California firm puts technology to work for them in power line maintenance applications.
The numbers are pretty impressive: in the U.S. alone, it takes more than 200,000 miles of high voltage transmission lines (eight times the circumference of the Earth) and 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines (24 trips to the moon and back) to power our daily lives. The lines are seemingly everywhere, and maintaining that grid — which includes everything from stringing new line to repairing existing ones to periodic measurement of key components — can be a herculean task. The measurement and documentation components of that list are two of Surefire Consulting’s key specialties and, by embracing the use of robotic total stations, the company has streamlined that process, improved on-site safety and dramatically raised the accuracy of the product it presents its customers. Guaranteed: that is no line.
Based out of Temecula, Calif., Surefire Consulting, Inc., is the brainchild of Frank Flores who, along Chad Lueck, Randy Allred and Mark Ramos, was working as an inspector on a project called DPV2 when inspiration to strike out on his own hit him.
“The full name of that job was Devers/Palos Verdes Circuit 2 and it involved construction of more than 180 miles of new transmission line,” said Ramos, one of Surefire’s current principals. “Even though each of the four of us had different roles in that project, we all had a similar drive, shared the same vision for where we wanted our careers to go, etc. It didn’t happen immediately, but in 2006 when Frank called to say he was starting his own company, we committed without hesitation. It was obvious to us all that he understood the hoops we had to jump through working under these large contract managers and, just as importantly, knew what needed to be done better.”
To be clear, the functions each of the men performed differed, but included work measuring sag on the transmission lines themselves, effects upon the tower structures, placement of the foundations, etc. Collectively, however, it was all done in support of a contract manager — or managers — which, in turn, worked for the utility. “Frank saw the potential we all had to do the job better and acted on it,” said Ramos. “I, personally, could not pass up the chance to get in on the ground floor of something this exciting — obviously Chad and Randy felt the same way.”