Nancy Dickman

Over the last few years the challenge of change has impacted power systems companies in many ways, but one company, Waukesha Electric Systems, has been particularly effective at mapping out and implementing its growth strategy.

Today, Waukesha Electric Systems (WES) stands out not only as the largest domestic manufacturer of medium-power and large-power transformers (top-rated to 800 MVA), but also as a leading supplier of total energy solutions.

Serving the public power, investor-owned utilities, merchant power providers (GenCo) and industrial/commercial firms, WES has placed a particular emphasis on product quality and reliability and launched a company-wide initiative to optimize the design and manufacture of transformers at each of its plants. WES also provides complete substations that offer innovative solutions in quick turnaround configurations and offers installation, maintenance, parts and training to ensure top performance and maximum value.

"We're proud of the reputation we've built over the years in transformers. But our story doesn't end there," says Nancy M. Dickman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Waukesha Electric Systems, Inc. "These days, our capabilities are unprecedented, allowing us to continue to grow to meet our customer's ever-changing power delivery needs."

The current deregulating energy marketplace has created a real need for experienced suppliers who can deliver total turnkey design, construction and maintenance solutions. "WES is meeting this demand," says Dickman, "through strategic alliances and acquisitions of reliable partners. One example of this is our recent acquisition of Power Systems Development, Inc. PSD is recognized as one of the premier substation design/build firms in the United States and is enhancing Waukesha's capabilities as a provider of complete energy systems solutions, including "Bridge to Grid" generation station packages."

Another way WES is growing to meet customer needs is with its new WES Link(tm) portal on the Internet. WES Link(TM) has two facets: WES View(TM), which offers customers the ability for real-time collaboration with Waukesha engineers on drawings, certified test reports, specifications and other customer-specific documentation; and WES Status(TM), which allows customers immediate access to information concerning the status of their orders at any Waukesha manufacturing location. "WES Link(TM) is designed to enhance our customers' experience," says Dickman. "It is a priority for WES to be a company that customers look forward to doing business with."

The Waukesha Electric Systems story began a little more than 30 years ago, when RTE Corporation (now Cooper Power Systems), a supplier of smaller distribution transformers based in Waukesha, WI, formed a joint venture with ASEA (later ABB) to supply power transformers. Dickman joined the firm in 1990 as General Accounting Supervisor, ascending to Controller, Division Controller and Chief Financial Officer/Vice President of what has grown to become a multi-business, $375 million company today.

In October 1999, she was named General Manager and Vice President of the Waukesha, WI headquarters facility, where she helped spearhead the company's recent $22 million plant expansion. Today, the Waukesha operation encompasses nearly 400,000 square feet of manufacturing, engineering, corporate support and advanced R&D space. WES also has facilities in Milpitas, CA (large-power transformers), Goldsboro, NC (medium-power transformers), Canton, OH (PSD Division for substation design/build/EPC), and Dallas, TX (High Voltage Supply Division, a supplier of re-engineered load tap changers, circuit breaker components, service and training).

WES research and development, based at its Waukesha facility, includes work with the Department of Energy and a consortium of private companies to develop an advanced HTS (high-temperature superconductivity) transformer. Phase I of a comprehensive three-phase program has been completed with the construction of a 1 MVA, single-phase design validation prototype. Phase II, scheduled for completion in 2002, includes further design refinements and the construction and testing of a 5 MVA, three-phase unit that will provide power to the newly expanded WES plant in Waukesha, WI. Phase III will lead to the manufacture and commercialization of a 30 MVA transformer for utility applications. The HTS superconductivity transformer will allow utilities and industry to provide more reliable power to homes and businesses, as demand for electricity increases and the nation's existing systems continue to age.

In October 2001, Dickman was promoted to President & CEO of Waukesha Electric Systems - a role she is uniquely qualified to fill after having demonstrated her solid management skills under three different parent companies for WES - MagneTek, General Signal Corporation, and SPX Corporation (the current parent company).

What does the future hold for WES and its customers? "Each of our 1,400 employees are committed to growth - not just for growth's sake, but to provide our customers with the energy solutions they need," says Dickman. "Through quality products, dedicated service, engineering design and project management know-how, Waukesha Electric Systems continues to explore and develop new and better ways to serve our customers."