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Wisconsin Rural Electric Cooperative Association / First yearbook, 1938

Murray, V. M.
Our engineering department,   pp. 25-30 PDF (1.7 MB)

Page 25

    As has been stated elsewhere, "STATEWIDE" was officially created
April 30, 1936, and the engineering department, as such, came into being
early in the following month. The personnel initially consisted of Mr.
E. B. Wayts, a former line construction contractor of many year's experi-
ence, Mr. E. L. Cartwright, formerly draftsman -and rodman for the Wis-
consin Power and Light Company; and the writer, an instructor of elec-
trical engineering at the University of Wisconsin. Immediately after the
formation of the department, there was added to the staff Mr. J. Morgan
Wilson (Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario) and Mr. H. M.
Durnin (Byllesby Engineering and Management Corporation, Chicago).
A temporary office was established in the unused legislative post office
the State Capitol, and, with some borrowed furniture of ancient vintage,
this embryonic engineering department sat down to its problem.
    The problem it faced was simply this: (1) Largely through the act.
ivities of the Rural Electrification Coordination office, projects totaling
S3,300,000.0 had been presented to the REA for allotments to be used
in the construction of cooperatively owned lines in Wisconsin. (2) The
cooperatives had banded together to form "STATEWIDE" and through
actually planned to do their own engineering. (3) No engineering, ex-
cept that of a survey nature, has been done to date. (4) The member
cooperatives wanted action and they wanted it fast.
    The one feature immediately apparent was that. although many dif-
ferent cooperative properties (or projects) were to be built, the type
of construction for all properties could be made sufficiently similar so
a large amount of the engineering work would be transferable from one
project to another. This applied not only to the plans and specifications
themselves but also to their preparation, the supervision of construction,
staking of lines, etc. In other words, it should be possible by proper
standardization to put this "cooperative engineering" on a wholesale
    During the next two months the newly formed engineering department
busied itself with the establishment of standards of construction and of
procedure. A detailed discussion of this more technical phase of the
work would probably be of little interest to the reader. However, a bare
citation of a few examples may be in order. For instance, it was decided
that an engineer from the STATEWIDE office should reside permanently on
each project from the start to the completion of construction. This en-
gineer would be known as the "Resident Engineer" and would supervise
construction, staking and represent STATEWIDE on the job. As another
example, it was decided that the standard unit for purposes of bidding,
staking, and construction, should be the Township, and furthermore,
that all township maps should be drawn to the scale of four inches to the
mile. Having decided on this, blank township forms were printed on
tracing paper and the draftsmen were, therefore. required only to insert
the roads, customers. and lines on these printed forms in order to prepare
the necessary maps. (It is interesting to note that this one item alone
resulted in a saving of 1150 percent of the combined labor and material
cost of drawing the maps for the plans and specifications.)  As still an-
ther example, the necessary graphs and tables were prepared which would
permit at a glance the determination of proper wire size, pole size and
spacing, anchor and guy strengths, conductor sags, etc.
    Finally, early in July, it was decided that this general planning, while
not yet complete, was sufficiently far advanced to risk calling for bids

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