Scott Timperley Calls it a Career
Scott Timperley, NIPCO Senior SCADA Technician, will retire as a franchise player for NIPCO at the conclusion of the year. Timperley's 35-year career in Electronics Engineering Technology has been dedicated entirely in service to NIPCO. "I graduated in May of 1987 from South Dakota State University in Brookings, and my first day with NIPCO was August 17th.
SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a means in which data from multiple sources in the same system is shared over a common network, allowing machines and infrastructure to "talk to one another" to share data about operations. For NIPCO, SCADA is essential for reporting the exchange of electrons across the generation and transmission's service footprint. According to Timperley, the SCADA processes remain about the same as when he first started. However, over the last three and a half decades, NIPCO's SCADA system has evolved into a sophisticated communications network between NIPCO's electric grid and its Control Center. "When I started, we spent a lot more time on the road, traveling from substation to substation to manually pull usage data from substation meters not connected to SCADA," he recalls. Timperley's supervisor, Denny Hill (ret. 2010), was instrumental in establishing a SCADA network that could do more than share operational data with NIPCO's Control Center; it could also meter its usage and utilize that data as a billing mechanism. Timperley states, "NIPCO was one of the first utilities in the country to tap SCADA's full potential to read our substation meters remotely."
Timperley is incredibly proud to have played a part in that process, having engineered and designed a modem that interconnected with the 900 megahertz radio and the SCADA network.
As more and more sub- and K-stations came online with SCADA, there was less time spent on the road reading meters, which made the billing process more efficient. Today, power is metered at almost one hundred stations across the NIPCO system, with more coming online as infrastructure is upgraded.
Timperley credits advances in digital technology as the most significant game-changer in his line of work. "In the early years, the RTUs (Remote Terminal Units) were complex, and many components on the circuit boards and modems malfunctioned. We would travel the system, pulling the bad parts and repairing them back at NIPCO because they were too expensive to replace." Today's technology is smarter, smaller, and less expensive." According to Timperley, "Costs to replace the equipment is down; reliability of the equipment is up. But there is still so much to learn and so much more we can do with that technology."
Scott's most memorable moment at NIPCO came in the early 90s when he, Hill, and Larry Bowers (ret. 2017) were present when Bowers logged in to the World Wide Web for the first time. "It didn't seem like a big deal then. There were no pictures or anything that resembles what you see online today. It was almost anti-climactic. It was all text-based," said Scott. "But looking back, that instance was pretty special."
After retirement, Scott plans to stay in the area, but he and his wife are contemplating an eventual move to eastern Iowa to be closer to their children. Scott and his wife Linda have four children, two boys who reside in Iowa City, a daughter in Boston, and one daughter who hopes to practice in eastern Iowa after medical school. Linda, who retired in 2020, and Scott look forward to riding their bicycles together, golfing on the course when it is cooler and less crowded, and traveling throughout the Dakotas to visit family and take advantage of camping opportunities. Scott also plans on spending more time on his Ham radio, playing guitar and honing his photography skills.
When asked what he will do on his first day of retirement, Scott says:
"I actually think I may get up at the regular time and pull into the parking lot so that I can turn around and go back home!" In all seriousness, Scott is grateful to have worked for NIPCO and has enjoyed his time contributing to the organization. He says, "Le Mars has been a great place to live, work, and raise our kids."