Volunteer Spotlight: Dave Goldsmith
Did you know KiloWatts for Humanity is an all volunteer run organization? Our volunteers have contributed over 6,000 hours of their time in the last year to make our off-grid electrification projects a success, and we are so grateful! We recently took some time to talk to volunteer Dave Goldsmith about his experiences this far with KWH, including his recent tip to Zambia for the installation of the Filibaba kiosk.
KWH: Tell us a bit about yourself!
Dave: I was born at Group Health here in Seattle, WA. Raised in this area, I enjoy the mountains, rivers, and lakes that surround us. Whether I’m fishing, skiing, tubing, or designing a microgrid, I love my time here. I joined the military in 2006 to be a medic for the WA National Guard, and ended up serving for one year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thanks to that service I became eligible for the GI Bill, and am now finishing my senior year at Seattle University, studying Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Dave: My first year attending SU I was fortunate to meet Dr. Henry Louie, a very passionate and bright professor, and Fulbright scholar. Dr. Louie invited me to a KWH meeting (a group he co-founded) to see if I was interested in getting involved. At my first meeting I could tell that the people of KWH were serious about helping people, and that they were driven and able to accomplish their goals. They all had a great energy and I was immediately grateful for the invitation and looking forward to being a part of the team.
To more efficiently achieve our goals, KWH created several teams. I have worked with the Business team, Microgrid Design team, Training team, and Data Logger team. As an engineer, being well rounded offers insight in finding solutions. I was privileged that the KWH team leaders shared their knowledge with me and molded and applied some of my ideas in our projects.
Working with KWH I have been able to help design and configure a SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system that monitors the health of our microgrid installation in Filibaba, Zambia. I had a hand in designing the sustainable business plan for the Filibaba installation. I helped redesign the SCADA system for the NCEES award winning Muhuru Bay microgrid installation. And last but not least, I was fortunate to travel with KWH to Zambia to install and commission the Filibaba microgrid.
The group of volunteers that I traveled with went 10 days early so that we could enjoy tourist activities and learn the lay of the land. We camped in the wild in Chobe national park, swam in the pools atop Victoria falls, and canoed the Zambezi river with a local guide, napping on an island in Zimbabwe. All of which were eventually dwarfed by our installation of an extremely reliable 2000 watt power system, worth nearly 8 years of the average salary. We hired a local electrician named Ngosa that taught me how to install power outlets and light fixtures. The other volunteers and I helped him chisel the bricks to route wires and implant the outlets.
In our last few days there the young men we hired to dig a trench for wiring a nearby church let me play drums with them as they warmed up for a church music session. I recently learned that KWH volunteers donated the money to buy the church a keyboard. Zambia was amazing and I learned and experienced so much.