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Latest addition to Volta US – Derrick Tang

VoltaUS is growing! I’d like to introduce our newest team member, Ho Yin Tang, better known as Derrick. He accepted our offer of employment as a CAD Technician on Sept 4, 2018. Check out what Derrick had to say about his employee experience thus far.

What’s the best part about team Volta? 
“When I face difficulty, everyone that works here is so nice. The team answers my questions clearly and correctly.”

10511532_10204185781222236_1874838120064219023_oHow’s your experience working at VoltaUS thus far? 
“I like working for VoltaUS. It is good experience for me to work in a field which is related to my Electrical Engineering major at ASU. I am learning a lot of useful skills while working here.”
What previous experience/background do you have that contributes to your position? 
“I am a graduate from Arizona State University with a degree in Electrical Engineering.”
What do you like to do in your spare time? 
“In my spare time I like to travel around the world, visit different cultures and try their
food.”

We are pleased to have this new employee join our team. Let’s welcome Derrick to VoltaUS!

Latest addition to Volta US – Nick Haro

 

Nick Haro.jpgNicolas Haro joined our team as a Junior Designer/CAD Drafter earlier this year.    

Nicholas shared a few thoughts about his employee experience thus far and the Volta team as follows:

 “I have loved my time working for VoltaUS since I started. This has been an incredible experience for me to be working in a field so closely related to the major I am seeking to obtain from ASU. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning and improving my skills at this job, along with witnessing the concepts learned from my school work applied first hand.”  

 “The best part of this company is how efficient it is run. When I come into work each day, I know that there is a dedicated task under my responsibility to complete. Everyone working here has the same goal, and that is to consistently put out the best quality work possible. It is much easier and more rewarding to work for a company that is always challenging me to do the best work that I can, and VoltaUS does this with every project I am given.”

When Nicholas was asked to describe the VoltaUS office culture, his response was:

“There is tremendous office culture within VoltaUS. Everyone loves their job, and there is always a relaxed vibe through the workplace. When sitting at my desk, I feel just as comfortable asking about a project I am working on, as I do asking about the Diamondback’s last game or a current event from the news. This environment is very motivating to work in because of how comfortable I am within it. I have never enjoyed a job as much as I do working for VoltaUS.  I have enjoyed all of my time here so far and look forward to all of the future work I will be doing here.”

We are pleased to have Nicholas Haro apart of the Volta team!

Latest addition to Volta US.

VoltaUS is growing! I’d like to introduce our newest team member, Henry Whitesinger.  He accepted our offer of employment as a CAD Technician on March 13, 2018. When Henry was asked to share a few
thoughts about his employee experience thus far, his response was:
“Since I have been working at VoltaUS, my experience has been wonderful! My coworkers all have great personalities and have welcomed me to their team. I have been receiving a lot of great training and gaining valuable experience. Working at VoltaUS has been a great experience for me and my family.” Henry also mentioned, “The best part about working with VoltaUS is the people I work with. Everyone is very knowledgeable and have created a great, stress-free team environment. I am expected to perform my job well and have received great training to set me up for success. My coworkers and their work ethic are the best part about working here.”  Henry enjoys working in a fast pace team environment and gets great satisfaction knowing he has contributed to the overall success of a project. We are pleased to have Henry Whitesinger join our
team. Let’s welcome Henry to VoltaUS!

Project Shark – Kickoff

This month we kicked off Project Shark.  Project Shark is a business adventure that will explore, tear down, rebuild, process, construct, analyze, and grind in an effort to bring the best electrical engineering services to market for our customers and our team. Welcome to our journey!

The process grind

Developing business and technical processes is a continuous effort but you have to keep grinding. Outsource the processes you don’t do well. Most of the time you don’t see the successes until you look back and see the things that  nearly work by themselves.

Latest Addition to the Volta US Team – Naga Borra

nagaI’d like to introduce Naga Borra, one of the newest team members of Volta US. He accepted our offer of employment on August 4th, 2016 as Engineer I. Naga started his career as a Software Engineer at Mindtree (multi-national IT services company) right after completing his Bachelor’s Degree in India. He then relocated to the United States to receive his Master’s Degree in Electric Power and Energy Systems at Arizona State University.

Naga’s overall goal is to utilize the knowledge and experience he’s gained in the past to solve real world problems. He’s keen on making a meaningful contribution to the Energy Sector and said he feels VoltaUS provides the right environment to grow while working on live projects.

Naga shared a few thoughts about his employee experience thus far, the Volta team, and company culture as follows:

It is a great experience working at VoltaUS. Though I’m still new here, I feel that I got acquainted to the team and work culture quickly. I enjoy the type of work I do at VoltaUS. Designing the electrical circuits for distribution systems is what I do in a nutshell. It gets more and more interesting everyday as I’m exposed to a variety of electric power systems and facilities.”

Team Volta is very friendly and welcoming so it took me no time to settle down and get rolling. The scope to learn something new every day is the best part of working at VoltaUS. Every project has its own intricacies and constraints which makes it challenging and more interesting.”

It’s fun to be part of team Volta. The team is diverse and that makes it more fun. Though there are a couple of “serious” work hours of absolute silence where nothing can be heard apart from the keyboard and mouse clicks, the whole office turns into a stadium when there is an exciting baseball or football game going.” 

Outside of work, Naga enjoys traveling, hiking, watching movies and TV series. He also has a special interest in science, astronomy and technology advances. We are pleased to have Naga join our team. Let’s welcome Naga to Volta US!

Congratulations Jasmine!

The word Congrats written in vintage letterpress type

Congratulations on 1 year at Volta US from myself and the other Voltures! Thanks for all that you do.

New addition to Volta US

Joel SikenI’d like to introduce you to one of Volta US’s newest team members, Joel Siken. He accepted our offer of employment on February 25, 2016 as Junior Designer. Joel is originally from Lodi, California and relocated to Phoenix to attend Arizona State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. When asked why he wanted to go into electrical engineering, his response was “When I was growing up I would have nerf wars with my friends and I never felt my automatic nerf gun had enough power. Thus, I took it apart and modified it to fire at three times rate with two times the power. I forever struck fear and awe into my nerf waring friends. This was my first experience engineering something and I have enjoyed ever since.”

When asked about his experience working at Volta US thus far, Joel shared the following: “Billy (AKA the boss) buys us lunch at least once a week and picks some great places to eat. I am a little at odds with my partners-in- crime as Billy loves the Dodgers, my co-worker loves the Diamondbacks, and I love the Giants, so we will see if I am still around come playoffs. However, they are always there for me when I need advice and are some of the best mentors I know. Jasmine, our executive administrator, is one of the friendliest you can talk to. I haven’t known her long, but you wouldn’t be able to tell because we talk like we’ve been friends for years! Overall, I am proud and excited to be joining Volta US.” Joel will work closely with the engineering and technical design staff. We are looking forward to growing together as a team. Let’s welcome Joel to Volta US!

Six ways to build trust with your project teams

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Stephen Covey

Trust matters. Trust forms the basis of relationships in team environments and is an essential factor for design and construction teams, ownership, and other project stakeholders. During my career I have experienced both ends of the trust spectrum and points in between. In some cases parties are unknown entities far away and in other cases parties are fully engaged in the design and construction process.

Lack of trust has real consequences (including financial) in the decision making of project teams. Lack of trust can lead to inconsistent decisions, unclear priorities, redesign, over or under designing, and indifference.

Teams with strong relationships and trust communicate more effectively, come to better decisions, and have fewer unexpected outcomes. Trust allows parties to operate and make decisions with confidence in a swift, effective manner without having to stop and evaluate decisions and potential outcomes based on a host of real or perceived uncertainties.

handshake

Building trust is not always easy given the variables in human personalities and interactions. However, there are some fundamental things that can be done (by all project stakeholders) to build trust across teams. Do these six things to form a trust foundation to build from.

  1. Introduce (or introduce yourself to) key project stakeholders and get to know them.
  2. Communicate (or ask what are) key stakeholder objectives (schedule, quality, price points, etc).
  3. Handle contract matters efficiently and fairly (contracts, invoices, scope changes).
  4. Communicate regularly.
  5. Follow through on commitments.
  6. Take the time to say thank you (both directions) once the task is done.

Doing these regularly will communicate to other team members that you are engaged and sincere in your desire for positive project outcomes. These relatively small investments in time over the course of your project will pay dividends in many ways, and in many cases beyond the current work at hand.

– William Bethurum PE, Principal VoltaUS

 

Panelboards: 10 things to know

Panelboards are found in nearly every building and facility type. They represent a significant element in power distribution systems and it is common for most professionals and non-professionals to come in contact with them regularly. Panelboards are covered by NEC Art. 408. The typical panelboard consists of the ‘can’, the ‘interior’ or bussing, and ‘circuit breakers.’ Panelboards can be found in ratings as high as 1200 amps and provide an excellent and compact means for distributing large quantities of feeders and branch circuits. There are some fundamental characteristics to be aware of when in design and during construction. Here is a brief look.

  1. Location: Ideally, locate panelboards as close as possible to the loads they feed and in a dedicated space such as an electrical room. For low voltage panels at 208/120V, locate panels to limit excessive branch circuit runs and associated voltage drop. Consider the analogy of a tree trunk (as the feeder) and the branches (as the branch circuits). In general you get better economies of power from the feeder than from individual branch circuits. Get those panels where you need them to limit branch lengths. However, remember to try to stay away from restrooms, janitor closets, and similar areas.
  2. Interrupting rating: Otherwise known as AIC or “amperes interrupting current” is a circuit breaker rating that indicates the maximum amount of current that the breaker can safely interrupt during a fault. The panel ‘AIC’ rating is that of the lowest rated device in the panel. Multiple breakers can combine to achieve a ‘series rated’ combination but that is a topic too involved for this discussion. Pro tip: AIC is a significant cost driver that shouldn’t be overlooked when estimating equipment costs.
  3. Accessories: Many panelboards can accommodate lighting controls, metering, surge protection, sub feed and feed through lugs. You might need or want these.
  4. Ratings: Of course this sounds obvious. Voltage, current, etc. However, make sure to match a 3 wire system to 3 wire panel and same for 4 wire system. A 3 wire system may function using a 4 wire panel but the code (and likely your inspector) wont permit it. Panelboards with three phase high leg systems require the high leg be marked per the NEC.
  5. Mounting: Flush or surface? Remember to provide at least a 6″ deep wall for flush mounting a standard sized panel which is typically 5-3/4″ deep. The ‘semi-flush option’ resulting from the panel sticking out 2 inches beyond the wall isn’t pretty and usually requires some trim out to help reduce the silly appearance.
  6. Enclosures: Various NEMA ratings are available. Indoors, NEMA 1. Outdoors, NEMA 3R. There are explosionproof panelboards and also corrosion resistant panelboards for locations such as marinas and chemical process areas. Many times it is not possible to keep the panels remote from the environment (see item 1 above) due to excessive distance.
  7. Height: Although not a common issue, the maximum breaker mounting height is 6′-7″ as per NEC Article 404.8.  So, consider this when installing the taller varieties. Impress your friends at cocktail parties with that one.
  8. Branch circuits quantities: Since the 42 circuit rule was eliminated  in recent code cycles, panelboards of the lighting and appliance type can have as many branch circuits as available from the manufacturer (in most cases) provided item #7 (above) is met. More often than not the panelboard runs out physical breaker space before ampacity. Being able to add additional breakers can provide some much needed flexibility. However, with all good things comes moderation. Pro tip: Always include spare breakers and/or prepared space when specifying new panels. Half of these will likely be used before the panel is ever put into service.
  9. Working clearance: 30″ width minimum is always required and can be measured from either side of the can. The voltage level and condition dictate the required depth in front of the panel (measured from the face) as outlined in NEC Article 110.26. For 208V systems 36″ is the maximum depth required. 480V systems require 36″, 42″, or 48″ depth depending on whether the area in front of panel is clear, has grounded system, or other live parts. There is also dedicated equipment space required above the panel within which no foreign systems are allowed. Refer to NEC Article 110.26 for some detailed explanations and nice diagrams (annotated version of the NEC).
  10. Arc flash, incident energy, and PPE (personal protective equipment): Arc flash warning labels are required by NEC. Detailed arc flash hazard analysis which includes incident energy, hazard level, and corresponding PPE provides the most appropriate information. After an arc flash hazard analysis is completed the corresponding hazard levels, identified on the arc flash labels, will alert a worker to the corresponding personal protective equipment that should be worn.

 

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