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Origins of the EE FEP by Phil May

Posted by dlucier at Sunday, Feb-26-2006 06:36 PM
The FEP-EE started in 1966 headed up by **Bob Hody** who came from Pittsburgh. It began on the 5th floor in building 28 as did the mechanical program headed by Joe Markey. Bob did a great job getting the program off the ground. The course material included:

* Digital Systems
* Drive Systems (Speed Variator and Directomatic ll)
*Switchgear
*AC machines
*Transformers

I’m sure there was other material, which I can’t remember. Dave Plumer was one of the prime in-house instructors. Most of the instructors were borrowed from the field and product departments. Some of the product department training was by way of field trips from Schenectady to:
- Erie
- Philadelphia
- Pittsfield
- Roanoke

Other training was through field assignments and product department (PD) assignments. This varied by individual, field needs, and PD assignments available. In 1969, Hody transferred to Salem and took over as product service manager and **Phil May** came from the Baton Rouge office to take over as FEP- EE manager. Virginia Guido, Irene Hayes and Linda Albright were secretaries at the time to handle mechanical and elecrical programs.

Lab work was very limited at this time. The course material was being controlled by others, so we decided we needed in-house course preparation and presentation. We began hiring in house instructors. Over the years there were many instructors including: Rick Chase, Larry Richter, Jim Lyons, Tom Maclaughlin, Pete Gamwell, John Marshall, Wally Dunn, Chris Weathers, Tim Kondek and Steve Herholtz (please forgive me I know I forgotten some, I’m sorry brain decay).

The EE-FEP program member numbers of electrical and mechanical engineers grown so that Phil May and **Joe Markey** needed help controlling their movement. That’s when we hired Ann Fossella to help out. We also brought in Lori from finance to help audit expenses. We acquired lab equipment from wherever we could beg, borrow or steal. A customer had an abandoned mill around Lake Champlain and donated some of the old equipment. Joe got the steam turbine and I got the switchgear. We used program engineers to dismantle the plant and put in storage along with other equipment we “acquired”. Motors were purchased for scrap prices and some donated by Erie. Walt Adams, manager of product service in Philadelphia, was a big help in obtaining equipment. We absconded with a motor generator set from the 6th floor of Building 28. It was used in testing turret and guns for planes built for WW2.

We designed and built much of our own training aids as well as clean, refurbished and redesigned much of the equipment to meet our needs. I’ll take the 5th on the rest.

The idea for a new facility (which came to be know as the **Field Engineering Development Center**), concept came up in 1972. With all the planning, architectural design, construction, etc we moved in to bare walls in 1973. The only thing installed in the labs during construction was cable trays overhead. All the lab equipment including conduit, wiring, etc. was installed by instructors and program engineers.

We had a problem with construction electricians still working on site. Electricians love GE Diaries. I distributed a few and convinced them that these were training exercises. I also asked them to keep an eye on the guys so they didn’t get hurt. They bought it and reported only a couple of things to warn the men about. No one got hurt and no strike!

Joe Markey and Phil May assumed the titles of Manager Internal Technical Training (MN – EE) respectively. The new **FEDC** was dedicated in 1974. The program was changed to include an orientation. We combined the two programs together for this period. This consisted of physicals exams, GE history, signing up for employee benefits, legal, and other non-technical material.

The EE program was scheduled for 9 weeks at the **Center** and 9 weeks field assignments at the end of 9 weeks the two groups were alternated. The FEPs were divided into groups of 24, since that was optimum class size. There were times when there were so many recruited we ran two groups simultaneously effectively doubling the workload on the instructors. Talk about dedication! Daily classes were ½ lecture and ½ lab where possible.

There are many great memories of those days and I would like to thank everyone who worked with me including the ones I forgot to mention. I had the best staff anyone would love to have. Their dedication was unbelievable. Much of the work in putting together the program by the instructors was done after hours on their own time. They also made themselves available after hours to anyone who needed help or wanted to spend more time in the lab.

Phil May transferred to the Dallas office as area manager at the end of 1978. **Rick Chase** was appointed to the title of Manager Internal Technical Training EE. There was to be an addition added to the building (circa 1980) to include computer training.

Tim Kondeck and Dave Lucier

Posted by dlucier at Monday, Apr-17-2006 01:25 PM
Tim Kondeck became manager of the EE-FEP around when I became manager of the mechanical (steam and gas turbine) FEP.

Sometime around 1981-82, Tim and I were asked to go to GE corporated headquarters in Connecticut to a meeting where we were asked to explain what our programs were "all about." The FEP was sponsored by the I&SE Division, unlike such corporate program as: Edison Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering and Technical Marketing. Thus, it was not considered to be as important as the others in the General Electric, big scope of things. However, the FEP trained far more engineers as did the others.

Dave Lucier

Thanks, Mark

Posted by dlucier at Wednesday, May-10-2006 04:32 AM
Mark Urban reminded us of the FEP for Machine Tool Training. This probably came after Phil May left the staff for the Electrical and Electronic program, so it was not noted in the piece above.

Sorry,
Dave Lucier
 
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