With top mentors you have the opportunity to grow into a first-class testing engineer
Karlo Lazarin came to HELB as a student, and his love for the job of testing and commissioning engineer, and his excellent relationship with colleagues, are what kept him there for more than three years. For him, we could say that his love for nature and fresh air blended well into both his private and business life. He spends most of his business days on-site all over Croatia, while in his free time he enjoys riding motorbikes and quads on trails and forest roads. So we were really lucky to catch him for half an hour to share his story and experiences with us. Behind the tall and serious exterior, hides a sympathetic, communicative, professional, and decent young man whose every word exudes passion, desire, knowledge, and love for the work he does. Colleagues say that he is responsible, capable, and understands very well the importance and seriousness of his job. He is always ready to learn and spread his knowledge with others.
What does your job at HELB include and what does your average day look like?
My job includes testing and commissioning of power plants of all voltage levels, testing products in the company, on-site, checking that everything is correct according to the documentation, proposing solutions, and communicating with our project managers, managers, investors, and other colleagues in the company and on-site. There are several types of testing, and we at HELB mostly deal with functional testing. For the last few weeks, I have mostly been doing functional tests according to the project documentation. Sometimes we also have specialist testing. I recently did a specialist test of the power transformer because it needed to be moved from one location to another and it was important to do a test to prove that everything was right with the transformer and that nothing happened during the transport.
You could say that my workday differs depending on whether I am in the company or in the field. If I am on-site, I mostly plan my working day or it is planned in agreement with the investor. It all depends on the type, scope, and phase of the project. If it is the initial phase of the testing, as a representative of HELB, I am most often there with the manager and installers. In the later phase of testing, I cooperate with relay protection engineers with whom I perform final tests before putting the plant under voltage. For example, on a recent project, the first two weeks I was alone, preparing documentation, checking to see if anything was missing, and doing final preparations to get everything ready. I like to do a good preparation because later everything goes smoothly and there are no problems when testing. The length of the test depends on the terrain and voltage level. Testing one field at a high voltage level will not last as long as at a medium voltage level. At the medium voltage level, everything is in one switchyard or cell, there is much less equipment and cables, so there is less possibility of error. While an outdoor plant is a whole other story. Each appliance in the plant is separate and each comes with a separate cable. The examination takes longer and it is certainly more interesting to me when it is more complex and challenging ?. I love seeing and learning something new. When I’m in the company, I usually do the minutes, check the documentation, prepare for the field, or examine the cabinets in the company. I am mostly on-site, but this year, it happened that I would come home every day after work for two months, and after that, I was constantly on-site. There are no rules, it all depends on the amount and type of work. I mostly work in Croatia. Since I’ve been here, I’ve worked abroad once, but if it weren’t for the coronavirus, there would probably be more traveling.
How long have you been at HELB and did you start working as a testing and commissioning engineer right away?
I have been in HELB for a little over three years and I immediately started working as a testing and commissioning engineer. It was my first job, and I got it in my fourth year of college. A colleague from TVZ, with whom I studied and now work, told me about his experiences here and gave me a recommendation. I sent a resume and an application, came for an interview and that’s how it all started ?. If I had heard of HELB before, I would probably have come to a student internship sooner.
What are your favorite things about HELB and where do you see room for improvement?
The positive thing is that we are a family business. We are always there to help each other, we have support and that’s how it has been from the first day, which is great for me. While I was studying, I asked my boss to work close to Zagreb so that I could catch the first week of the new semester. They made it possible for me without any problem, not only the first week but the whole semester. On-site, this family atmosphere is even more visible. It is a smaller group and we are quite connected, especially when the fieldwork lasts longer. Although sometimes it happens that I don’t see my colleagues for a month because of the nature of the job. Also, a great advantage of HELB are excellent mentors. If you work hard and absorb the knowledge they pass on to you, then you will grow into a very good testing engineer. What you will learn here you won’t have the opportunity to learn somewhere else. But you have to love this job. It’s still a challenge for me and if I’m eager, it’s all great. Sometimes you get dirty, you freeze, but that’s the fieldwork and you have to love it.
It would be great if we could have even more educations and trainings where we learn something new, get a certificate, and then contract a new type of work thereupon. I have recently spent two weeks training in Sweden for ABB switches and I learned a lot. Shortly after that, I did a project in Croatia just for that. As we are a large company, divided into field and office, we have to continuously work on our communication, and it can always be better.
What do you do in your free time?
There is always some socializing. I’m a big fan of motorcycles, so I use my free time to ride a motorcycle or quad. Sometimes a motorbike on the road, sometimes a quad on the hills and valleys. So I’m game for all scenarios.
May 25, 2022