When Wyatt Jeffries started at IYRS in the fall of 2018, he had no idea that 6 months later he would be on a flight to the U.K. to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Wyatt and his fellow IYRS classmate, Kyle Orvis, were both hired by GEV Wind Power upon completion of their Composites Technology program. GEV is a U.K. based wind power company who is expanding their talent pool in the United States, and specifically to Rhode Island where they will be opening new offices in Quonset. Wyatt and Kyle were the first of their American blade repair employees. GEV hopes to hire 100+ more Rhode Island Composite Technicians within the next year.
GEV sent Wyatt to England for training. Because of the hazardous conditions and complex work environment, he was required to obtain several certifications including Industrial Rope Access Trade Association Level 1, Basic Rope Access Qualification, and many Global Wind Organization Certifications. With these certifications, Wyatt is trained to deal with workplace hazards like firefighting, working at heights, first aid, lifting and handling, and his personal favorite - sea survival.
Because of his IYRS education, Wyatt was given an exemption from the "blade ticket' requirement which signifies comprehensive knowledge of wind turbine blades and how to repair them. GEV determined that the IYRS Composites Technology program, including the externship, had provided this advanced training in its curriculum.
Today Wyatt is working at Wildcat in Kokomo, Indiana - a 187MW farm. He works a rotation of 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off and has conducted repairs of all types on the 48.7 meter (160 ft.!) blades. He can often be seen suspended from ropes or inside the blades themselves working on all types of damage, including repair of blade tips struck by lightning.
The next time you are passing by a wind turbine, look up to the sky and you might see Wyatt!
Wyatt says, "It has been a bittersweet adventure, challenging me mentally and physically to compete in an industry with seasoned professionals that maintain the utmost standards of craftsmanship and dedication. There have been periods where we don't have days off for more than 3 weeks and work in 90+ degrees. Despite the rough conditions and the standards that we work to, I am inspired to do my best and grow my portfolio of repairs completed. I owe a lot to IYRS and my teachers for providing me with the opportunity and resources to get this far, and my family for believing in my less than normal career plan..."