Metering professionals now have a home on the Web.
Bud Russell, who served as a Navy electronics technician for six years and a PacifiCorp meterman for 23 years, launched a site for field metermen.
“I'm trying to build a community tool for the metering professional, particularly the ones out in the field,” Russell said. “They tend to be isolated. There are not very many of us the world over, and we're all spread out in all these little towns and areas. I thought that a Web site would give everyone a chance to get to one location.”
Russell worked on his company's Intranet site and decided to launch his own site in January 1999. Three years later, maintaining the site has become a full-time job for Russell, who spends six hours a day, seven days a week on TheMeterGuy.com.
“It's been an evolving project,” Russell said. “I do whatever I can to help the metering professional do his job right.”
The Metering TailBoard, a discussion board, has become one of the most popular features on the site, Russell said.
“People are able to ask questions or make statements,” he said. “We've been holding a bunch of quizzes, usually every month. Everyone gets in there and puts in his or her two cents worth in.”
Last year, Russell also released a software program called Power Tools, which he now sells on his Web site.
“It has been a real backbone for us,” he said. “Power Tools draws a vector diagram and allows you to manipulate that diagram to see how a meter will actually measure a circuit when it's connected in a certain way.”
Russell uses a lot of outside vendors for his site. One vendor, Jobvertise, supplies job listings for many different occupations, including metering.
“People can come in and look at metering jobs or post metering jobs,” Russell said. “When companies go out looking for metermen, they advertise in the local newspapers or trade papers, which really do not get to the metering professional in the field. They just don't see them.”
TheMeterGuy.com also has a section for classified ads as well as an area where visitors can add their own links. Russell said he split his Web site into a lot of sections.
“I take care of everything from vendors displaying their wares to a list of all metering Web sites that I've found,” he said. “I also carry an events schedule for meter seminars and schools.”
He is also developing a section on meter theory, which discusses the basics of metering.
“I have lots of drawings and explanations of how a meter works and how they're connected,” he said. “You can calculate how a meter is going to measure a particular circuit.”
Electrical- and utility-related news is also displayed on the Web site's home page, as well as links to a monthly newsletter.
“I use my monthly newsletter to keep people up-to-date on what I'm doing and take care of monthly business,” he said.
Russell also travels to different companies to keep updated on what's going on in the industry.
“I try to visit a few shops every year just to be able to talk to these people one-on-one,” he said. “I've gotten a really good response so far. About everywhere I go, they seem to know about me, or if they don't, they latch onto it pretty quickly.”
He selected domain name, TheMeterGuy.com, so metering professionals could find the site quickly and easily.
“I wanted a domain name that would stick in the search engines so that when people do searches for metering, they would come to my site,” Russell said. “You visit TheMeterGuy.com and you've got me.”
Russell said he researched the Net, and didn't find any other sites like his out there.
“There's a Web site called Metering International that is devoted to the more high-end,” he said. “I'm pointed to the working person in the field. I want to bring information, keep growing and become a resource for the metering engineer.”