Military News

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

MHAFB: Helping Power Idaho

by Airman Connor J. Marth
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


3/17/2015 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Key leaders from Idaho Power visited Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, March 10, to better understand Air Force processes and safety precautions.

The group toured the base's structural maintenance, metal, fabrication, and corrosion technology shops.

"We share many of the same departments and jobs as the Air Force just without the aircraft and weaponry," said Eric Wrazin, Idaho Power area material lead. "When it comes to sanding and treating metal, we can learn a lot from each other."

So why is a power company visiting a military base?

By refining their procedures, Idaho Power will be able to more efficiently reuse their resources and remain the leader of energy production for Idaho.

"A big reason we are one of the cheapest utilities, as far as power rates are concerned, is because we do all of our own maintenance," Wrazin said. "We are one of the few utilities that actually take our transformers and completely refurbish them before sending them back out."

Although Idaho Power does a lot of their own work, MHAFB is always willing to help community leaders improve their systems.

"The documentation, shift change procedures and tool organization that the structural maintenance and corrosion shops have is very foreign outside of the military, but it can actually be very helpful information for us," said Rich Mckinnies, Idaho Power fleet shops leader. "These improvements will ultimately help us save money for our customers and our company."

Wrazin, a retired U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt., wanted to share his experience of professionalism he remembers from his Air Force career with his employees at Idaho Power.

"Having a visual on everything is different than trying to explain it to them," he said. "I think it's important to expose our team to the military way, so they can experience how a very tight and regulated ship is run."

A common issue with large corporations is finding an efficient way to adhere to national regulations, like those administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Association.

"Our standards are enforced and tracked by our own quality assurance team and commanders, so it's a very high profile job," said Senior Airman David Byrd,
Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft metals technology journeyman. "In order to keep our aircraft and team safe, we have to do things the right way every time -- that's what the higher ups at Idaho Power want their people to see."

MHAFB hopes to continue to foster relationships with the community to build a strong bond where the military and civilian worlds can help improve each other.

"What it comes down to is reliability, and it's the same thing with the Air Force," Wrazin said. "When you need us, we'll be ready."

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