2020 marks a massive milestone for one of our employees, with Eric Hurrell hitting 57 years of service with the company. To say congratulations and thank you, we thought we would take a look back at Eric’s career.
Eric grew up in Inman Valley, 86km south of Adelaide. He rode horseback to school until he was 14 and didn’t have 240V power in his home or school until 1962. At night he could see the glow of lights from Adelaide, while his home glowed with kerosene lamps; life was good but tough for parents and money was scarce.
His Dad took him to chat with the Electricity Trust Apprentice training officer who gave him a “The Sky is the Limit” apprentice pamphlet, which ultimately sparked his journey with our company. From Electricity Trust, to ETSA, to SA Power Networks, CaMS and then Enerven, it has been a long journey, moving from an apprentice, to an electrical fitter, then into Substation design and drafting, Substation commissioning and then leading the Substation design and engineering groups to the present.
Starting as an apprentice at the training centre at Marleston North, there were about 53 other apprentices going through at the same time, it was an exciting time to be in the business and a time of great growth. Eric spent a year there as an apprentice electrical fitter. At just 16 he was boarding in Adelaide and received the equivalent of around $8.75 per week in pay, most of which went to paying his board, with a little bit left over to take the bus home each weekend.
Today Eric investigates incidents and develops invaluable reports to ensure processes are improved and issues are not repeated. Over many years, Eric’s reports and their recommendations and findings, have led to many, many improvements in work preparation processes, rearrangements and re-engineering of plant and equipment, adding of instructional signage, correction of incorrect or misleading drawings. Eric or a relevant Supervisor will always brief crews and ElectraNet management as agreed about the learnings from an incident so as to help ensure that we have an informed workforce and issues are not repeated.
Eric Hurrell’s role for Enerven over the last 14 years has been to provide Engineering Support to the Maintenance Services group, particularly for the maintenance of ElectraNet assets. Eric’s detailed and extensive knowledge is invaluable in this role and recognised and utilised both internally and by ElectraNet. A key part of Eric’s role is that of Incident Investigation Engineer.
Eric’s investigations are typically around inadvertent tripping of plant, switching incidents and procedural and process failures. The key part of these investigations is not to assign blame in any way but to determine the basic causes and identify learnings and recommendations to avoid similar issues and improve methodology.
This involves Eric in intensive forensic examinations of plant and equipment diagrams and drawings; analysis of operational logs and equipment protection, and control records; job folders, switching programs and more. It is also necessary for Eric to look in to the human behaviour in incidents, and this is where Eric excels, in being able to calmly review details with each individual involved, whilst doing his best to put them at ease and not berate them over an issue.
In his spare time, Eric is a very keen philatelist (a postage stamp enthusiast) and has had a key role in the ETSA (now SA Power Networks) stamp club over many years, including holding the role of Secretary. Eric specialises in Australian stamps and has exhibited nationally and internationally and won many awards. He also participates in buying, selling and trading stamps with fellow collectors. He is also the Awards Secretary of the Australian Philatelic Federation.
Eric’s collection of Australian Kangaroo and Map stamps and postal history (1913 – 1947) has been awarded either national large silver or silver-gold medals at exhibitions in Sydney(2016), Melbourne (2017), Hamilton NZ(2017), Canberra (2018) and at international exhibitions in Dubai and Bangkok, Thailand in 2018.