Campbell River to get a charge out of electrician workshop

The workshop will also include two hands-on training days at the Campbell River Airport

Nearly one hundred employees from airports across Canada will be descending on Campbell River for training next week.

For the first time in 18 years, the Canadian Airports Electrical Association is straying from hosting its annual Canadian Airports Electrical Workshop (CANEW) at one of the country’s major international airports.

“Campbell River’s the smallest city to host it and Campbell River Airport is definitely the smallest airport to ever host it,” said Murray Ames, an airport electrician at the Campbell River Airport.

Ames is also the treasurer of the Canadian Airports Electrical Association and he has been trying to convince the other directors since 2006 that Campbell River could pull off playing host.

With the unprecedented help of the local business community to host the workshop, as well as a $5,000 donation from the city and the support of the airport and Campbell River Airport Authority, the association was convinced.

It will be sending nearly 100 delegates from airports across Canada to Painter’s Lodge for the training workshop which runs from Sept. 22-27 as well as a trade show at the Community Centre next Wednesday.

A spousal program will see 26 significant others (the largest ever turnout) touring around Campbell River.

Ames said the workshop will also include two hands-on training days at the Campbell River Airport.

The event kicks off with a fishing derby on Sunday and winds up with the unveiling of the airport’s brand-new airfield lighting training centre.

“We basically built a miniature airport that’s fully functioning for airfield lighting training,” Ames said. “The training centre is the only one of its kind in Canada and our hope is in the future, we’ll put airfield lighting training on and have people from airports across Canada come.”

But in the meantime, Ames is focused on next week’s training session for airport electrical employees.

He said one of the major benefits of the workshop is in the contacts that are established.

He said because the job of an airport electrician is so specialized, it’s a huge benefit, especially for workers at the smaller airports, to have someone they can call up and ask for assistance.

The workshop also helps create contacts when dealing with emergency repairs.

Ames said that in smaller airports there isn’t enough space to store every part and having someone to call to ship the pieces from airport to airport is essential.

Lastly, the trade show connects airports with manufacturers, which, when ordering directly from the manufacturer cuts down on the costs of ordering from two or three suppliers, each with mark-ups.

“The savings from a single purchase has more than covered the cost of attendance at the workshop,” Ames said.

The Canadian Airports Electrical Association was formed as a non-profit by airport electrical staff across the country 18 years ago to fill a void when Transport Canada sold its airports.

Up until then, Transport Canada ran similar workshops tailored to airport electrical staff.