Celebrating National Engineers Week: Evan Richards, Professional Problem Solver

Ask Evan Richards what he does for a living, and he sums it up in two words: problem solver. He’s an engineer in SDG&E’s Electric Grid Operations division. And he’s kind of a big deal. Richards provides support to our Transmission System Operators to ensure customers’ phones, laptops, vehicles and every other must-have charges when they plug in.

In honor of National Engineers Week, Feb. 18–24, we are spotlighting Richards and a few other engineers at SDG&E.

“I troubleshoot problems that could impact our ability to provide safe, reliable power for our customers,” Richards said. When an issue arises, he coordinates with grid operators and crews in the field to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

Richards also uses his knowledge of SDG&E’s electrical system to develop procedures and training exercises that help grid operators improve system efficiencies. His job includes coordination with various public agencies in California, Arizona and Mexico.

“We need to know how incidents in other regions can impact our ability to deliver reliable power in San Diego, so we can plan for it effectively,” he said. “Working together also helps us to support our neighbors when they get in a power crunch.”

Favorite thing about the job

“Finding solutions to challenges. Also, seeing first-hand the impact of our solutions on the lives of our customers and the region.”

The path to engineering

Richards has always loved science. Or maybe he had no choice. His dad was an elementary and middle school science teacher. The joy in finding solutions to challenges was instilled in him at a young age.

“My dad was a big influence on me growing up,” said Richards. “He started me on my path to becoming an engineer, but I didn’t know it at the time.”

It wasn’t until high school that Richards was able to put a name to the career he would pursue.

“I didn’t really know what engineers did until I went to a summer camp at Purdue University,” he said. “I was introduced to all types of engineering and really got a taste of what it means to be an engineer. You solve problems – you don’t drive trains.”

Richards received his degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and returned to his home town of San Diego. He landed at SDG&E and we intend to keep him.

“It feels good knowing I play a role in providing safe, reliable and clean power for our customers,” Richards said.