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It isn’t unusual when working in places such as Conakry, Guinea, or Freetown, Sierra Leone, to have 200 men at a job site waiting and waving, basically just doing anything that they can to get your attention, in hopes, that you’ll provide them with work.
Will Gruver, CEO of an American energy company in Celina, Texas, that specializes in diesel, natural gas, HFO and renewable power station engineering, says that these men will arrive at a job site early in the morning and stay late into the evening.
“They’re looking at all these other men making a living and thinking about how hungry they and their kids are,” Gruver says. “They aren’t told that we might be hiring anybody, but they’re just waiting, hoping and thinking that there just might be a chance to get hired.” And as random as they come, there are some days when these men walk away with work. “Something happens and we need 20 guys and those guys get a job and they stay on.”
Finding employees who are healthy enough to work and have the appropriate skill set is often a problem in impoverished nations. Some of these potential workers may look the part, but health examinations reveal that they aren’t well enough to safely work on the sites.
Gruver says oftentimes the life expectancy in these countries are 40 years or less. “So by the time a guy gets to have any expertise,” he says, “he’s middle-aged at best, and he’s kind of in his sunset years an may be suffering from the last stages of a debilitating disease. Unfortunately in Africa, that’s all too often the case.
But for those who are able to receive a clean bill of health, they often face another challenge — lack of adequate training. Many of the local nationals that show up looking for jobs do have resumes and have worked in the mechanical or electrical field but typically weren’t trained in that role.
“They might know how to use some of the tools successfully, but they wouldn’t know how to make a bead on a weld that a 6g welder would make,” Gruver says. “It’s not just picking up a tool and getting to work because you’ve worked on a car before.”
Since many of these countries have had little heavy construction done, Gruver’s company, which provides diesel generators and power station solutions, takes on the role of training the local nationals over time. “Over a four-year period of time, we’re basically promoting them through the system and giving them more and more opportunities to work in management roles as control room operators, electrical mechanical managers, superintendents and technicians.”
Employees normally move from technicians to managers to supervisors and finally to superintendents. They can be trained in specialty areas such as fire safety, high-voltage connections, boiler operators and 6g welders.
“We try to have a team with a broad range of skill-sets so no matter what happens at the project site,” Gruver continues, “we have one or two absolute experts in that field so we can make sure that we’re addressing those issues. These people are so sweet, and they really want to work. They have a lot of wisdom and a lot of life experience and when you combine that with the desire to succeed”- it’s a winning combination.
The company located in Celina Texas vision is to be the most trusted supplier of fuel-efficient HFO generators, diesel generators, solar energy and renewable energy power stations, services, and products in strategic growth countries. The diesel generator supplier and power station solutions provider mission is to deliver the most cost-effective and efficient power station engineering, procurement services, construction, operations and maintenance solutions in every continent including countries such as Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Poland, Lithuania, Mexico and Argentina.
USP&E’s mission is to deliver the most cost-effective and efficient power station engineering, procurement services, construction, operations and maintenance solutions to the world. For more information, go to http://www.uspowerco.com or call 888-515-USPE.