additional features provided by Phase II will allow the cooperative to better respond to outage situations, perform switching to re-route power, improve reliability and reduce wildfire risk.
What is the biggest challenge in your job?
One of the biggest challenges we face in engineering is planning for new electrical infrastructure needed to serve the unprecedented growth in our community. Material lead time on some equipment is 18 months, so we must work diligently to forecast the needs for the cooperative and stay ahead of the growth.
I am also involved with various committees working on the design of the new KEC headquarters. It is a challenging project that involves a lot of thought and discussion with other employees. We are excited that our new facility will have a specialized area for the engineering department to configure equipment and test new technologies, as well as a SCADA control center and war room from which to operate the new SCADA system. Learn more about the war room on the next page.
What is the best part of your job?
One of the best parts of my job is the people I work with, and the collaboration that takes place with all other departments. The KEC staff is highly motivated and focused on doing things right to achieve our mission of providing our members with exceptional service and dependable power at competitive rates.