Have you ever wondered about becoming an Arc Flash Technician? Interstates’ Jack Lembcke answers the questions below about his career path and what you might expect in the daily work life of an Arc Flash Technician.
What is your role at Interstates?
I am an Arc Flash Technician. I travel to sites all around the United States taking down power distribution electrical systems and creating models using SKM software. I analyze the model to see if the system is safe, and then I do a 5-year update according to the National Electric Code. Arc Flash Technicians can work in all types of facilities, but I mainly work in manufacturing and agricultural processing facilities.
What is your educational background?
I studied geographic information systems at the University of Washington.
What made you want to pursue being an Arc Flash Technician?
This career had a lot of the elements I was looking for. It’s fast-paced, and you’re often traveling. I think of it as the best of both worlds – when you are home you get to work in the office with a fantastic team, and when you’re traveling you get to work alone much of the time. It’s a fun balance.
What is your typical day like?
An average day depends on whether I’m on site or at the office. If I’m traveling and at a job site, the day will start early. I’ll spend my time opening up electrical equipment and walking it down, gathering information that pertains to arc flash.
Back in the office, you work with that data. You’ll clean up the software and organize it, and then run studies on the information. The report you generate will go out to the client and inform them about the hazards related to each piece of equipment. This is important, because it tells them what kind of clothing they need to wear or what kind of tools they need in order to open up electrical gear without getting hurt.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Technology is always advancing, and codes are always being updated, so it is an interesting challenge to keep up with the latest information. We have specific review times and monthly meetings to discuss changes we see in our field and any new technology we need to know about.
What do you find rewarding about your job?
It’s definitely rewarding to know that the work I do can keep someone safe or keep someone from getting injured.
What personality traits are suited for life as an Arc Flash Technician?
You need to be independent and willing to travel. You might end up working with another coworker or electrician on site, but you have to be able to travel alone. Friendliness and professionalism are important traits as well. You have to be personable and able to work well with people on site who you’ve never met before.
What is something you wish you had known about your career before starting it?
The learning curve is steep, but once you’ve gotten up to speed it’s much less difficult. As with all trades, there’s a lot of niche knowledge that you have to pick up along the way. The more sites you visit and the more experience you accumulate, the easier this job becomes.
What advice would you give someone considering a career as an Arc Flash Technician?
If the idea of traveling a lot is daunting, maybe ask yourself, “Why not travel?” Interstates is an excellent company to travel for, and I think it’s a great way to get out, meet new people, and experience the unique culture of a lot of different places.
I’ve seen some really neat things and have enjoyed learning about what happens in different manufacturing plants and agricultural facilities. You can gain a new perspective when you truly understand where things come from. If you are interested in learning and growing, this is a great career for that.
Find out more about current job opportunities at Interstates.