Kicking off the year in style, Tom Prevost has been awarded the IEEE Standards Association Medallion Award 2020 for outstanding achievement, ongoing leadership, and contribution to the development and implementation of IEEE transformer standards.
We decided that this was a good time to get to know our award-winning employee a little better.
Q: Tom, you have worked at Weidmann for almost 30 years, spent 6 years at Omicron working out why Weidmann was so great, and volunteered your personal time to the IEEE for most of that period, including acting as Chairman of the IEEE transformer committee for 2 years. Would you describe yourself as a ‘transformer nut’?
A: Well ‘transformer nut’ may be a little extreme but I know you, marketing guys, well! I would describe myself as passionate about transformers, committed to improving transformer reliability, and ensuring that we have in place the right standards to support transformer manufacturers and operators, who typically have a very demanding role.
Q: Considering that you are into the 38th year of your professional career to date if you had to pick a single workday that sticks in your memory, what day would that be?
A: Well, this may explain why you would think of me as a “transformer nut”. One of my strongest memories is when I crawled into a 765 kV GSU transformer with my mentor, Heinz Fischer from Weidmann, and Harry Ruggles from AEP to repair and enhance the high voltage lead exit. The oil had just been drained from the tank the day before so everything was dripping wet. At that time I was the smallest guy so I got to go in first and move into the tight spaces, all this while listening to transformer stories from Heinz and Harry while transformer oil was dripping down my neck. It was awesome!
Q: You have worked at Weidmann for over 30 years, that’s a long time, why do you think that is?
A: Because the company is 10 minutes from my home in Vermont. No – in all seriousness, I think what drew me to Weidmann and what keeps me here is that it is a small, family-owned company that truly respects its employees and cares about the industry. The transformer industry has seen its ups and downs in those years but Weidmann has remained true to its values wherever possible. I’ve seen machine operators painting ceilings in downtimes with smiles on their faces.
Q: The power industry has more grey hairs than perhaps others, and attracting younger talent to the industry always proves to be a challenge. What would you say to someone considering a career in the power industry?
A: That’s an interesting question because just this week I had this conversation with an Electrical Engineering student who works summers for us in an internship program. He will be graduating next year and wanted some advice. I told him that the power industry while not being sexy like computers and communications is where I would recommend that he focus. There will be more changes to the power system in the next ten years than in the last fifty. The world is moving to electricity as the primary energy source being fueled by renewable energy. This isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity and power engineers are critical to making this happen. An electrical engineer can truly have an opportunity to change the world for the better.
Q: So when you are not at work, what do you like to do to relax and forget about transformers?
A: Even though I travel often to large cities and metro areas for work, I live in a rural place. I love to work around my property gardening in the summer and cutting trees for the winter. My wife, Rosie, and I like to snowshoe walk during the winter that we are lucky to do right out our backdoor. We like to hike and camp in the summertime. My newest hobby is making beer.
CLICK HERE to see Tom’s recent IEEE SA 2020 Medallion Award ‘virtual ceremony’ and acceptance speech.