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Richard Ahlschlager

Richard Ahlschlager, Aurecon

Richard Ahlschlager is Aurecon’s Global Service Leader, Power Transmission & Distribution.

He is considered a multi-disciplinary technical generalist on many aspects of power transmission and distribution, and has the practical design and project management experience in both substation and line projects.

Richard has lectured for the University of KwaZulu Natal’s Engineering Master’s program in HV electrical on electrical magnetic field and regularly presents industry training on current and voltage protection.

Proudest moment in your career?

Obtaining my Master’s Degree in Engineering Project Management. This was unbelievably tough with only 10 percent of the class completing the course in two years.

Your most challenging project? And why?

Glendale – Ndwedwe 132kV network is a medium sized sub-transmission line which, from inception to completion, has exposed me to every conceivable challenge, from disgruntled commercial farmers, tribal trust land issues, mining rights, land environmental issues, terrain, complex transmission crossings and innovative switching solutions. These types of projects are blessings in disguise from the value and growth experience. It did however contribute significantly to hair loss!

An essential key to innovative thinking? And why?

Time. You need to make a conscious decision to allocate time to apply your mind to a solution even though it’s always easier to resort to the status quo, norms or standards as a solution.

Keys to a successful project delivery?

  • Firstly, have a fit for purpose and sound design.
  • Secondly have a project implementation plan compiled by the team. Without a project plan that has been communicated to stakeholders, you are guaranteed to have confusion and issues.
  • Thirdly, manage the plan but maintain flexibility.

Where do you see power transmission and distribution over the next five years?

Power transmission and distribution is being driven by electrical growth and demand in developing countries. Key aspects affecting growth are the emergence of a new middle class in Africa and Asia, together with a growth and expansion in resources and the aging of existing electrical infrastructure in Australia and South Africa.

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