Arthur C. Westrom

Arthur C. Westrom 1924 - 2002

The Power Engineering Society was saddened by the passing of Arthur C. Westrom, who died while attending the 2002 Winter Meeting in New York.

Art Westrom was born on 29 January 1924 in Chicago. He earned a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1950. He joined Hubbard & Company in 1950 as a design engineer and went on to hold numerous senior positions there.

From 1964 to 1996, he held senior positions in product management, design, and planning at Kearney Div., KN. Inc. Since 1996, he had been the president of Westrom Technologies, where he helped to develop an advanced distribution automation product system as well as a fault distance indicator product.

Westrom has influenced key products employed by the power industry for nearly 5 decades through his leadership, research, and development. An enthusiastic leader, he managed the successful development of a cadmium element CL fuse at IREQ, which together with his many other CL fuse developments, played a key role in nearly eliminating transformer rupture problems that had emerged when the industry moved to higher fault currents. He managed the development and manufacture of a pioneering heavy-duty distribution arrester a full decade before it was commonly specified in the industry. He also led the development of a series of non-fragmenting polymer-housed surge arresters.

Westrom held more than a dozen patents for the products and systems he developed. He communicated his findings to the industry through more than 100 papers published in technical journals and industry magazines and in presentations to regional utility groups. He also led important research development and engineering programs that advanced distribution-system safety, reliability, and economy.

Among Westrom's numerous achievements are conceiving, planning, and directing an R&D test laboratory, chairing the ANSI C119.2 standard on separable insulated connectors, and pioneering the development of the load-break connector with a three-phase performance rating, which became the industry standard. He was among the first to specify current-limiting fuse performance guidelines to prevent the violent rupture of oil-filled pole and pad transformers. He then established withstand guidelines for equipment manufacturers.

More recently, he developed a new distribution automation system featuring exception monitoring and control over the nation’s cellular network. His system eliminates the need for the high infrastructure cost required in conventional automation systems, while increasing reliability. His automation products are now being installed throughout North America.

Westrom was an IEEE Life Fellow and recipient of the 2001 IEEE Herman Halperin Transmission and Distribution Award.

Retrieved on 2011-12-03 from IEEE Power Engineering Review, April 2002