Throughout college Adam Sauer had a fascination with physics and building infrastructure, particularly how that infrastructure could impact developing parts of the world. During his college years Adam studied Electrical Engineering, with a focus on Sustainable Energy & Power Systems and worked several co-ops and internships to pay his way through a variety of engineering trips abroad to gain experience from the field.
After graduating from college, Adam started his career at American Honda Motor Co. where he worked on electrical systems for the entirety of the manufacturing plant – from the power coming in from the grid, down to every service panel.
“Soon after college I taught myself how to visualize such systems using a game engine, so that I could visualize them in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, or any other visual medium I wanted,” Adam said.
A Traveling Engineer
From there, Adam had the opportunity to join a non-profit that built manufacturer-grade water pump systems for remote villages. He joined the team to design and build test stands that verified the quality of each unit before it was sent to the field. He also built a remote monitoring system so the organization’s health could be tracked, and the team could repair or replace any units when they broke down.
Adam then transitioned to his first role with AEP as a Telecom Engineer at EASi Engineering. For just under two years he developed a process for the telecom planning process, and grew a team to scope out fiber across the backbone of AEP’s power grid.
“In 2017, I resigned in order to travel back to Africa, attend a few technology conferences, and learn from a collection of entrepreneurs working to deploy technologies across the continent. Inspired by all of this, I returned home, joined the IEEE Smart Village team as a Data Steward for the renewable energy projects they seed fund, and started my own business.”
A New Chapter
Since then, Adam has contracted on data and mapping projects with Smart Columbus and Ohio State. He then rejoined AEP to do technology research with satellite imagery, drones, and ground-based mapping systems.
“When I interviewed with the research team at AEP, they wanted to bring me on board, so they gave me a contact from PSI since all new hires start through a staffing agency before coming on full-time,” he said.
Since Adam had his own company, a former contractor suggested he set up a corp-to-corp agreement with PSI. While he didn’t receive as many benefits, it allowed him to save on other overhead costs that he could simply collect as a higher income. This allowed him to re-invest in his own company, which he has used to attend conferences relevant to the mission, and pay for devices that he builds and experiments with.
Adam explained that with all of his projects he puts a lot of focus on creating visualizations of the systems he is responsible for.
“Transmission invests a significant amount of resources for manned helicopters to fly T-Lines every year and collect survey-grade LiDAR point clouds and color imagery, as well as to have inspectors walk lines and stations on a routine basis for preventative maintenance and compliance purposes,” he explained. “As drones are becoming more accessible, and the regulations around them are becoming more defined – potential efficiency improvements, reduced safety risks, and improved data quality are putting drones in the spotlight for teams across the footprint.”
A Successful Partnership
Adam said that PSI has made it simple and straightforward to manage payroll across these various projects. PSI lets Adam focus fully on the client’s needs, while having the flexibility of a contractor.
“[PSI provides] a layer of risk insulation, giving me peace of mind so I can focus on the needs of the client, while also being able to define and prioritize my own professional interests,” he said.