Wind Technician Instructor – Andrew G. Swapp, MS ETE

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Day in the life of
Wind Technician Instructor – Andrew G. Swapp, MS ETE

Andrew G. Swapp, MS ETE
Wind Technician Instructor
North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands

I am a wind technician instructor. I teach wind technicians how to climb wind turbines and work on them.

My Typical Day

My day starts in the classroom where we learn all about creating electricity with wind power. We learn about how and why the wind turbine was placed or sited. Wind turbines are placed in areas with normally high winds that blow for a long time during the day. They are being built with more efficiency as we learn more about the science of converting wind power into electrical power.

In the afternoon I get my harness and safety equipment on and show my students how to do the same. We talk about safety, stretch out a bit, and then we climb the ladder straight up inside the tower. We climb an 80-meter tower that is 263 feet if you can’t picture what 80 meters look like. When we get out on top of the nacelle we hook up to anchor points with a safety lanyard. At first, it is a little scary but it is also really neat!!! The view from the top is usually beautiful in all kinds of weather. It is also interesting to see what kind of insects fly that high. I once found a grasshopper resting on top! We climb turbines to service them with new filters, grease and we tighten bolts and give the turbine an overall check-up. When something goes wrong we get to climb up and figure out what went wrong and fix it. To me, it seems a lot like detective work. When you find the problem then you find what caused the problem it is a great feeling of accomplishment!

At the end of the training, my students go out and get good jobs in a clean energy field and earn a good living. I get to improve my classes by looking at student reviews and by listening to employers’ needs. My job is so exciting because I get to meet new people every semester and sometimes I get to eat lunch on top of the wind turbine!


  • I get to be at home every night with my family
  • I meet really neet people
  • I continue to learn new things
  • I generally get summers off
  • I stay in fairly good shape
  • It is challenging enough to keep you interested
  • College is a fun environment to work in because people are always growing and learning and doing neat things. I get to take college courses while I work here also.


  • Climbing a ladder all the time can wear on certain parts of your body. I am 59 years old and my feet and knees hurt after a climb sometimes but it hasn’t stopped me from climbing yet.
  • The pay in a teaching position isn’t nearly as good as pay out working in the industry.
  • There are some dangerous parts to this job like working at heights and around high voltage electricity.
Andrew G. Swapp, MS ETE
Wind Technician Instructor
North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands
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