Race, Run and Remote Chopper Spell Fun for Utility Engineer

A perfect weekend in the life of Billy Quach might be building and flying a remote control img_7563helicopter, doing a 10 kilometer trail run, and topping it off with a race against the clock on an auto-cross short course. It’s pretty clear that our Senior Electrical Utility Engineer has no problems keeping busy with his various hobbies and family in his off hours.

While on the job, Billy works with business customers to assure their electrical systems meet SVP standards. Getting to his current position was a logical progression after finishing his degree in Electrical Engineering from Santa Clara University in 2003. He earned separate masters degrees in Business Administration and Science Engineering in 2009 from San Jose State University and was a power engineering consultant at a private firm before joining SVP in 2014.

“I definitely wanted to be in a utility. I was very interested in working where I could directly impact customers, and evaluating customer-owned generating facilities is very important,” Quach said. “If a customer loses their power for any reason, that impacts the bottom line of their business.”

The Silver Creek High School (San Jose) alum also helps maintain and enhance our Power Quality Monitoring Systems. “Much of the work we do here has to do with reliability,” he said, adding that his job offers “a great work/life balance. The hours are predictable and there’s flexibility for family time if needed. I love spending time with my wife and two daughters.”

That balancing act juggles his engineering assignments with his hobbies and his family. Because another one of his many passions is photography, all the fun he refers to is probably very well documented.

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Millions of Watts all in a Day’s Work

One of the neat things about being in the electric utility business is the fact that electricity is pretty similar worldwide. That brings some interesting people to work for us.

One of those is Sachin Bajacharya, who received his first electrical engineering (EE) IMG_7120degree in Nepal before coming to the U.S. and earning a master’s degree in EE at Lamar University in Texas. With a background focused on power, he then designed and fired up substations for a private Bay Area company that coordinated power infrastructure for commercial customers. Sachin later left that job and joined our team here at SVP as a utility engineer.

“The attraction of coming to SVP was to work with the entire cycle of the electricity business, from how it’s produced and transmitted here to how it’s distributed to the customers,” he said. The distribution system in Santa Clara provides electricity through 525 miles of local power lines.

Now Sachin helps power Santa Clara’s large dynamic business and residential communities, working with millions of watts, or megawatts (MWs), that get distributed to SVP’s 53,000 customers. Getting new state-of-the-art multi-megawatt substations up and running provides him with a special thrill.

“When you see a complex project finally power up and the lights go on, that’s when it’s exciting,” said Bajacharya, a native of Nepal. “I’ll spend a lot of time planning, designing and managing a project so that the power flows safely and reliably.”

“Electricity is a basic need of our modern society and it’s a great feeling to be doing something positive for my community,” said Sachin. As a Santa Clara resident, Sachin enjoys hiking locally with his wife Archana, toddler daughter Tisa, and baby boy, Yaju.

“Things are busy at home with the baby and work is certainly busy at SVP,” he says, “and I’m enjoying both experiences. It’s as much challenge and satisfaction as anyone could ask for.”

Cash Scholarships Encourage Students to Study for Utility Careers

Utilities throughout the nation are facing a workforce shortage that includes well-paid jobs, ranging from power-line workers to control room Lington Gordon - with quote.jpgtechnicians to engineers. That’s why we annually offer college scholarships and technical school tuition grants to students who live in the City of Santa Clara and are pursuing careers related to the electric utility industry.

We’re offering $5,000 scholarships to new and continuing college students and $2,000 to trade school students who will be enrolled by October 2016 for the 2016-17 school year. Thirty college scholarships and six technical school grants totaling $162,000 have been awarded since the program started in 2006.

If you know a student studying energy services, electric utilities, or fields associated with the power industry in general, see the application at www.siliconvalleypower.com/scholarships or call (408) 261-5036 for more information. This year’s deadline is November 3, 2015.