Community Champion

By Dave Bertola

Congratulations to operations director Len Fiume for earning a 2018 Chairman’s Award. Fiume, who is scheduled to retire Nov. 30, was nominated for the award by substations director John Burke, who cited Fiume’s passion for teaching about electricity, engineering and our industry both inside and outside the company.

Burke, who narrates the nomination video, lauds Fiume for “leading the way and creating a workforce for the next generation.” The piece is titled “Educating for the Future” and won the award in the “Exceeding for our Communities” category.

In the video, describing what it would mean for Fiume to win the Chairman’s Award, Burke said that it “caps off an astonishing career and also provides recognition of a man who is held in the highest regard by all of his colleagues and students.”

The following is the nomination that Burke made when nominating Fiume:

Leonard Fiume arrives at a broken building in a depressed section of Buffalo.

Today will be a lesson on solar power. He is teaching underprivileged children how to build a car powered by solar energy. Last week’s lesson was wind energy. Next week will be chemical energy.

The classes repeat at different Boys & Girls Clubs across Buffalo. The work impacts our energy future, one student at a time. No one can predict which students will be transformed by his lessons. Students may only need a nudge to modify their path in life. By Bringing Energy to Life, Leonard is providing the nudges.

In a similar setting, we find Len at Buffalo State College teaching an engineering course for electrical system that includes theory and the components National Grid utilizes to deliver energy.

This content is deeper. They have decided to pursue a career in the energy sector. Len provides depth and context. He is a rare specimen as he possesses a unique ability to deliver theory and practical knowledge to train students on electrical energy. Len’s delivery shapes their futures.

Tomorrow’s class flips over to the University at Buffalo with engineering students that anchor an MS degree with energy-related projects. These engineers may not choose National Grid, but that does not matter as Len’s purpose is simply to educate.

Better than most, Leonard knows that learning is a life-long skill. In addition to the Boys & Girls Clubs, UB and Buffalo State, Len works with adults for continued education. Erie Community College Lineman’s School, and Northland Workforce Training Center are prime examples where students might find their way into the energy sector. At National Grid, we see Len complete his third 20-week electric system course for new employees. Classes cover the meter up through generation. Thirty new employees now better understand the electric business as they launch their careers.

This is not a tale of a week, a month or a year. This is the life and passion of Leonard Fiume. A classroom of students or 1-on-1, how he thinks is revealed when he is sharing. Len loves educating, and he thrives when his students begin to teach others. Leonard Fiume’s work to reach, teach and repeat embodies the true meaning of “Bringing Energy to Life.”

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John Flint

Congratulations on the Chairman’s Award and your “astonishing” career. It has been a pleasure to know and work with a person of high integrity and moral character. Thanks, Len.


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