Reader Profile: Glen Bertini

Glen Bertini says he identifies with the adage: “An expert is somebody who knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing. That’s me.” Bertini is CEO and chairman of Novinium, a Kent, WA, cable rejuvenation company. In essence, Bertini devotes his work to keeping the nation’s lights on, and he has been recognized with numerous awards for his achievement in the field.

Pad-mount electrical transformer boxes containing and connected by medium-voltage underground residential distribution (URD) cables are generally “out of sight, out of mind” by energy consumers unaware of their condition. But utility providers are keenly aware of the aging cable and the deteriorating conditions that lead to reliability issues. The URD cable generally has a 40-year lifespan. Most are commonly degraded when moisture diffuses into the cable’s dielectric layer, gradually diminishing its insulative properties.

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The traditional approach replaced impacted cable with new cable. Bertini points out that the resulting outages and replacement work required to restore power create unpredictable and expensive logistical problems.

An alternative: cable rejuvenation, which is the injection of silane-based fluid into the strands of aging medium-voltage power cables by accessing cables through transformers or other termination points in a process lasting a day. Technicians typically open two adjacent transformers and de-energize cables without impacting power to customers. Specialty fittings are attached to each end of the cable allowing for fluid injection, which migrates into the conductor shield and insulation. The chemistry and the physics of the insulation are modified. The cable is returned to full dielectric strength in as few as seven days. Benefits include a 40% savings over abandon-and-replace programs, a CO2 reduction, savings in materials and fuel, fewer outages, and a failure rate of less than 1%.

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What He Does Day to Day
“I have the pleasure of working with many people, but only get to interact regularly with a subset of our more than 300 employees, seeking to help the individuals and the organization adapt and grow,” says Bertini. He regards himself as the “communicator-in-chief,” writing a great deal in an effort to “touch the entirety of the Novinium team,” leveraging the technical expertise he’s developed in more than three decades within the fields of circuit rehabilitation, diagnostic testing, neutral corrosion, and other “more esoteric subjects.” As CEO, he shares insights with Novinium engineers and they set out to bring a solution to fruition. Bertini says his greatest “value adds” to Novinium are the opportunities to interface directly with current and prospective customers. “I’m a really good listener and I am often able to bring my narrow expertise to solve intractable problems,” he says. During airplane trips, he taps into his engineering roots to dream up ways to solve a customer problem.

What Led Him to This Line of Work
Since second grade, Bertini knew he was going to be a scientist or engineer. Bertini earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Michigan Technological University. “My evolution from engineer to entrepreneur was driven by necessity,” he says. “Bureaucracies did not move fast enough to fuel my need for rapid development. The thrill of the process of conception through commercialization is intoxicating.”

What He Likes Best About His Work
Watching others on his team “grow and prosper” brings Bertini his greatest satisfaction. “We have many outstanding masters at Novinium,” he says. “I just have to stay out of their way. But every once in a while I pull a string that nudges them to a small win. I secretly notch my belt and take great satisfaction that I could help.”

His Greatest Challenge
Bertini says his greatest challenge is to become as great as his late father, who fought in World War II and was wounded twice. “As I grew up, there was no event, no setback, no tragedy that perturbed him,” he says. “I want to be just like that when I grow up.” BE_bug_web


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