7 February, 2002
David Ensworth is the Power Plant Mechanic. He maintains the reverse osmosis water system and the generator system. The station has two generators in the GWR building and an emergency generator in the BioLab building. They are powered by diesel fuel. Each of the main generators has the capacity of 250 kilowatt hours. One is always on standby. The emergency generator in BioLab has the capacity of 100 kilowatt hours. The system is "on-demand production", which means that electricity is generated as it is required. We have an average use of 150 kilowatt hours a day at the present time.
There is an autodialer alarm system at Palmer Station. If there is a problem with the generators, this is noted on the gauges. The emergency phone alarm is connected to the gauges, and the phone automatically dials David's office number and his dorm room. So, he is really on call all the time. David likes working here. He says it is a steady workload and he enjoys it.
David has a message for students: "Tell them they'd better learn the computer. My biggest challenge is the computer." In the past, David knew he should have learned how to use the computer, but in his previous work he hadn't needed it. Now, he does. He uses a spreadsheet to make weekly reports about the generators and the water system. He sends and receives email. He sends us notices about various things.
David said that when he came to this job, all he knew about computers was how to turn them on. So, he has learned on the job. He has used keyboarding software to learn how to type. He has learned to write and send all those reports. Even though he has been very successful at learning quickly, he still recommends that people get all the computer skills they can get before they go out on the job.
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