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Jim Curran

Jim Curran of the Electrical Connection has been named to the board of the EDC Business & Community Partners in St. Charles County

in Associations/News

The EDC Business & Community Partners in St. Charles County has named Jim Curran to its board of directors.  Curran is executive vice president of the Electrical Connection, and has more than 30 years of experience in economic development.  The Electrical Connection is a labor-management partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

The IBEW/NECA partnership has been a key sponsor of the EDC’s economic and community strategy initiatives including a partnership for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) honoring students in local high schools.  In addition, Curran orchestrates the Electrical Connection’s STEM education partnerships with the FIRST Robotics, the Saint Louis Science CenterMathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club and more.

Curran develops business opportunities for IBEW/NECA statewide by working with organizations advancing Missouri’s economic development, energy and technology needs.  He is board secretary for the Hawthorn Foundation and also serves its executive committee.  Curran is also vice chair and executive committee member for the Missouri Energy Initiative, which sets energy policy for the state.  In addition, Curran’s board service includes the Missouri Partnership, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) – Gateway Chapter, the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Chapter (USGBC)Univerdant Sustainability Network, LLC, the Construction Forum Education Foundation STEM Committee, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber Energy and Environmental Committee.

Led by its 10-person board, the EDC fosters growth of business in St. Charles County.  For more information, visit www.edcscc.

Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services in Missouri and nationwide. More is online at www.electricalconnection.org.

 

Complying with FAA Rules for Commercial Drones Certification

in Associations/News

By Jim Curran, Executive Vice President, Electrical Connection

Drones - Phantom 3When you consider the technology that goes into commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones, you can understand why the Electrical Connection partnership is taking a leading role in training for UAV certification.  UAVs are essentially flying robots that integrate wireless communications and controls. Training in advanced manufacturing that relies on robotics, process controls and wireless communications has long been a staple of the Electrical Industry Training Center.

The training center is operated by the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1.  UAV onboard cameras and other data-gathering and inspection sensors provide IBEW/NECA members a powerful tool that is safe and effective.  UAV technologies can be used for thermal imaging to detect electrical infrastructure hot spots in buildings, three-dimensional mapping of topography for precision planning of electrical installations and construction project monitoring of progress and site assets.  The construction industry is predicted to lead the commercial UAV market with the 10 largest construction firms worldwide already deploying or experimenting with UAVs.

With that in mind, the Electrical Connection hosted an Oct. 28, 2016 informational session on UAV certification at the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center in St. Louis.  Working with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) – Gateway Chapter and UAViation, IBEW/NECA is developing the region’s first-ever curriculum for commercial UAV certification.   This summer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a certification process covering the operation of commercial drones which took effect on Aug. 29, 2016.  The number of commercial UAVs will grow from 600,000 units in 2016 to 2.7 million by 2020.  The new FAA rules are designed to minimize risks to other aircraft, people and property on the ground.  Annual worldwide UAV production is predicted to rise from $4 billion to more than $14 billion by 2026.

Certification at the training center will be open to all industries using commercial UAVs.  This includes first responders, real estate firms, agriculture, media and film makers, civil engineering civic entities and others.  For example, agriculture and land management enterprises might use UAVs equipped with special sensors to analyze crop health or water quality.  First responders may use UAV’s equipped with thermal sensors to detect human heat signatures in search and rescue operations.

The new FAA small UAV regulations are outlined in a 624-page rule book and include a number of limitations for commercial UAV use.  For example, the maximum weight limit for a commercial drone is 55 pounds and it’s limited to altitudes of 400 feet with a few exceptions.  Drones may also not be flown out of visual contact.

IBEW/NECA electrical and communication training spans more than 70 years and has been continuously adapted to new technologies like UAVs.  Training was refined at the dawn of the Information Age and for data storage, building automation, wireless integrated communications, electric vehicles and robotics.  It is the prime reason why the Electrical Connection partners with visionary organizations like AUVSI-Gateway Chapter so our workforce is always prepared to safely and proficiently install the technologies we will rely on in the future.  Learn more at www.electricalconnection.org.

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