Recently, various trainers within the TAKKION companies began the Global Wind Organization (GWO) certification process for three additional certifications. This is in addition to the two trainings that technicians were already certified in.
The three certifications are for CoHE – Control of Hazardous Energy, ART – Advanced Rescue Training, and SLS – Slinger Signaler Training.
“GWO is a globally recognized certification process,” said Brett Citrowske, the Director of Training for RENEW Energy. “Their goal is to create certifications that can provide training to all of the individuals that work on wind turbines across the world. For any wind company that’s doing work with the major players – some of the large OEM and tower providers – you have to have GWO certifications.”
Takkion companies are already certified in two areas – Basic Safety Training (BST) and Basic Technical Training (BTT) – and these three newest certifications are just the latest standards that numerous TAKKION employees have become certified in.
TAKKION’s Denver Training Facility is actually the first facility in North America to offer all of these certifications at a single location.
“We now have our certification in the SLS, the CoHE, and the ART and I think that’s what makes us unique,” said Willie Knoerschild, the Senior Instructor at the Denver Training Center. “That’s what makes us stand out throughout the country. And it’s because of the support team that we have throughout the network of TAKKION and all of their entities; it’s the commitment from those companies to make us a world-class training facility.”
And that’s exactly what the Denver Training Facility really is. Citrowske agrees.
“What you’re able to see through the collaborative effort between TP&L, and RENEW, and Airway, and the individuals who work at the DTC is that it really was a team work kind of thing,” he stated. “There is no other location that has all of the GWO certifications that the DTC has. So, it’s a pretty powerful tool.”
Citrowske stated that TAKKION was approached by a few different customers that said they were looking to have specific certifications for their technicians and, in just a few short months, the DTC offered courses to achieve those certifications.
But, Citrowske stated, this certification process was more than just reading a few handouts and answering a few questions.
“When you get certified, there are a lot of different certifications that you can get,” he stated. “And with many of those certifications, you’ll take the material that another company has put together and you’ll apply that material, but they’ll kind of tell you how to present it. They’ll tell you all of the resources that you need and they’ll basically spoon feed it to you and give you everything that you need.”
That’s now how the process went for these certifications.
“Two of the different standards that we’re certified to do now – we didn’t have anybody that was able to lay that foundation for us,” Citrowske revealed. “All we had to go off of was the GWO standard. And so collectively, as a group – TP&L, Airway, and RENEW – we created all the material for it. We went through it, we demoed it, we shared it with the group and then we went and got audited under that. And the auditor actually said, ‘Hey, there’s not a lot of other companies that have these GWO certificates.”
Citrowske said the reason they were able to accomplish this milestone is because they worked together as an entire TAKKION team.
“That’s the exciting thing about it,” he said. “We had this huge accomplishment and we have a facility that… now nobody in North America has this set of specific GWO courses. And we were only able to achieve that through this collective group. And it really shows the power of working together.”
Drew Edwards, the HR Coordinator of the Denver Training Facility, knows all about team work. In fact, the majority of his job is to ensure that people work together as a team. This accomplishment serves as a perfect example of the power of team work, and what can be accomplished when such skilled individuals come together to combine their skills for one common purpose.
“This project had decades of experience between the people and the multiple companies under the TAKKION umbrella that came together to make it happen,” Edwards said. “I think it just shows the dedication and the finances that TAKKION wants to put into make sure that the training facilities they have within the company are topnotch; not just with their knowledge, but also topnotch with their trainers and making sure those trainers are equipped with every sort of certification that would cover any issue that might arise.”
Knoerschild said that, as a trainer himself, he believes that his job is to empower the technicians and give them the skill sets that they need to go home safely at the end of the day.
These certifications allow those technicians to do just that. Knoerschild said that the technicians are TAKKION’s greatest assets, and their safety is the number one priority each and every day.
“I think we’re providing a great resource to the company,” Knoerschild said. “At the Denver Training Facility, we believe that one must not only know what harm is, what the dangers are, what the hazards are – but then also they need to know what to do when those hazards occur. My job is to ensure that our technicians have the skills and training to perform their jobs to the best of their ability and to safely get home to their loved ones.”
Edwards said that when it comes to technicians, their secondary job is to be a blade technician or a maintenance technician or any other kind of technician; their first job is to be a lifesaver.
“At the training center, our big mantra is to train for the expected, but to also prepare our technicians for the unexpected,” he said.
The timeframe in which these certifications were achieved is absolutely incredible. And all parties involved agree that it only happened the way it did because of the teamwork between all of the agencies.
“I’m really proud of the team,” Citrowske said. “As a training group, we haven’t had to collaborate together in a way that was both relatively high-pressure and on a short schedule, which required people to operate at a pretty high level. But each group had things that they contributed and we couldn’t have – we wouldn’t have – been able to achieve this without each one of those groups putting forth incredible effort.”