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Pattern - Faces of Wind Profiles - James Edwards

By Pattern - Faces of Wind Profiles
September 29th, 2020

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James Edwards is Lead Technician at South Kent Wind Farm in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, an hour east of Detroit. James joined Pattern in March of 2019, but was involved in the wind industry for six years prior. As Lead Technician, James oversees field operations, performs inspections and audits, and manages general day-to-day operations for one of Pattern’s largest facilities, which sits just above Lake Erie. The region’s climate is intense, so repairs and maintenance have to be planned around weather whenever possible. “There’s wind, snow, ice. I’ve seen a turbine get hit directly by a tornado,” James said. Lightning can also be an issue, but appropriate safeguards are in place to protect the technicians. “If we see a flash of lightning without warning, we stop what we’re doing and get to a safe spot.” The automotive industry is a big presence in the area. In fact, they’re so close to Detroit that on a clear day the city is visible from atop the turbines. James was a tool and die maker by trade and worked in the industry. “The bottom fell out of auto,” he said. “I started to see wind farms going up right here in my backyard.” James saw wind as a long-term career reality. “It’s renewable, and it’s going to be here a long time.” 

 

When James considered applying, he took into consideration Pattern’s contributions to the community. The South Kent Wind Community Fund, for example, was established to assist communities in Chatham-Kent. The fund supports community, environmental, health and wellness, and youth and education endeavors. “It makes me proud to work somewhere that contributes like that,” he said. And he experienced that generosity firsthand when his family recently welcomed a child. James was given three months of paid bonding leave. “I couldn’t believe how generous they were to me.” James describes Pattern as highly forward thinking, particularly when it comes to its environmental efforts. “I’m excited that someday I can say to my kids I worked on something that helped preserve the planet,” he said. For those interested in joining the renewables industry, James recommends technical training and education. “It’s a young industry, and everyone is fighting for the same jobs. That’s why getting an education is an ace in your pocket.”