Power Engineer careers, work, lifestyle and advice interviews.
Power Engineer interview with Dwayne.
{I call him "Mr. Extra Large"}
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I call him that because he is 6í 3" and he eats like a horse. He's the kind of guy you want to definitely keep on your side.

Today Dwayne is a Power Engineer Technologist who works as a plant Operator at an older plant out in the countryside. He enjoys doing what he does for a living and likes to tell long yarns about the past operating days when Operators really had to work for a living. He says he can remember when it use to take 8 guys to do the same job that it takes 3 guys to do today. "Working smarter and automation sure made a difference," he says. "I like my job lots more today than 15 years ago."

There are times when Dwayne likes it when there is alot of activity at work. Thatís usually when there is lots of double time, overtime and money to go around in the oil patch. He also likes the group effort that the guys demonstrate on a project and how the Power Engineers pull together.

Dwayne thinks of work as a home away from home in some aspects. At work you belong to a special social group with certain special privileges and lifestyle opportunities that set us apart from the regular 9 to 5 group.

Dwayne is a local boy that didnít know the first thing about what it was to be a Power Engineer. Prior to getting hired on with his employer he was on Unemployment Insurance. UI sent him a letter indicating he should take a course in Power Engineering at a technical institution. At the time Dwayne had no intentions of going back to school for anything. So it was either do that or find a job. His choice was to get a job.

In 1975 he got hired on with his current employer as an apprentice mechanic. It didnít take long for his supervisor to get pissed off and throw a wrench at him. At that point Dwayne was going to quit but, then he got transferred to another plant in the area to work as a Field/Steam Operator. There he worked between the plant and the field wells to make adjustments to the steam flows from the plant to the steaming wells in the field. This was something that Dwayne liked more.

The only downfall with his new job was, he had to study for and get his 4th and then his 3rd Class Power Engineering certificates. The good part about it was he could do all this studying at work so it didnít take up any personal time at home. This was a bonus and so Dwayne went for it and got his 4th in 1978 and his 3rd in 1981.

During the early years Dwayne worked on equipment, dismantling pumps, changing out packing on pumps, adjusting steaming wells and doing all the dirty work. It was hard work. But now-a-days much of the dirty and heavy work is done by other trades people and laborer contractors. The Power Engineers have it pretty good. And with the development of automation technology the role of a Power Engineer is more high tech these days so itís not hard on the body. There are other trade groups that do all the nasty stuff. We just tell them what has to be done. Dwayne says a Power Engineer does about a tenth of the work today compared to 20 years ago.

Dwayneís attraction to Power Engineering Technology of today:

  • The money is great!
  • The days off to enjoy the fruits of his labour is tremendous!
  • The job is easy on a guy in his 50ís like Dwayne.
  • The industry is much safer than it was 15 years ago.
Lifestyle positives and negatives:
  • (Negative) Difficult getting to church every weekend as your work 2 weekends out of every 4.
  • (Positive) You can do things through the week with the church that most other folks donít have the opportunity to do as they have to work and canít get the time off.
  • (Positive) You can do your shopping, movie going, volunteer work, special events, concerts and stuff through the week and beat the crowds. No standing in line-ups for us.
  • (Positive) He has lots of time off to do major projects around the house or with friends from work.
  • (Positive) Vacation time fits well for longer periods of time off to go places. Dwayne is a world traveler.
  • (Negative) Working nights requires a day of recovery after you get off shift and it effects sleep patterns that not every one can deal with.
  • (Negative) The shift work can create irregularity with your eating habits. During your shift unexpected events do interrupt meal time.
  • (Negative) Shift work effects your social life. Most folks donít know when you are sleeping for night shifts and so wonít call you through the day and weekends and so you will have to make the extra effort to call them. Not a big deal for most people. If you spouse is not understanding of the shift workerís lifestyle, that can make it difficult also. Like anything else that is different from what others expect, there s an adjustment required either on your part or the other personís part.
  • (Positive) There are lots of extracurricular activities you can do with your shift worker buddies that few people have the opportunity to do on a regular basis like take 3, 4 and 5 days at a time to go fishing, hunting, snow mobiling, quadding or dirt biking, boating or camping, as much as 4 times a month if you want. Or help a friend do home renovations or build a garage or a fence or what ever you want to do.
Dwayneís advice:

If you have a significant other or have a family of your own the familyís lifestyle should be centered around you and your sleep requirements. It needs to understood that events have to be scheduled around your shift schedule as much as any oneís 9 to 5 schedule.

Your shift work schedule can be a challenge to a marriage and friendships. You usually have to make an extra effort as well as those around you. Typically it is a small effort the biggest requirement is flexibility of mind.

While at work one should be open to change as technology changes.

You need to be very adaptable as the work as while at work can change from a snailís pace to one where you feel as though you are up to your armpits in alligators.

To see the
full photographic
version web site
with tons of great photos
CLICK HERE to go to

THE Power Engineer's E-Handbook
By David C. Perry Copyright 1990 to 2004 All rights reserved.  Updated April 2004.


Note: For most browsers just click on the blue links and they will take you to each section in this ebook/web site.  (With some Internet browsers the web addresses will have to be manually entered into your browser in order that you may connect to the web site page desired).

WWW http://www.stationaryengineers.com 
  • Brothers in the business:
      1. Al. The executive.  Photo!
      2. Brian. Working the 9 to 5, Monday to Friday routine.
      3. Chad. A newbe in 2001.  Photos!
      4. Chris. He used P.E.T. as a spring board to another career.  Photos!
      5. Don. Work in at the brewery.  Photos!
      6. Dwayne. An old hand.  Photos!
      7. Earl. Retired but still working full time???  Photos!
      8. Gord. Management.  Photo!
      9. James. Soon to be wealthy. Lots of great photos!
      10. John. Chief Engineer at the brewery.  Photos!
      11. Matt. A newbe in 2000.  Photo!
      12. Mike. Heís formerly from Scotland.  Photos!
      13. Max. A Control Room Operator and Shift Engineer who had his employer pay for his continuing education in his favorite hobby, computers.  Photos!
      14. Steve. The "Bad Boy of P.E.T." who has hit the six figure income bracket. Photos!
      15. Ted. Has hit the six figure income bracket.
      16. Warren. A newbe in 2001.  Photos!
      17. Older Warren. Lots of experience. Photos!
  • Sister in the business:
      1. Brenda. A newbe in 2001.  Photos!
      2. Elaine. Management.  Very short Bio.  No pics.
      3. Hanna. Works in the electrical power generating industry.  Very short Bio. No pics.
      4. Lana. A newbe and Control Room Operator.  Photos!
      5. Mandy. A newbe in 2002.  Photos!
  • Brothers and Sisters of Aboriginal decent in the business:
  1. Liz.  She's happy to be a granny!  Photo!
  2. Alita. A student in 2002.  Photo!
  3. Jay. A newbe in 2000.  Formerly a research scientist.  Photos!
  4. Justin. A newbe in 1999 who is a Control Room Operator and who got $9000 in scholarshipsPhotos!
  5. Randy.  Under development.
  • Scope of P.E.T. Technology.
  • DARK SECRETS. Things people do and shouldnít do, while on shift.
  • Internet links to:
  1. US job opportunities
  2. Canadian job opportunities
  3. US apprenticeship, training and licensing
  4. Canadian apprenticeship and training
  5. Other countries and their job opportunities
  6. US Labor agencies.

All rights reserved
Copyright 1990 to 2004 David C. Perry