Bob Taylor - 2019 Meritorious Award Recipient

It is a rare accolade; there are less than 20 recipients in almost a century of this industry body's lifetime.

This recognises an outstanding contribution to the power engineering industry by a visionary leader who has brought significant benefit to our electricity supply industry, and to New Zealand.

Our 19th recipient of the EEA Meritorious Service Award is Bob Taylor, of Bob Taylor (Consultant) Limited.

Bob is being recognised by EEA for his long and distinguished service to the New Zealand (NZ) electricity industry. He has made an outstanding contribution across a wide range of areas including contractor management; industry safety; industry education (ITO), live work and EEA governance as both an Executive Committee member and EEA President. Bob is a passionate committed leader and advocate in all of these areas.

He came up through the ranks, starting as a line mechanic in the United Kingdom (UK), became a live liner, lines engineer and then went on to obtain his engineering degree. He was Managing Director of Connectics, the contracting arm of Orion. Bob then moved into consultancy where his safety and contracting knowledge has led significant change and improvements in both those areas.

What sets Bob apart is his great knowledge of the various layers that create the electricity industry, how they interact and what 'good' looks like.

From this experience he has great empathy and understanding of the many challenges and needs in those areas. He also knows how important safety and education are as he has stood in the shoes of field staff, engineers, management and experienced what it is like, both the highs and lows.

Bob (originally from NZ) started on the tools in the UK power industry in 1974 and completed his apprenticeship in 1978, then his live line qualifications in 1979. He trained and was authorised to undertake HV live work, and worked as a Network fault man.

He and his wife Shirley moved back to NZ in 1979 where they settled in Christchurch.

He worked as a line mechanic, supervisor, technical assistant with the Christchurch Municipal Electricity Department (MED) through to 1984 then joined the Central Canterbury Electric Power Board as Engineering Assistant Overhead Lines. In 1989 he moved to Southpower, as a Lines Engineer, where in 1991 he developed and implemented HV Live Line Work Capability for Southpower.

Bob attended the University of Canterbury (1992 - 1994) and completed his Bachelor of Engineering (BE Hons). From 1994 to 2010 he was Operations Manager, General Manager, Managing Director (Southpower Contracting then Connetics).

In 2010 Bob started his own industry consultancy business, Bob Taylor Limited. As a consultant he has undertaken business assignments for seventeen electricity supply industry (ESI) companies, including but not limited to developing operational performance, process improvement, commercial operating structures, productivity and utilisation improvement, major tenders (award and bidding), safety performance improvement and change management.

Industry Leadership

  • 1987 to 1991 Christchurch Polytechnic, part time lecturer Trade apprentices and NZCE students
  • Connetics was awarded an ACC Thinksafe Award, a Champion Canterbury Service Award and a number of EEA Safety Awards under his leadership
  • Chaired the Network Advisory Group responsible for the initial development of industry unit standards and qualifications under the Industry Training Act framework
  • Director of the Electricity Supply Industry Training Organisation (ESITO) for 12 years
  • Member and chairman of the EEA's Safety Standards and Policy Group for 18 years
  • Member, Vice President and President of EEA's Executive Committee from 2003 to 2019
  • Chairman EEA's National Committee Live Work for 5 years
  • Convened the re-write of the last two publications of EEA's 'Line Mechanic and Cable Jointers Handbook'
  • Represented industry and ESI companies as an expert witness at district and coronial court hearings
  • Has undertaken a number of significant accident/incident investigations
  • Led a number of safety improvement initiatives i.e. Earthing and EPZ, Back to Basics, Work Method Selection guides
  • Spoken at international conferences

This is what motivates Bob and it is why he is 100% committed to making the industry safer, better and more efficient in both work practices and workplaces.

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