Earlier this year, eight of SSP’s employees took a field trip to IREA, a local utility whose initials stand for Intermountain Rural Electric Association. SSP has a long standing, working relationship with IREA and because of that, they were generous enough to invite us out for a morning tour of their facilities. A few of IREA’s employees were even nice enough to take part of their day to show us around themselves. Duane Holt of IREA started the tour by giving us an overview of how a utility functions. After that, he showed us the GIS office, then took us back to the stock yard where the Safety Supervisor, Brian Hinks took over. Brian spent the rest of the morning walking us through their inventory while stopping to answer questions and explain each piece of inventory. We were able to ask questions on a wide range of equipment, including everything from transformers to poles.
As software consultants, an opportunity to learn the day to day of a utility company is invaluable. Our goal at SSP is to provide our clients with software that will help improve their processes and speed up their workflows. A key component to being able to accomplish this, is understanding the problems our clients are facing. It’s a lot different to digitize a transformer on a map than to actually install one out in the field. Being able to get the perspective of an experienced crew member such as Brian gave us insight on what it’s actually like to work with these assets in real life. Here are a few of the pieces of equipment we were able to see out in the stock yard.
If you ask me, it’s a lot more helpful to see these assets in real life than seeing a dot in a map. Next time I place a three phase transformer in ArcMap, I’ll know what I’m working with. Something as simple as that can make a huge difference when writing software for the people that work with this equipment daily. In the software industry, solutions can be created without fully understanding a problem far too often. It’s a problem bound to happen due to the sheer range of applications software can be applied to. The only real way to fix the problem is to go out and learn the industry you’re working with. Here at SSP, we hope this trip to IREA, helped accomplish just that.
I’d like to make a special thanks to Duane Holt and Brian Hinks. This trip to IREA was a great opportunity for SSP to see the everyday operations of one of the utilities we work with so often. We appreciate the opportunity to learn from those we work with and SSP looks forward to maintaining close relationships with IREA and numerous other clients moving forward.