Thursday, January 2, 2014

The 2013 ESITO Annual Connection

On the 22nd-24th October last year (now!) I was privileged to be a participant in the 2013 ESITO Annual Connection. Not as a competitor, but as a supervisor of my class, who were being utilized as logistics workers for the event.

This was a fantastic opportunity for students to see excellence in practice as Line Mechanic crews and Cable Jointers from all over the country compete for the title of BEST in the industry.

As well as the competitions, there were the following events:
  • An industry forum featuring speakers such as Tony Alexander from the BNZ, Dr Kathleen Callaghan from Z EnergyFrances Hague from Capability Consulting, Dr Hillary Bennett from Leading Safety, Barbara Harrison from Northpower, and David van Deventer from WEL Networks amongst others.< I didn't attend the forum, as I was supervising my class, but I'm sure it went very well!>

Over the three days of the competition, there was a veritable plethora of different weather types! Cold, hot, windy, rain.. we nearly had it all! But generally the weather was good enough for comfortable competition viewing.

The ESITO Awards Dinner in the RNZAF Museum Aircraft Hall
The ESITO Awards Dinner

ILS' amazing 'Busbar'

The fantastic tables at ILS' 'Busbar'

Line Mechanic Competition

The Lineys had a fair whack of events to cover with the following having to be completed by all teams: 
  • Pole Installation
  • Hardware Installation
  • Electrical Theory
  • Pole Top Rescue
  • Crane Operation
  • First Aid
  • Pole Testing
  • Knots
  • Transformer Installation
  • EPZ (equipotential zone)
  • LV Service Installation
  • Testing to Ensure Safety
  • Dismantle
  • Team Work event
  • A Mystery Event
Teams from the following companies entered:
  • Delta
  • WEL Networks
  • Independent Line Services
  • NetCon
  • MainPower
  • Waipa Networks
  • Connetics
  • Network Waitaki
  • Tenix
  • Northpower
  • Electrix
  • Power Services
The competition is heavily fought with extremely high standards of work being done. The Lineys take this very seriously and reputations are at stake!

The eventual winners were:
  • Winner: WEL Networks (The defending champs!)
  • First runner-up: Northpower
  • Second runner-up: Tenix

A great shot of multiple Lineys 'going hard'.
A lines crew assemble a pole with crossarms and dropout fuses
Line Mechanics connect a 11kV transformer
Simon from Connetics terminates
Teams compete in the 'mystery event'

Cable Jointing competition

Twelve Cable Jointers from the following eight companies battled over the Cable Jointing awards:
  • EA Networks
  • NetCon
  • Connetics (x3)
  • Power Services
  • Delta
  • Counties Power (x2)
  • Northpower (x2)
  • Electrix
The events competed for were:
  • Electrical Theory
  • LV Branch Joint
  • Lead Wiping
  • First Aid
  • Pit Rescue
  • Testing to Ensure Safety
  • 11kV Trifurcating Termination 
  • 11kV Joint
  • Mystery event
As in the industry, where line mechanics are out in the open where everyone can see them in all weather, the Cable Jointers were under cover in a tent (though not underground!).

Focused and determined is how I would describe the general feel inside the Jointing tent. The judges have a tough job also making sure all procedures are followed correctly and docking points otherwise.

Winners this year were:
  • Winner: Jonathan Ackroyd (EA Networks)
  • First runner-up: Isagne Francisco (Counties Power)
  • Second Runner-up: Harry Bradley (Northpower)

The Jointers' tent abuzz with activity
Jointing Judges John and Karl watch closely
Relief on Steve from Connetics' face as he finishes another task
Jamie shrinks down his 11kV joint
Jamie builds his 11kV joint

My class' effort

Even though the event went from the 22-24 October, my class were volunteering from the 21st to the 25th helping set up and pack away the event under an agreement with CPIT. Under Management by Matt Southorn from ILS and the event logistics team, my class performed amiably, with many positive comments from many bigwigs in the industry such as 'The competition simply wouldn't have run without them' and 'They are fantastic!'. 

Matt bossing everyone around..!
CPIT Tutor Lee issues some instructions..!
Hardwood pole rotation with Marty putting on his 'I'm pushing hard, honestly' face..!
Michelle from the Logistics Team giving instruction
The class off to set up something else

The scariest moment of the entire event for me..!
Sam does the morning 'Tailgate sheet hazard chat'
The class working hard while events happen behind
Marty and Mitch play patients in the Line Mechanics' First Aid scenario

In a way I wasn't surprised.. this years' class has had some outstanding students that have led the way for the rest of the class to follow. The class represented CPIT extremely well and I was hugely proud of them.

Special mention:

Finally I want to mention a legend without whose commitment, effort, and drive made the event the huge success it was. Anna Auapa'au from ESITO was the primary event coordinator, and being Anna's colleague and friend, I got to see and hear the battles Anna had to making the event work. With little sleep before, during and after the event, Anna has worked (I'm not gonna say tirelessly, because she was knackered,but still going!) admirably to make the Connect event happen and I can't say enough about her. 

Anna in the organizers' mobile office working.. as usual!


ESITO Connect 2013 was a huge success in my opinion, and was a massive effort by so many to make such a fantastic event showing excellence in great parts of one of New Zealand's most important (if not the MOST important) industry. Long may it continue and grow.

Happy New Year Everyone!