Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Reason Zach LOVES his job...

Bottom of the Grand Canyon
Zach working hard!

Still up in the air

This past week we had some awesome winter snow. The APS crew here covers the Grand Canyon too, so when the power went out at the bottom, the crew got to hike down, stay the night, and then mules carried them back out. It was about a four hour hike for the guys. Today they got to fly back in a helicopter that dropped them off at the bottom to fix the temporary job that they had done 2 nights before. They couldn't fly in on Wednesday because the weather was too bad. This is the article that appeared in the APS news letter.

No outage too small, no weather condition too daunting for Williams crewDecember 19, 2008 You think you’ll do something a little different for your vacation. You want an experience that’s a little rustic so you head to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
However, you’re not expecting two winter storms to reach down in the canyon while you’re there and leave you without power. That’s a little too rustic.
That was, however, the situation earlier this week for Phantom Ranch’s 38 guests as well as its staff. The outage resulting from the first storm was such that Don Keil, Local Representative, Williams Operations/Maintenance, was able to close the affected recloser and get back in service the line feeding the ranch.
The second storm also produced an outage, but it would take more than closing a recloser to get the power back up for our customer. A section of the overhead line had fallen off an insulator and was touching the guy wire — shorting out the line.
Getting to the line to make repairs would be no easy feat as the line descends from the rim of the canyon to the canyon floor, feeding the ranch and other area residents, including the residence of a Nation Park Service employee.
In good weather, the repairs could be done remotely using a helicopter. Wednesday’s weather, however, was not good and there were ranch guests who were roughing it without power.
The latter was an important point for Mike Monroe, Crew Foreman, Williams Construction, “Those people spent a lot of money to have a memorable vacation. We didn’t want them to go home and complain about how lousy their trip was because we didn't get the power back on.”
With Keil coordinating the arrangements between the ranch’s operator and the National Park Service, Monroe and his crew — Zach Butler, Apprentice, and Will Ward, Journeyman Lineman — hiked in the snow (on the rim of the canyon) and the rain (further into the canyon) down the canyon to Indian Gardens. They carried with them the equipment and tools necessary to make temporary repairs.
Butler, Monroe and Ward after their return from their trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon Prior to their arrival, the Park Service employee living in the vicinity located the down line and guided the crew on the two-mile hike to the trouble spot.
Rob Jorissen, Journeyman Lineman, Williams Construction, stayed on the canyon’s rim with Keil. They monitored the crew’s work and verified the temporary repair had restored power to the affected area.
Once the work was complete, it was too late and too dark for the crew to hike out of the canyon. So the Park Service employee let the crew bunk with him for the night.
Thursday morning, the Park Service sent mules to bring Butler, Monroe and Ward out of the canyon. With the improved weather forecast for Saturday, permanent repairs will be made using a helicopter. “The guys did a great job in less than ideal conditions,” said Kent Jones, Area Manager, Williams Operations/Maintenance. “We received really good feedback from the folks at Phantom Ranch.”
Mike McElmury, Director, Northern Arizona Delivery, echoed Jones’s sentiment, “The Williams team, coupled with Don Keil, are simply amazing. I think if they were asked, they would simply say its part of their job, but I have to tell you, these guys don't shy away from difficult tasks.
“The Xanterra (Phantom Ranch’s management company) and National Park Service employees and 30 plus visitors who were in the canyon that night were very appreciative of our guys' efforts because it would have been a cold, dark night without them.”


Alicia said...

That's so crazy!!

Jessica said...

Thats so cool! Its always nice when the men love what they are doing!