Power Engineers careers, jobs, incomes and lifestyle interviews of men and women in industry

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Power Engineer Dave's TESTIMONIAL

Me the Power Engineer

 
I'VE GOT GOOD NEWS FOR YOU!!!
 

I HAVE AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR YOU THAT HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I'M HERE TO TELL YOU ABOUT ALL THE GREAT BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A CAREER as a Power Engineer {Or P.E.T.}

This is an outstanding career for both men and women with global opportunities. This career can provide the financial rewards that will allow you to afford the good things in life like -- a beautiful home of your own, a decent and reliable means of transportation, the vacations you want, the time off to pursue interests most dear to your heart and the lifestyle you so richly deserve.

Since 1990 I have earned nothing less than $80,000 per year and have made over $100,000 a year for many of those years. It was just prior to that, I had figured out the way to make the big bucks. It's really quite simple but few folks have made the move to do it. There is nothing stopping me now!  And you can choose to do the same.

You may be asking yourself the question "Does this guy belong to a union?" and the answer is "No." If I did, I might be making more money at this on an hourly basis. Unions can allow you to make up to about 13% more so add on another $13,000 plus, to my bigger earning years and there you'd have my union income. So if a union ever finds its way into your work environment you may find you are making better coin in most cases.

Hi I'm David Perry, a very average guy with a very average level of intelligence and a Second Class Power Engineering {or P.E.T.} certificate. It only took me five months to get my Fourth Class certificate through a government sponsored training program. After gaining that and the first half of my Third Class certificate I immediately found employment or employment found me, I'm not sure which. Never the less, I got a job right away. The employer contacted the technical institution looking for people to fill a position and so I had a series of interviews and was hired on permanently. I started out making about $35,000 {More money than I had ever made up until that point in my life in 1984} for my first yearís income in the Oil and Gas industry and have been working for the same employer ever since up until 2014 when I retired.

I remember for a number of years when I first started, I was actually embarrassed about the fact that I didn't work as hard as I had at many other jobs previously. Don't get me wrong.  I did and still do work hard at my profession, it's just that its very rare that I come home at the end of the day with an aching back or, with my hands feeling like I'm 90 years old with a bad case of arthritis.  I had worked maybe twenty or thirty other jobs before becoming a P.E.T. and had expected to work at least as hard. Not the case. There are times I come home very tired but it doesn't feel like it's killing me.  And to think that I was getting paid far more than I had ever gotten paid before blew my mind. It took me years to get use to it. This is very different from what I have experienced with many of my previous forms of employment.  And because I actually find this type of work intriguing, it is intellectually fulfilling so it's almost not like work at all some times.  People working for my employer as contract trades and laborers work harder and for less money. I'm glad I'm not in their shoes.

If I can do it, any average healthy man or woman with the will to succeed and do a good job can do it too.

A hand full of my colleagues and I have incomes on par with and greater than some lawyers, dentists and doctors, as well as university educated engineers, without the major injections of finances required for an expensive university education and associated equipment, nor the time commitment, or the time to build a client base to develop a business base for a professional practice or, any student loans to pay back. You can do it easy, fast and with next to no financial investment compared to these professionals who have to work so long and hard to get what me and my colleagues have.

Power Engineer houseMy Great Room

{Correction: Home valuation has gone up significantly since 2000}

Power Engineer's back yard gateDaily visitor to back yard of Power Engineer
Power Engineer back yard

Back yard by day.

Power Engineer mosquitoe no fly zone

Back yard by night.  The Mosquito no fly zone.

Even on vacation a Power Engineer can't get away from steam.

Even on vacation I can't resist checking out steam driven ships.  Those large brass wheels are not for steering the ship, they are valve wheels or handles.  This is the USS Midway air craft carrier that is docked in San Diego, California.

"O" type boiler that powered the steam turbines aboard the USS Midway

This is the type of boiler that power it's turbines.

Power Engineer on vacation in San DiegoPower Engineer, San Diego vacation
Power Engineer vacation

The trip to San Diego was nice.  So was the Fairmont Hotel.

Fairmont, San Diego

Really beautiful architecture throughout the entire property.

Power Engineers live the good live at nice hotels while on vacation.

This is truly FANTASTIC!

There are other careers that flange up with this one quite nicely because of the fact that you will have some training in them already [outlined in the scope section of this report]. Having a second class ticket always adds to your marketability in the employment market too. Instrumentation tech. or electrician are two good ones to link up with this. Others like mechanical millwright or pipe fitter are good as well. They all go hand in hand with many industries.

As a P.E.T. you may be employed in many types of industry like oil and gas as I am, or petrochemical, mining, conventional or nuclear electrical generation, pulp and paper, fertilizer plants, water treatment, refrigeration plants, desalination, heating plants, hospitals, office buildings, apartment buildings, dairies, food production facilities, automotive tire manufacturers, plastics producers and manufacturers, systems trouble shooting, control room operation, pipeline operation, etc... You could be a safety coordinator, trainer, independent contractor, consultant, or managerial type. It opens up a world of opportunity.

As a technician I regularly interact with professionals like mechanical, electrical, chemical, and computer engineers as well as trades people like electricians, millwrights, and instrumentation Techs. This allows me to gain greater insight into other aspects of P.E.T. and be better at my job. After all I am a "A Jack of all trades", employers have high expectations of us and that's why I get paid the big bucks, so I might just as well be the best I can be. I highly recommend that you be the best you can be.  This way you are respected by your peers, superiors as well as the professionals.

There are government programs available from time to time that pay for training materials as well as living expenses while you are training for a new career. An alternative to that is to take the training through correspondence so you may keep your present job while acquiring your diploma in your spare time. Canadian residents should check with Canada Man Power centers as well as technical institutions in their areas to confirm openings and to determine if they qualify for the training. In the US. check with local educational institutions and state labor authorities. Standards and funding in the U.S. vary from state to state.  [Check out the section that tells you where to find technical institutions and educational materials. It has information on Canadian and U.S. sources that offer global educational opportunities.]

Keep in mind, there are employers out there that will sponsor you in conjunction with government programs when you are an employee. Some are done in night classes, some employers send you off to the educational institution full time and pay you full time wages while you are there. Still again you may find yourself employed at an entry level for a company where they pay for your course material and you study on company time while at work.  It varies significantly from very generous to nothing at all, depending on the resources of the employer.

I have been fortunate enough to have participated in some of these programs. All my schooling, technical text books and training materials worth thousands of dollars [AND WILL COME IN HANDY WHEN I CHOOSE TO SPECIALIZE OR FURTHER DEVELOP MY CAREER.] have been paid for by my employer and government programs.

I entered into a federal government training program for the fourth and the third class diplomas. After acquiring these two diplomas I wrote off the fourth and half the third class government certificates. During that time they paid for all my books and tuition. They also provided me with the option to have an allowance to cover my living costs which would have allowed me to devote more time to studies and my wife at the time. I chose to continue working my part time job as a grocery clerk rather than take the extra money and not work. I did this because I wasn't sure what my chances of gaining employment after the training would be. Fortunately I found employment immediately at the conclusion of the training.

While working for my present employer I studied for my second class ticket at work and at home. So I got paid regular full time wages while doing this. When I was on double or triple or quadruple time I still studied when appropriate and got paid. Needless to say, I really liked that. The great thing is that this is considered a standard practice in the industry for most employers so, there is no guilt involved.
 
 
 Jay the Power Engineer  Mandy the Power Engineer

(Jay and Mandy prefer to study at work when it is appropriate.
Itís a good thing they say.)

Get your job done first and then study. Don't neglect your duties. I could get all my duties completed and still have time to squeeze some study time in, while on night shift. Don't brag about it. Be discrete and dutiful and everything should flow quite nicely.

(Jay prefers to study at work too when he can.)

As part of my effort to secure my second class certificate I wrote a memo to my foreman and the area manager outlining my desire to go to a fast track training course so I could get it over and done with. The second class exams are far more difficult than the fourth or third.  My argument was, they would get a better educated, high performing employee. With that, like any win / win arrangement, they wanted me to give up something in return which was that year's vacation time (that kind a stung me but it was still a win/win). They paid for my $1200.00 flight ticket to the east coast where I got in on another FREE, government funded, six week training course at the N.S.I.T.  I stayed with my parents that live there, so my living expenses were minimal.

Upon acquiring my second class certificate I was given a $3 an hour raise and another $50 a month for what they call a steam bonus. Over the months and years, this all adds up to tens of thousands of dollars extra in my pocket.

You could say I'm a very luck guy and I'd say, "Yes I am lucky but, I also worked for it all". All you need to do is take the extra steps that others may view as being not likely to bear fruit or give that extra 10% that others can't be bothered to make the effort to. Wit a good employer it usually pays off.  Obviously this has born fruit over and over, and will continue to do so.

Be aggressive. Be persistent. Seek out government programs locally and in other areas of your country. They are there just waiting for people to fill them. Take full advantage of them and make them win/win's. That's what they are there for, so the nations people can progress, so the country can progress. A fair and ethical exchange. You get what you want, the country and employers get what they want. As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a very good thing".

Dave the Power Engieer at Home...


It was a dream come true for me in 1984 when I became a P.E.T. and can be a dream come true for you too.

You're probably asking yourself, "If this is so great, why haven't I heard anything about it before and how come every man and his dog aren't in line to get in on this?" I too have asked myself the same question. Often it's because of the shift work. It's also because there are fewer Power Engineers out there than there are other professionals and fewer employer that need them as a part of their business.  Most often it is a matter of luck in many cases. Most of the information about this is passed on by word of mouth. That is the way I heard about it. The other way a person may hear about it is from news paper ads advertising for positions. Unless you knew what they were looking for or, what a P.E.T. is, you probably would just bypass the ad and not pick up on it. Other times it maybe a matter of one's persistent investigation into discovering other career directions, which is what brings you here at this point.

When I heard about it, it was from a friend at work, when I was working at a Safeway grocery store. I kept an open mind and I was willing to do what ever it took to find something right for me.  He told me all about it or, at least what little he knew about it at the time. The career variety and potential sounded fascinating! The great pay potential and free government training made it sound even more fascinating so, I investigated the whole thing and within a couple of weeks I was signed up and waiting for the day to start.  After I completed the training I got a job.  Bingo, bango...

One job assignment I had with my current employer was for about seven years and was very unique as far as jobs are concerned. However it was not unique as far as other jobs are and are available throughout the world today. I acquired the posting by asking for it, doing the interview thing, doing a little negotiating and strategizing.  I heard about it through word of mouth too. This opportunity I am describing to you should illustrate the advantage of working with a large multinational corporation. Many of them in the petrochemical field have operations throughout the world and some provide opportunities like this in other countries around the world. My posting was 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

Another example of this is, I have a friend (Terry) who works for a multinational (that shall remain nameless) that flies between Canada and Cuba every 21 days. He makes more money than I do and pays less than one tenth the income tax that I do because he works out of the country! If you are a U.S. citizen, that would mean 30% more pay cheque in your bank account. If you are a Canuck, that's about 45% more pay cheque in your bank account! It should be mentioned that the jobs outside your country pay about 30% more in addition to the tax benefits. There are other financial benefits relating to working out of the country that I won't get into now and leave up to you to investigate on your own.

My employer provides me with generous vacation options. In 1993 in conjunction with my three weeks off and some banked statutory holidays, I enjoyed six consecutive weeks off for my vacation. The remainder of the banked days I took off with another week of vacation and my regular days off for an additional twenty days off for paid vacation. So my pay cheques didn't skip a beat and I had all that time off. Life can be so good to you if you take the time to investigate things in life so you may pick and choose a good employer.

Dave the Power Engineer working out


BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!

While I was still at that Northern posting I was flown into the job site on a monthly basis and collected frequent flyer points every time as a result. My work mates and I used them for our vacations. The fly in situation also allowed the opportunity for use to live almost anywhere in the country we chose. Some chose to live off the continent like Hawaii.

I know of at least 8 of my associates that have used the frequent flyer points to fly in groups, pairs and singularly to France, Italy, Germany, Greece, England, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Hawaii and Taiwan. One fella bumped into the right gal on one of these free jaunts and got himself married.

AND...

when I flew to work I got paid double time wages because it was overtime,

AND...

When I worked overtime I got double time every time!! (That's how I made my six figure yearly incomes. I still get double time for overtime but I just don't work it as much as I used to. I also can bank most of my statutory holidays and overtime for time off. So I can work a lot less now than what I had in the past. So I can work less than three days (12 hour shifts each day) a week on average if I want and if it can be scheduled. Its nice to have that flexibility when you want it.)

AND...

When working statutory holidays I get triple time!!!

AND...

When I was up north if that statutory holiday is also an overtime day I got quadruple time!!!!

(Over time is how I make my six figure income.)

Quadrupple time, tripple time and double time fill up a Power Engineer's bank account

When I worked in the NWT, I got quadruple time some days.  Overtime was either double time or triple time depending on a variety of factors.

AND...

While at the job site my employer supplies us with a private hotel room, all meals, access to a sauna, exercise room, games room, common TV rooms, etc. The meals are great. Lots of everything, fresh vegetables, fruits, salads, deserts, full course meals like T-bone steak, prime rib, Arctic Char, caribou steaks, turkey, salmon, etc., etc. At breakfast you always had a choice of pancakes, French toast, waffles with wiped cream and berries or syrup, bacon chewy or crisp, sausages, hash browns, eggs any way you wanted them, yogurts, hot or cold cereal, juices, coffee or tea. Everything a guy or gal needs to get fired up for a days work.  And ya, there were times the food wasn't so great and we had to fight to get it upgraded.  That happens from time to time as not all employees that contract for food caterers understands proper nutrition.

I had my own TV, VCR, micro wave and refrigerator flown in at company expense for my room and they supplied the satellite TV hook up for TSN, The Movie channel and so on. They even paid for all my work clothing from the goose down Arctic parka right down to my underwear and sox. Yes it was a very comfortable home away from home.

Some of the guys took advantage of the big game hunting and trophy fishing on their days off by staying behind. Man the lake trout were HUGE!!! Like forty pounds and more. Some of the guys and gals liked to go cross country skiing, hiking into the mountains and see mountain sheep and bear, canoeing, mountain biking or take a helicopter ride to the mountains. This presents many once in a life time opportunities.

AND...

On top of that are the industry standard benefits or regular or enhanced and subsidized medical, vision care, dental, life insurance, sickness benefits etc. etc....

When I worked close to home, I worked a different shift arrangement with 12 hour shifts. It was three days on three days off, followed by three nights shifts. It went on to repeat itself over and over. Other shifts had combinations of days and nights, some with short changes of going from three nights to three days with twenty four hours between to recover but it also had a seven day stretch of days off which was nice to match up with vacations or just to have a good stretch off to get some projects done around the house or catch up on the social life.

Lots of schedules are set up so you have lots of time off. Usually you'll get two weekends off every month. You may say, "Big deal!". Fact is these weekends are coupled with other days off so they create a long weekend twice a month. This presents yourself with more opportunities like beating the crowds to the camping grounds, to the grocery store, going to movies, concerts, sporting events, making appointments with doctors and other professionals that usually work the week days.

Some people use their spare time to get involved in self improvement [Like Anthony Robins stuff], or just live their lives pursuing leisure activities, hanging out with friends and neighbors.

When it comes to employers, it like people.  They are a ll a mixed bag of good and not so good.  I worked at Imperial Oil for over 30 years and when I compare it to other employers I have worked for afterwards, I recognize it as being a really good employer.  The most notable good employer I have worked for since pensioning off from Imperial Oil was Devon Energy.  (Note: In 2019 they were sold to Canadian Natural Resources).  The pay was what I call "chunky".  It was the most I made on an annual basis in my entire life.  Their training system was the absolute best I had ever encountered, as well as the benefits, transportation, accommodations and food while in camp.

Power Engineer accommodation while in campHuge camp for Power Engineers and all other support staff and management

Huge accommodations entrance.

Camp Cafateria fit for any Power Engineer
Camp Cafateria
Power Engineer good life in camp

The Cafeteria is an all you can eat, any time of the day or night operation.  Everything imaginable for one to consume in any volume they wish.

To the left is a freezer with a generous variety of frozen ice cream treats (pop cycles, ice cream sandwiches, etc.).  Further forward are coolers containing prepared lunches, dinners, breakfasts, hamburgers, salads, different sandwiches, and wraps, puddings, yogurts etc.  Furthest away at the back wall is the pastry section with cookies, squares and donuts.  I ate way too much of that junk.  To the right of that by the wall is the coffee, milk and juice section.  In the open coolers is prepared fruit, greens, vegetables, boiled eggs and meats.  Behind is bottled water, juice and canned pop.

Power Engineer meals









A person could gain a couple hundred pounds if they put their mind to it.  And if you're not into getting fat, there is always Devon's world class gym.

Gym fit for any Power Engineer
All the cardio you want for any Power Engineer

All the cardio equipment you want.

Power Engineer gym

 And more than enough weight training and weight lifting equipment you could ever want for a quick workout.

The rooms were the best camp rooms I had ever experienced.  They contained a double bed with a desk on one side and a night stand on the other.  There was a built in bureau with a fridge, microwave and a flat screen TV.  It had a telephone in each room that you could dial out to the real world and chat with friends and family at no cost to you.  Bathrooms were not shared.  You had your own private shower and toilet.  Another great thing here was, when you shipped out for days off, you didn't have to clear out your room.  You just lock up your valuables and jumped on the plane.  And you'd do you laundry part way through your set so you weren't dragging laundry back and forth (ample, conveniently located laundry facilities).  I'm sure there are better setups for accommodating employees but this was the best in my experience.  I was pleasantly impressed.  Working at Devon Energy was pretty darn good.  It was a "Dream Job" in my opinion.

Another interesting dimension of this career is, you can transfer your tickets and/or steam time over to become a Marine Engineer Tech.. You could also study for and write your marine and P.E.T. exams simultaneously. This opens up the world of oceanic travel as an officer in the Merchant Marine. Some U.S. companies prefer Canadians on their ships because of the superior training they get. Canadians are considered to be the best of the bunch. Camosen College in Vancouver B.C. Canada is the place to be for that training. [More info like this in the institutions contact list section.]

Another way of doing this is to first get into the Marine end of things and be writing off exams simultaneously. This way you can be learning and earning while aboard ship and traveling the world. Food and accommodation can be good and you can devote much of your spare time to educating yourself. Some guys go full boar at it and just take off a month or two every year until they get all their tickets earned as well as a swollen bank account. This way they have more options in life supplied by TWO POWERFUL careers and a solid bank account. This sort of approach really sets a guy up for the future, big time. Look at it like a university education. You work your butt off for four or five years, get great pay, get an education, maybe two educations, have everything paid for except your clothing perhaps and a few incidentals and come out on the other side with enough money to buy a beautiful house, a new car and still have money in the bank. From there on you may decide to do what ever you want, where ever you want. Remember you will have your education to fall back on, plus four or five years experience.

Then again, if you are a land lover, like me, you may not choose the oceanic route and stay on dry land. These are just a few of the many different possibilities and combinations of ways one may involve themselves in one or both of these careers.

Although I have had job offers from The Middle East and other parts of North America, for now I'm staying put. I've found my neigh. How about you? Have you found your neigh yet? Are you pleased as punch with career? I wish you the best luck in your endeavors.

It may be time to move up in the world by becoming a P.E.T.


 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS My P.E.T. Career

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  • Brothers in the business:
      1. Al. The executive.  Photo!
      2. Brian. Working the 9 to 5, Monday to Friday routine.
      3. Chad. A newbie in 2001.  Photos!
      4. Chris. He used P.E.T. as a spring board to another career.  Photos!
      5. Don. Work in at the brewery.  Photos!
      6. Dwayne. An old hand.  Photos!
      7. Earl. Retired but still working full time???  Photos!
      8. Gord. Management.  Photo!
      9. James. Soon to be wealthy. Lots of great photos!
      10. John. Chief Engineer at the brewery.  Photos!
      11. Matt. A newbie in 2000.  Photo!
      12. Mike. Heís formerly from Scotland.  Photos!
      13. Max. A Control Room Operator and Shift Engineer who had his employer pay for his continuing education in his favorite hobby, computers.  Photos!
      14. Steve. The "Bad Boy of P.E.T." who has hit the six figure income bracket. Photos!
      15. Ted. Has hit the six figure income bracket.
      16. Warren. A newbie in 2001.  Photos!
      17. Older Warren. Lots of experience. Photos!
  • Sisters in the business:
      1. Brenda. A newbie in 2001.  Photos!
      2. Elaine. Management.  Very short Bio.  No pics.
      3. Hanna. Works in the electrical power generating industry.  Very short Bio. No pics.
      4. Lana. A newbie and Control Room Operator.  Photos!
      5. Mandy. A newbie in 2002.  Photos!
  • Brothers and Sisters of Aboriginal decent in the business:
  1. Liz.  She's happy to be a granny!  Photo!
  2. Alita. A student in 2002.  Photo!
  3. Jay. A newbie in 2000.  Formerly a research scientist.  Photos!
  4. Justin. A newbie in 1999 who is a Control Room Operator and who got $9000 in scholarshipsPhotos!
  5. Randy.  Under development.
  • Scope of P.E.T. Technology.
  • DARK SECRETS. Things people do and shouldnít do, while on shift.
  • Internet links to:
  1. US job opportunities
  2. Canadian job opportunities
  3. US apprenticeship, training and licensing
  4. Canadian apprenticeship and training
  5. Other countries and their job opportunities
  6. US Labor agencies.
 
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MY P.E.T. CAREER
THE Power Engineer's E-Handbook
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