Recently, Tarong power stations Production Technician, Jack Hume, celebrated his 40-year anniversary working in the Queensland energy industry. We caught up with Jack to learn more about how he landed in the industry, the changes he’s seen, and what this milestone means to him.
On the 26 October 1981, Collinsville Power Station (Collinsville), located south of Townsville, onboarded a new, fresh faced Plant Attendant.
“After completing my electrical apprenticeship in Brisbane, I found my start in the industry at Collinsville,” Jack said.
“At the time, there were no simulators to help conduct your training. Instead, units were taken on and offline for training purposes.
“Although this may seem excessive, it gave new workers like myself a good understanding of the processes and an appreciation of the extent of the power you were working with.”
After his time at Collinsville, Jack made the move south, taking a role as an Auxiliary Plant Attendant at Tarong power stations (Tarong) in 1987.
“At Tarong I progressed from an Auxiliary Plant Attendant to my present position as a Production Technician,” he said.
“During this time of progression, I also completed an Associated Diploma of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern Queensland (in which Jack received the Deans Commendation for outstanding performance) and was seconded to Tarong North for its commissioning project.”
Over the course of his 40 years in the industry, Jack has seen firsthand how rapid things both change and improve in the industry.
“The control systems we have today are a major improvement on the systems that were used when I first started,” he said.
“Automatic systems have contributed to major improvements in maintaining the reliability of units and ensuring their flexibility.
“The Safe Work system has also changed. At the start of my career isolation sheets and tags were used. These days it’s all electronic with barcodes and locks. Double checks and verification on all items are the way things are done, and for the better.”
For Jack, what he has enjoyed most in his 34-year career at Tarong is simple.
“For me, three things particularly stand out. I have always enjoyed working with the Safe Work and Permit to Work systems, being involved in overhauls, and ultimately the interaction that comes with working as a team to get the job done,” he said.
With a solid career under his belt, Jack believes there are two key learnings that have proved to be fundamental to his role.
“Firstly, is to understand the plant and its processes. Although this seams a given, it enables you to solve control issues and unforeseen problems,” he said.
“Secondly, is to value collaboration and the perspective of your colleagues. Over my career I have learnt that it is as valuable to share information as it is to listen to the ideas of others. Anyone could have the solution.”
But what is Jack most proud of when it comes to his extensive career in the industry?
“I am most proud of the role I have played as a mentor. Watching trainees as they start out in the career and progress to operators is rewarding,” he said.
“I am proud of the work that I have done to provide processes to set up and implement overhauls and contribute to the introduction of the Safe Work system.
“I consider myself to be fortunate to have found a job 40 years ago that has provided me with a career that has kept me motivated and continues to challenge me today.”
Congratulations Jack on hitting this impressive milestone and for your contributions to the energy industry over the past 40 years. Our South Burnett site is safer for your contributions and willingness to share your knowledge and experience.