Power Supply Technician/Operator, Marshfield Utilities
Cole Eswein’s career ladder has included many steps and a lot of continuing education. It all started with a campus tour. After visiting Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) Cole enrolled in the Electrical Power Engineering Technician program.
“I liked the instructor and the many different options with this degree,” Cole recalled. Plus he knew there would be good-paying jobs in the utilities field.
The program was challenging with math and physics classes along with hands-on learning in occupational classes. Cole found a lot of practical education at MSTC.
“Every Friday, our instructor made us bring job postings to class. He wanted us to know how to find a job we were qualified for,” Cole said.
Within a few months after graduation Dairyland Power Cooperative hired Cole as a power plant operator. Dairyland required employees to work their way up and learn all areas of plant operations and maintenance. Eventually, he progressed to turbine operator.
However, Cole wanted to find a job with regular daytime hours rather than shift work. Within a month of beginning his search, Marshfield Utilities contacted him. They were looking for people with his skills to fill an electrical designer position.
As the city grew, Cole’s responsibilities grew with it. In 2008, Marshfield decided to build a power plant and they chose Cole to oversee the building project, run and maintain the gas-fired combustion turbine. That required him to complete three weeks of training from Pratt and Whitney. Then he became a certified natural gas operator.
“We have an 8-inch, 1,000 psi gas line,” Cole said.
The small city-owned utility operation includes the electric and water service. The system includes 13,000 electric meters. Marshfield Utilities has four substations. So the city sent Cole to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for a 4-year substation electrician apprenticeship.
Marshfield also operates a fiber optic network for the school district and all city buildings. Cole runs that too. But, wait there’s more…
He’s also a Level I Infrared Thermographer. “Thermography shows air leaks in a building or water leaks in pipes. It also detects hot connections and bad transformers,” Cole explained.
Next the city plans to send Cole back to Mid-State for a three-year Electric Metering Technician apprenticeship.
“I love the variety of my work,” he says. “It is about 50 percent inside and 50 percent outside.
“I highly recommend technical colleges,” Cole added. “There will always be a need for the trades. You can get hired and make a good salary.”