It takes a certain kind of person to embrace front-line work for an electrical utility. And you don’t always know in advance if you’re going to be that person.
Destiny spoke to Tim Stratichuk on his 63rd day at ENWIN. Working as an electrician/journeyman, he knew very little about the company or the sector when a catastrophic ice storm hit Windsor, toppling trees and powerlines, and damaging infrastructure on a broad scale.
Within hours, Tim was part of a crew – on the job for days – with no thought of going home until the work was complete and the power restored. Tim describes those days as pandemonium. For him, they were a game changer.
“Boy, did I learn fast,” he acknowledges. “You can’t teach that – It’s something you have to live through to understand. The storm happened, and boom, I wanted to stay…. It made my career.”
Before the storm, Tim considered ENWIN just a brief stop in his life. He remembers betting some of the more experienced workers that he wouldn’t stay beyond his apprenticeship. By the time the storm was over, he had changed his mind.
In the 20 years since then, he has progressed from licensed electrician to lineman, to his current job as PLS Subforeman and Union Chair of the Hydro Bargaining Unit. And he still loves his work.
“I like the challenge of showing up to the unknown,” he explains. “Storms are a classic example of that. You have very little information, and you have everybody looking at you to get the lights back on. I like that challenge.”
As a leader at ENWIN, Tim faces daily decisions that will impact the entire community. As his team’s problem solver, it is his job to assess a situation and come up with a plan. Everyone – from his teammates, to contractors, to customers – looks to him to build the solution.
“I like proving that we have a good utility here, a good provider of electrical service,” he acknowledges. “I long for that opportunity on a daily basis.”
Maybe that’s why he’s so good at his job. Tim believes it is because of a strong work ethic, developed through years of working his ancestral 1,000-acre farm, which he still owns and operates with family.
“My dad has always challenged me to work, work, work and then to prove my work,” he explains. “Never forget where you came from, and take every opportunity to train others, so you pass that good along.”
He has carried that ethic into all his roles at ENWIN, using teachable moments to train his workers and taking a step back when necessary to ensure a good outcome for the company and the community.
Even in the face of a global pandemic – challenged to come up with new protocols and procedures to keep everyone safe – he knows well how to hold the course.
“COVID-19 has changed the way we do business. Probably forever,” he reflects.
As Chair of the Hydro Bargaining Unit, Tim gratefully embraced an opportunity to have a voice in pivotal discussions about pandemic work protocols and procedures. He says he is proud to work for a company that puts health and safety first. He points out that, because of ENWIN’s inclusive planning process and focus on employee safety, workers remained healthy on the job during three months of COVID-19.
“I work for good people,” he acknowledges. “My crew goes home safe, I go home safe, and my kids get a hug from their Dad at the end of the day.”
“I don’t want to go anywhere else, he concludes. “I’m happy here.”