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First-Hand:From Draftsman to Engineering Dept. at the Philadelphia Electric Company

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Olaf B. Vikoren

At the end of 1924 with my diploma in hand, I returned to Norway hoping to land a good job there. I soon learned that the economical conditions were so bad that no new generating stations were being contemplated for a long time. The disappointment was nerve-racking.

Also, there were practically no available jobs of any kind, anywhere in the country. Since foreigners seeking employment in Germany were not welcome, there was no sense returning there.

The most likely possibility for success was to try one's luck in the United States. I arrived in New York on February 16, 1926. Among other companies, The Philadelphia Electric Company (as it was then called), was advertising for technical help. It was recommended to me that I should try to get a job with that organization. I followed that advice and was hired as a draftsman on March 1, 1926.

The job was far from being glamorous, but I knew that an immigrant ought not be choosy in his first job and experience was what I needed. After having been a draftsman for about a year, I was transferred to Field Engineering and sometime later to a inside job in the Engineering Department.