Eighth Seventh Fifth

In this Anniversary Article I will speak to the fact that I am in my Eighth decade of life, starting in 1952; my Seventh decade of teaching, starting in 1966; and, since July 1st, 1980, my Fifth decade in Canada Training Group, investing my knowledge, skills, experience and abilities to build a better world.

July 23 I will turn 69. As all my contemporaries of this age and older will tell you, boy it comes fast :-) In this last year, any one of us could write an entire book on what we have experienced. The concern is, what will happen in this next year? Myself and most of the people I know have had double vaccines, myself the Pfizer.

It is in this next year that we will all discover if we are protected or not. Regardless, life is an unending series of risks, some minor, some catastrophic, some deadly. And since we are all going to die, it makes sense to live a life that is fruitful and reverent.

I choose to actively believe there is a heaven and very much a hell. They may not fall into our limited human understandings but I believe they exist.

If, over the last millions of years, humans have either been planted or spontaneously created, and evolved, then it must follow that in the measurement of eternity, through quadrillions of eons, that a higher power has also evolved.

A power that is beyond human comprehension, and, I believe how we live the life and existence that we are given, will determine our reward on the completion of this life.

My personal and professional life are dedicated to this service. The rewards from this actually start in this life.

For instance, 40 times a year, since 1997, my musical friends and I have entertained elders in various care facilities. At the end of every session, each of us goes to every elder, holds their hand and shares a little conversation full of love and kindness.

We call these “touches” and we have made over 20,000 of them. There may in fact be no heaven but we are amply rewarded in this life by the grateful smiles and hand squeezes from lonely elders, many abandoned by family.

Teaching has also been a personal reward. When I had the first teaching opportunities in 1966 I had no idea it would become my calling, and that the challenges of unmotivated learners that I had then are still a weekly occurrence:)

In small intimate groups I have personally trained over 5,000 people; I was teaching these past two weeks (25KV Substation Certification) and the enjoyment of teaching is as strong now as ever.

People ask me when do I plan to retire and I tell them about my local farmer friend, Stanley Maess. Last fall, at the age of 85, Stanley was still driving grain truck for his son and grandsons. His eyes and health are good and he loves farming.

People are perplexed that Stanley and I don’t want to retire and Stanley and I are just as perplexed that they can’t understand that:)

I love doing train-the-trainer programs and I have coached over 200 instructors.

Some of my key teachings are that:

- 90% of our success in the classroom will be determined by what we did before we went into the classroom,
- Telling is not teaching and listening is not learning,
- Our duty is to find ways to make complex information understandable,
- Our duty is to make dry information interesting,
- To accomplish this we need to develop the ability to listen with our own ears to our own words as we speak them,
- We are only responsible for teaching, the learner is responsible for learning,
- Training with no hands on is like watching love making in a movie,
- If we are not a subject matter expert with extensive experience in what we are teaching then we are a fraud,
- Being a good teacher is continuous hard work and more to be a great teacher,

There are many, many more attributes but this is not supposed to be a book:)

And this brings me to my third part, my Fifth decade.

July 1st, 1980, my wife and I with our two young children were at a family reunion and we agreed that we would become renters again and take the profit from the recent sale of our house and start an electrical safety training business. I was 27 and it was one of the dumbest decisions I could have possibly made.

Most companies then, and many now, are all talk about safety and training but when it comes to spending….”They have no budget”; the reason they have no budget is that they do not put it into their budget and if they do, it will be cut:)

At that time, long before security footage recorded actual arc flash accidents, it was next to impossible to sell low voltage electrical safety training. To survive we expanded into electrical and mechanical technical training, leadership and team training, and consulting, and those became our major revenue streams. In 1985 we expanded nationally and then internationally in 1990; with all this it made us a company.

Clients with 5 and 15KV systems regularly requested safety courses on those and higher levels but no one believed they needed low voltage safety training for any one. We included low voltage systems in those courses and experienced electricians were astounded at the risks they were unaware of. We incorporated NFPA 70E into our MV/HV training in 2000 and managers were furious that we were advising this standard for low voltage work “That is an American standard! It does not apply to us!”

We had an uphill fight for 5 or 6 years with many clients no longer using us until the security videos showing the terrible arc flashes from Cudahy WI and the South American refinery started being distributed.

I remember being at conferences where these videos were first shown and everyone was in shock (not a pun) as they realized they had workers doing the same tasks on similar systems and equally unprotected.

When the Mark Standifer, Eddie Adams, Donnie Johnson, and other videos were made, plus all the PPE mfrs jumping in, we could finally, after more than 25 years, sell low voltage electrical safety courses.

How much misery did it take to achieve this?

With this, a flood of competitors have jumped on the bandwagon. Canada Training Group is a pure training company, our only sources of revenue are training and consulting projects. Many of our competitors use training as a vehicle to sell their products and services and offer discount rates to do this.

We cannot compete with them on price so we don’t even try, we compete on deliverables, quality and customer service. Between our leadership and technical divisions we have over 30 instructors, each with a minimum of 30 years of practical experience, and our average experience is over 40 years.

Our instructors are seasoned industry veterans who have cleaned up after explosions, ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and the resulting blackouts and when they teach, this abundant wealth of experience, coupled with their professional training skills, is readily apparent and appreciated.

It is a good formula that has enabled us to train over 25,000 people on five continents.

In March of 2020 our income dropped to zero. Our expenses though, happily continued:)

We wondered if we would see our 40th anniversary!

Our IT team led us into Zoom training and I have been completely surprised at how well it can work. We have trained almost 1,000 people on Zoom and as long as the students are motivated, we can achieve our instructional objectives.

We have slowly been returning to in person training using our 5 mobile electrical training labs. We follow a strict Covid protection protocol with small class sizes and distances and, although annoying, it is great to be back doing hands on technical training.

Recent projects have been customized projects at wind and solar farms, hydro, coal and gas generating stations, compressor stations, OSB mills and hospitals.

Our marine training is going well with Canada Training Group being chosen for a 30 year marine electrical safety training contract, our instructors with 142 years of marine experience and some interesting projects involving submarines.

Our engineers are busy developing maintenance programs, writing repair and procurement specifications, developing electrical codes of practice and electrical safety programs, and completing are flash studies.

Our IT team has also introduced us to the amazing world of 3D video creation, animation of client control circuits for customized troubleshooting, and gamification of customized deep level competency analyses.

Our leadership consulting team is busy providing advice to senior managers and executives on complex HR issues and other leader/manager development initiatives. We are just beginning to roll out our leadership training in both Spanish and Portuguese and our French language training is nicely gaining ground in Quebec.

So with covid, as we have learned through the centuries, This Too Shall Pass. Our sincere condolences to the many who have suffered tragic losses in this time and we hope it is over for you.

Thank you heartily to our thousands of clients and students who think we are the best.

Hello Year 42:)