Meet the instructors leading technical training for wind technicians at STL USA - George Silliman.
STL USA is delighted to be working with George Silliman who is leading technical training for wind technicians. George has been working with STL USA for nearly two years and has worked with the company to develop its wind technician technical training program. Starting with GWO Basic Technical Training STL USA is now adding more platform and job-related training alongside the more safety focussed GWO courses.
George is well known in the industry having spent 10 years with GE Renewables as the Lead Wind Training Instructor and having a host of in-field experience.
We had a chance to sit down with George and ask him a few questions.
How did you get into wind?
In 2006, the Wind division at GE began a massive hiring campaign and I was intrigued by the opportunities and had many of the technical skills they were looking for at the time. I posted out of generator manufacturing with the permission of my manager and was hired as a Product Service Engineer. I performed a dual role for the first 10 months, helping technicians troubleshoot wind turbines and created a process that helped increase turbine availability from 93% to 98% across our growing fleet. Coming from a blue-collar background, any time I couldn’t help return a unit to service remotely, I would get on a plane or drive to the site and work side by side with the Techs to return the unit to operation. That experience was invaluable to gain the deepest technical knowledge possible and learn how the units worked, but to also gain an appreciation for what the Techs go through on a daily to keep the units running. In 2010, I made the transition to Lead Training Instructor and have loved every moment of my job since.
How long were you in the field?
The first 3 years of my career was spent in and out of the field troubleshooting, servicing, designing aftermarket products and services. After I became an instructor in 2010, I spent nearly every day in a wind turbine at the learning center until mid-2020 making sure they were safe, available, fault free, and ready for the next Instructor to train their students.
What attracted you to teaching technicians?
There is a sense of pride and satisfaction when you can provide a classroom of Technicians with the best information and skills, they need to perform their job safely, effectively, and efficiently. It’s an opportunity to share the knowledge and experience I have with my students, but it’s also a way for me to learn something from them to improve as an Instructor. Teaching has been and always will be a two-way street in my classroom. It’s a win-win.
What were some of the highlights?
Highlights of my teaching career include:
1. Training over 3600+ students in my career with zero injuries and 100% positive feedback
2. Helping a female student of a large organization, climb the ranks within her company from Technician to Site Manager with the best running site in her region to becoming a highly respected regional manager in a male-dominated field.
3. The handshakes, mutual respect, and appreciation from the thousands of students, regardless of their experience in Wind who have approached me after class to say thank you for the valuable information you provided, your teaching style, your patience, and your professionalism.
4. Working with STLUSA to help set up their world-class training facility in Abilene TX in late 2021 with the vision to expand their training capabilities beyond GWO and continue to provide exceptional technical training with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable Instructors in the Wind Industry for the benefit of those working in it.
Why is quality training so important?
Quality technical training leads to a safer working environment, less risk to those performing the work, greater technical knowledge, greater operating efficiency, higher productivity, more asset uptime, less wasteful spending, healthier bottom line, employee retention, and the necessary skills for employees to do their jobs at a higher level.
Talk to Us about Technical Training
Register your interest and talk to a member of the STL USA team about building a training package that’s right for you.