An NRE worker in a lowered cherrypicker
Saltville, VA

Project Spotlight: Bradford Substation

New River Electrical’s diversified specialties are the difference maker when choosing electrical contractors for your large-scale electrical construction project. When we say we are New River, we mean we’ve got the backs of our crews, subcontractors, and the clients we serve. Our latest project at the Broadford Substation shows the magnitude of our client work and the strength of our company network, crews, and subcontractors.

For the last three years, our Substation crews – supported by our Overhead Division – have tackled the replacement and upgrade of a multi-site substation in Saltville, Virginia. This project accumulated work across three different yards (a 65, 100, and 138) and included skilled crews of 40 – 80 people (along with subcontractors). Our work included changing out two 65kv transformer banks, adding three 765kv breakers, installing a 500kv yard with a transformer bank and metering, as well as rebuilding the entire 138kv yard.

The end goal of this project: “Reinforcing transmission networks and upgrading the main backbone of the 765kv network in Southeast Virginia,” says Senior Project Manager Jonathan Ginter.

“The magnitude of this project shows how New River can complete extremely complex and large-scale projects both safely and efficiently with a high standard of quality.” 

Battling Complacency

Safety is built into the culture at NRE. When we step on the job site, it needs to be the safest place for our communities, neighbors, and the people working with us. The dedication to safety starts at the top and doesn’t waver, thanks to our rigorous training efforts.

“Safety on the job site starts with having our foremen focused on safety. They do daily job briefings and safety tasks, making sure that we’re not just filling out our paperwork to fill out paperwork but really understanding why we’re identifying hazards on the job site on a daily basis,” explains Ginter.

When asked how New River’s leadership passed safety knowledge, Ginter says that the crews “complete several safety stand-downs through the life cycle of the project, so taking several hours with the whole job site to review things that might be happening in the industry or happening within our company, other lessons learned, and sharing all of it so everyone is focused on what’s really important.”

We don’t settle for what’s worked safely in the past or assume this project can’t go wrong.  When the work is happening, the biggest factor to keeping our crews and communities safe is battling complacency on the job. When you do this work day in and day out, it can be easy to just go through the motions. “Making sure our guys are thinking with a more disciplined mindset really helps with that,” Ginter says.

A Reactive Job Site

“I would say the biggest obstacle that we had during this project was the geotechnical difficulties on site.”

When working across multiple job sites, managing subcontractors, and bringing in the right team to do the job, our crews have to be ready for anything.

“There were several issues with sinkholes and issues with karst areas. Our team had to be reactive, manage our subcontractors well, and be fluid while making sure things are taken care of properly and quickly for safety reasons,” explained Ginter.

To be fluid and reactive, New River Electrical’s leadership takes the time to develop our crews through training, putting mentor crews on-site, and identifying strengths to make the project work.

When we overcome these challenges, we “reinforce the completion of the project by making sure our crews understand the gravity of what they’re completing and showing appreciation for their work,” says Ginter.

More Than A Contractor

The Broadford Substation project is on pace to be completed by May 2022. Successfully completing a project of this magnitude is no easy feat and shows the power that NRE can offer our customers.

But besides completing a complex project on time, we’re even more proud of the working relationship between the contractor and the client. “I would say the working relationship that has developed and how well it’s gone has led to a really good culture,” says Ginter. A culture so strong that we’re excited about a continued working relationship with our client.

Our success, though, is not credited to one person but rather the dedication of our entire team. A special thanks to former (now retired) New River Project Manager Jay Shepherd for setting the standard for how a project should be carried out. We also want to recognize both Matt Trail and Dwayne DeHart, our superintendents who led the way each day on site.

Our work at Broadford is just another reason why we are the most powerful differentiator for your next electrical project. Give us a call today, and let’s get to work.