Friday, October 31, 2008

Meter School Images

The week-long 2008 SWEMA Texas Meter School wraps up on Friday. Check out some of the images and video acquired during the event.

To get an understanding why electrical meters are important to a utility as well as customers, see the video titled "The Importance of Electrical Metering and Meter Component Analysis."
The second video, "Electrical Safety/Arcing Demonstration," gives some compelling examples of why safety around electricity is important and why proper personal protective equipment is necessary.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Metering professionals converge on Riverside Campus

They're not a glamorous bunch, but they certainly perform an important function. Electric utilities workers from across the southwestern United States have gathered at the Texas A&M Riverside Campus, where TEEX is hosting the annual Texas Meter School conducted by the Southwest Electrical Metering Association, or SWEMA.

It’s an ever-evolving discipline in which training to learn the latest in technical advances is critical. You may be asking yourself why this is important. Well, for one, improper metering can affect your wallet.

With escalating utility costs, it’s critical that electric power suppliers discover ways to keep customer costs down while providing efficient and reliable power. The main focus of the school is to save the consumer money by training metering personnel in a variety of subjects. Students learn the value of metering accuracy, as well how to fine-tune electrical networks to provide consumers the proper balance of power with as little possible waste. Perhaps most importantly, students learn how to educate consumers as to how power is provided and how they can reduce their own costs.

More than 170 students registered this morning in the Utilities Training Hangar at TEEX’s Riverside Campus and classes started this afternoon and will continue through the week. Students sign up for one of five courses, all of which focus on the latest and greatest in electrical metering.

“SWEMA is a volunteer organization that keeps the safety and well-being of the metering profession at the forefront,” SWEMA planning committee member Mike Cleveland said. “TEEX has the same goals and we are fortunate to be able to partner with them for the annual meter schools.”

In addition, the school features 42 vendors showcasing the newest metering technology.

“This is my third time to attend and I’m looking forward to this week,” said Charles Sellers with CPS Energy in San Antonio. “The interaction between instructors and students is great and you meet other guys from other utilities and share ideas about how to do things. It’s a great experience.”

Courses and enrollment
Introduction to Electrical Metering – 73 students
Advanced Electrical Metering Technology – 38 students
Complex Electrical Metering Technology – 32 students
National Generation/Transmission Metering – 20 students
Diversified Electrical Metering Technology – 9 students

Check back later this week for more photos and video from meter school.

Monday, October 20, 2008

T-MEX Trade Competiveness Conference Important for Texas Economy

Periodically, TEEX Director Gary Sera will share his thoughts and unique insights on this blog in a segment called The Director’s Take. Here’s the first installment of what will surely be a different approach to letting you know what is going on at the Texas Engineering Extension Service …
The Director’s Take:I am told by many that TEEX is the best-kept secret in Texas, so perhaps this blog will help to inform you on some of our initiatives.

If you do know something about TEEX, it’s probably the
Texas Fire Training School, which is the largest fire school in the world, or Texas Task Force 1, which leads the search and rescue operations for the state during major events like Hurricane Ike. However, I’ll bet you didn't know about our role in helping Texas and the U.S. in the economic development arena.

Leveraging Texas-Mexico
Recently, TEEX partnered with the Global Research Center at Texas A&M University to establish the
Mexico-Texas Trade Corridor Consortium. Under the leadership of Dr. F. Barry Lawrence, this consortium should help Texas mitigate the trend of western firms outsourcing their manufacturing to Asia. This trend has a lot of momentum, but the long-term viability of shipping products across the Pacific Ocean is questionable given the high cost of logistics and rising wages in Asian markets. Ultimately, global firms are likely to cede control of local markets to their local specialists. What this means is that Texas has the opportunity to create manufacturing centers closer to the customer that minimizes transportation costs and lead times. A&M's Global Research Center states, "This regional manufacturing process is already well under way with many such centers already started that tend to begin with a particular industry theme ...”

You may not be aware that China buying from the U.S. accounts for less than 15 percent of the trade between the two, while Mexico buys 35 percent. The Global Research Center sees the potential for this imbalance to tilt more in the favor of the U.S. as the
maquilas buy products from American firms to complete their production. This symbiotic relationship is not possible with the Pacific Ocean in between. Chinese products are more likely to go to Europe or some other final market for their next stage of production.

Toyota in Texas
When Toyota located its manufacturing plant in San Antonio, this represented a strong example of what could happen. Toyota recognized that three of the largest cities in the U.S. are in Texas, with nearby major markets in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Cars and their respective subassemblies are difficult and expensive to ship. Proximity to suppliers is a big priority and Toyota sees the maquila region as a major opportunity for supplies. Generally, this could lead to a final assembly manufacturing boom in South Texas supported by a raw materials and subassembly growth in Northeast Mexico. Other industries, such as electronics and aerospace, could follow with a focused marketing approach.

This regional manufacturing center needs logistical support to be successful. Much remains to be done as the investment in infrastructure and process improvements will be significant. The key objective of the Mexico-Texas Trade Corridor Consortium is to bring together groups of companies (manufacturers and shippers), logistics providers, government and economic entities. Together, they will study and develop the attributes of establishing an infrastructure that optimizes global supply chain throughput from worldwide sources through Mexican value-added and, ultimately, to American final assembly processes in Texas.

Stakeholder conference
The first meeting of this consortium - the
Texas-Mexico Trade
Competitiveness Conference - will take place Nov. 13, 2008, at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. The conference is free and open to the public. Three additional conferences will be scheduled through 2009 in South Texas and Mexico (dates and locations to be announced).

Friday, October 17, 2008


Welcome to the blog that will chronicle the news and happenings of the Texas Engineering Extension Service, or TEEX. College Station is most widely known as the home of Texas A&M University, but it is also home to TEEX.

A LITTLE ABOUT TEEX: TEEX delivers a wide range of technical and skills training programs aimed at employed workers and those entering the labor force. During its fiscal year 2007, TEEX provided training and technical assistance to more than 225,000 people from all 50 states, five U.S. territories, the District of Columbia and 53 countries via more than 8,300 deliveries conducted across the nation and around the world.


TEEX provides fire training. The 120-acre Brayton Fire Training Field is world-renowned for its large-scale, hands-on fire training props.

TEEX has unmatched homeland security training. We use real-world exercises to teach companies, communities, states and our nation to prepare for and handle WMD and terrorist attacks, as well as other disaster situations.
TEEX trains public works personnel in a variety of disciplines. TEEX reaches and serves most skill groups and departments found in government, and also tailors training specifically for the needs of industrial and private sector customers.

TEEX is home to the largest OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health) training center in the country. Last year, TEEX trained more students in workplace safety than the federal OSHA Training Institute.

Anchored by the 52-acre Disaster City
®, TEEX’s urban search and rescue training prepares rescue teams for the unthinkable. TEEX is also the sponsoring agency for Texas Task Force 1, a state and federal US&R team.

TEEX serves as a catalyst foreconomic development in the state of Texas. Businesses of all sizes benefit from TEEX’s focus on the industrial supply chain, emergency planning and manufacturing assistance.

TEEX trains law enforcement and security personnel. This division is home to the Central Texas Police Academy and the largest private-sector-taughtUnexploded Ordnance course. We blow the doors off the competition – literally! (See the video below)