Phil Legroulx is facility manager for Grand Renewable Wind, an hour south of Toronto in Haldimand County, Ontario. Phil is responsible for the 149 megawatt facility along with its 67 Siemens 2.3 turbines and supporting staff. He oversees day-to-day operations, manages the turbine technicians, and communicates with landowners. It’s a wide-ranging, all-encompassing job, and Phil is never bored. In fact, things get downright batty at Grand. Among his other duties is ensuring compliance with the strict wildlife laws in the area meant to mitigate harm to the feeding Eastern Red Bats. “It’s part of making sure we have as little impact as possible,” Phil said. “So from dusk to dawn the facility shuts down so we don’t affect the bat population.” That sense of environmental stewardship, in addition to the growth of renewables, is part of what attracted Phil to Pattern. Phil studied robotics and automation in college and first entered the field as a technician for Siemens. He had an eagerness to, as he puts it, “figure things out.” He describes himself as the perfect example of working one’s way up from within the ranks, having commissioned Grand as a technician, and now facility manager for the same site.
Pattern continues to impress Phil. He remembered what he called one of the more unique replacements a technician can participate in. A turbine’s yaw ring had failed, and in the process, had stripped teeth off one of the gears. To replace the part required nearly dismantling the entire turbine, not to mention truckloads of equipment and a perplexed yet intrigued team of engineers. “It was an aggressive repair, and it was cool to be a part of,” he said. It was a situation the team hadn’t encountered, but the turbine was up and running within a week: yet another testament to the culture of ingenuity and teamwork at Pattern. That culture of teamwork permeates everything at the company. Phil appreciates Pattern’s attitude toward not only the environment, but also the surrounding community. In fact, Phil is involved in deciding how Pattern gives, which has included providing funding and equipment to local schools and programs. “It’s a great feeling, getting to make a difference in the community,” he said. “Pattern’s not only willing to help. They’re eager to help.” For those interested in renewables (and wind in particular), Phil says you should like puzzles and enjoy a healthy amount of curiosity. “If you have a drive to learn new things, a drive to pick up different pieces of information, that’s the best thing about this job. There’s always something new and interesting to learn.”