He is not only responsible for electronic constructions but also for his colleagues: Uwe Radke, the Chief Electrician at the HPA. Learn about the position and his daily business in our interview.
Name: Uwe Radke
At HPA: since 2017
Position: Chief Electrician
Mr Uwe Radke trained as an electrician, specifically maintenance and repair, and is a telecommunications specialist. He qualified as an electrician in Frankfurt am Main in 1996. He has worked for various organisations during his career as well as for the City of Hamburg from 2006 and has also worked for the fire brigade and police. Mr Radke was responsible for the entire medium voltage and lightning protection systems here. In January 2017, he started working as the chief electrician for the HPA.
'When I was a boy, I would get an electric shock while trying to repair a lamp. From then on I wanted to know what this invisible force was und where it came from.'
'I’m responsible for the electrical organisation and safety of the company. So, the phone hardly ever stops ringing. Normally I begin at 7 o’clock at the workshop in Harburg. Sometimes the day begins on site itself. Then my duties lie mostly in organisation or answering enquiries. Some colleagues need support with electrical engineering standards or regulations, whilst others have practical questions.'
'Not, I don't but I do trainings for personnel with knowledge in the field of electrical engineering. Besides, I am responsible for organising advanced trainings for my colleagues as well as our annual traning for electricians and specialists in charge. Furthermore, I personally attend three to four trainings a year to stay up to date. In those lessons we sometimes evaluate electrical accidents to determine what happened and how it happened. This helps to learn from past mistakes. The results then are incoporated in following tranings to keep everyone well-informed.'
'I am or at least I should be involved in any bigger projects. At the moment, the shoreside power system in Altona is definitely a major topic. We are trying to win more ships over to the use of shoreside power. But I'm also involved in the construction of the Kattwyk Bridge, the Rethe bascule bridge as well as other fields of HPA. Furthermore, there are nine electricians under my supervision who specialized in different fields like overhead wires or automation. In the end, I can't be equipped with knowledge about everything.
There's people calling everyday asking me for advice: 'We have this problem; how can we solve it? Are there any guidelines? Do we have to follow certain instructions?'. We regularly meet and discuss upcoming tasks and their solutions together. Regarding the multitude of different fields and branches at HPA, it's not enough to solely be working on one project. Therefore, I am involved in various projects.'
'No, I don't prefer any projects, I like to work on all of them. There are so many exciting fields and branches at HPA, you just have to liked them. Since the shoreside power system is a pilot project and unique in its way, I am pretty occupied in developing the next shoreside power connections. The fact that it is unique and brand new just keeps me interested and excited.
You have to know lots of things: When can I carry out which circuit? How is the automatic process working? What do the displays in case of error mean? I am also in close contact with the construction site manager to discuss the course regularly. In this way we are able to react to possible incidents efficiently. The experience and knowledge we gain during this project can be used for the next one. But not only the shore side power plant is special, the Kattwyk and the Rethe bascule bridge are outstanding, too. Such constructions naturally arise different questions than building an estate of terraced houses. So many different fields of electrical engineering come into play which leads to occupying the whole team of electricians.'
'Yes, I'm involved from beginning to end; if that means I am fully informed about everything is a different matter. It's my job to verify the electrical plan, so I check whether it complies with the guidelines and rules. It's easier to do this during the planning process than to tear something up afterwards due to an infringement of the rules. Errors can happen, it's human, but we have to make sure that those mistakes don't endanger any colleagues. Therefore, we have to guarantee the electrical safety, which is part of my job.'
'That would be the shoreside power system. It's one of the most exciting constructions under our supervision. I am proud to say that the ships can turn off their engine because we are able to supply it with shoreside power. For the future I can rather see us serving container ships. In the end there are more container than cruise ships in the port. Besides, the container ships stay longer than cruise ships, so will be able to contribute to cleaner air in Hamburg.'
'I would take him to the Dockland to climb it and to enjoy the view. Afterwards we would go for a walk alongside the Elbe up to Teufelsbrück to have a coffee at 'Café Engel'. Finally we would take the ferry 62 to go back Altona.'
Thank you for the interview.