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Posted on 01. Oct, 2013 by in Academic Departments, Annual Report, Engineering Professional Development, Issues, Research

EPD class in Dominica

The EPD class in Dominica.

Known as the nature isle of the Caribbean, Dominica features waterfalls, mountainous rainforests and an abundance of rare plant, animal and bird species, many of which are protected in an extensive natural park system. Because of its location in the eastern Caribbean, this island nation is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes.

This combination of weather, nature and terrain have presented engineers in Dominica unique challenges in their quest to design a robust overhead system for distributing electricity from three generation plants across the island. So when the chief electrical engineer in Dominica heard about Engineering Professional Development Assistant Faculty Associate Mitch Bradt’s course, Designing Electrical Overhead Distribution Lines, he knew it would fit his training needs.

In summer 2013, Director of Corporate Education Carl Vieth and instructor John Miner traveled to the island and delivered Bradt’s customized course to attendees not only from Dominica, but also St. Kitts, Barbados and the Bahamas.

It’s one of many examples of the department’s reach beyond university, state and even national borders, says Vieth. “We truly are a global player in engineering continuing education,” he says. “The UW brand is internationally recognized, we have a strong international alumni base, and lots of those people become repeat customers and our advocates in the engineering communities in which they work.”

In fact, in 2012, EPD courses drew participants from 82 countries, while program directors offered training at more than a dozen locations outside the United States. Professor Philip O’Leary now is exploring opportunities for delivering continuing engineering education in China.

The department’s international roles also include significant research and technical contributions. Faculty Associate Thomas Smith, for example, is a leader on a multinational team developing ISO 55000, an international standard for asset management. At the invitation of the National Technical University of Ukraine Kiev Polytechnic Institute, Program Director Ned Paschke spent several weeks in the Ukraine and delivered a series of workshops and seminars about engineering and managing water and wastewater systems and facilities. And Professor Emeritus Willis Long participated in an international workshop in China that explored synchronized phasor measurements, an emerging technology that could mitigate network disturbances in China’s expanding electric power network. “We have a unique mix of products, services and capabilities that is quite rare,” says Vieth. “As a multidisciplinary department, we’re able to bridge many engineering disciplines to meet the unique needs of international customers.”

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