Guy Morgan, Vice President of Operations, is retiring after a lifetime with Yukon Energy Corporation.
His qualifications did not come the academic school way but the Old School way — literally from the ground up. They had a humble origin with Yukon Electrical Company in 1984.
“I was an 18-year-old student looking for a summer job. When they first saw me, the foreman said ‘Oh, a big one, come with me, genius.’ He put a shovel in my hand and threw me into the back of a truck.”
He stayed on for a couple of years, working on a line crew. He left to attend college in Victoria to begin an electrical apprenticeship program. Those studies were interrupted by a job with Yukon Energy Corporation.
“That summer, I was cutting lawns, mopping floors and pulling trash out of the trash racks. By fall, I was working as a diesel operator. I put the electrician plans on hold again when I moved into the Control Centre. A few years later, I was a low-level supervisor.”
Along the way, Guy received a well-rounded education on how Yukon Energy generates and distributes electricity. “I learned that power doesn’t just come out of a hole in the wall without a lot of infrastructure and a whole group of really dedicated people working as a team to put it there.”
Guy’s career was on a steady upward trajectory, as he progressed to overall supervisor for the Control Centre, Manager of the Mechanical group, to co-Director, to Director and finally VP.
“And that’s how I spent 35 years.”
He’s seen a lot of changes in that time, including the integration of the Mayo and Whitehorse grids and the focus on reducing diesel generation and prioritizing renewable energy.
Some of the biggest operational changes came from technology, equipment, and automation. “I’ve toured other control centres and can say that we are equal to or a bit more advanced than most. One of the reasons for that is we’re a huge geographic area with only 100 or so employees. We automate as much as possible, so we don’t have to physically send people all over to check or adjust things.”
One of his proudest achievements was the response to the fire in 1997 that took out the Control Centre.
“The building was destroyed, but we moved the control Centre into a truck, then into a bathroom then a trailer. We survived without a single outage. That’s down to our quick-thinking team who managed everything manually when the computer went down. We do good damage control here and have good processes and systems in place.”
It’s that team and the teamwork itself that he’s most sorry to leave.
“Not gonna lie, I’ll miss the people — I can’t say enough about the quality of the staff here. I don’t buy into that whole younger generation negativity either. We’ve got a lot of younger staff and I see a group of very curious, skilled, and dedicated people. We’re much like a family here and we want to see our people grow, progress, take responsibility. It doesn’t take much to say ‘you did good’ and pass on new opportunities to them.”
That pretty much encapsulates the advice he’d give to anyone following in his footsteps: “Delegate. Give people the ability to make decisions and let them grow. Work yourself out of a job.”
Reflecting on what he might have done differently, he says he “probably would’ve got that trades ticket, just to say I did it. But seriously, it all kind of worked out in the end for me. No regrets, good friends. Now I need to get out of the way for new guys.”
What about his plans for retirement?
“I’m going to Aruba for a month with my wife, and we’ll figure it out from there. Maybe they’ve got a small, isolated grid that needs help…”
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