Engineer David Childress has been responsible for selling all kinds of electric system components, from circuit breakers to meter sockets, from linemen’s wrenches to packaged substations. His 22 years of experience in the electric power industry have given him the expertise to conduct a variety of courses for customers, consultants, EPC firms and industrials on an “as-requested” basis.

Childress is marketing manager of Southern States, LLC; a large air-disconnect switch supplier and a rapidly growing supplier of SF6 gas switching and protection products. Childress’ available courses include, but are not limited to, Selection and Application of Group Operated Disconnect Switches; Disconnect Switch Mounted Interrupting Devices—How To Choose What To Use When And Where; Capacitor Bank Switching And The Devices Available To Perform This Function; and Power Transformer Protection And The Devices Available To Perform This Function.

Childress recently presented a seminar on power transformer protection and capacitor bank switching for some Canadian utilities, consultants, EPC firms, and industrials. He also taught two classes at the T&D World University last fall.

His position at Southern States provides him with the ability to be a product application expert on a wide array of products. “It also gives me widespread exposure to a variety of utilities, consultants, industrials, and other customer types and the ability to bring my experience to bear for their benefit,” Childress said.

Now is one of the best times for product application training in the electric industry, since so many experienced individuals are retiring. “The experience level in our industry is dropping precipitously,” he said. “There are many opportunities for newcomers to make application mistakes and product selection mistakes if they are not provided the proper guidance.”

Capacitor switching, in particular, is important to power quality. “Today’s high tech world of computers, CNC machines, variable speed drives, and the like make power quality of more paramount importance than ever before. Knowing what device best fits this application need is critically important,” Childress said.

Regardless of skill level, Childress’ courses provide valuable insight into the correct selection and proper application of a variety of electric power system products, helping the equipment users avoid costly mistakes and “the collateral consequences that go with them.”

Childress communicates to students that they can become recognized industry experts in their chosen fields if they work hard enough and seek knowledge at every opportunity. Childress is known to students and coworkers for his sayings; one such “Davidism” is that “Personal and professional success are attainable goals, but the goalie has stopped many shots before. It takes perseverance and dedication to light the red lamp.”

These sayings reflect his two most overriding goals: to take care of and satisfy the customer, and to do whatever is necessary and within his skill set to make his company as successful as it can be.

Childress originally found his true calling as a co-op for Siemens Energy and Automation while in college at Mississippi State University. One of his co-op positions was in application engineering in the Circuit Breaker Sales & Marketing Department where he was responsible for quoting and securing orders for various types, ratings, and sizes of dead-tank circuit breakers (bulk oil type, SF6 gas type, and vacuum type). When he graduated with a B.S. in engineering, he joined Siemens Disconnect Switch and Circuit Switcher Sales & Marketing Department as an application engineer. “I was able to apply my technical, commercial, and legal skills in the review of requests for quotes, specifications, and terms & conditions,” Childress said. “This position also allowed me to develop and showcase my presentation, promotion, and persuasive speaking skills.”

When Childress is not working, he spends his time being a panelologist (A.K.A. comic book collector). “2009 marks my 33rd year in the hobby and I have a collection that exceeds 100,000 issues. I am always actively buying, selling, and trading with other collectors all over the country. It serves as an escape from my work, but it also calls upon my discipline, work ethic, and organizational skills that I exhibit on a daily basis in my job.”