Steve Price

Brother Steve Price, the Electrical Services Supervisor at BYU-Idaho, spoke at the devotional on August 21, 2018. His talk is titled “Inspire, Be Inspired.”

Price started as a carpenter. His dad needed electrical-wiring help around the house, so he and his brother took on the task. Price liked that electricians work inside, away from outdoor elements. He took an electrical apprenticeship at Rick’s College and says he “accidentally” stayed for 39 years.

“I thought I was going to get away with not (giving a talk),” he said.

He says if he could sum up what he has learned while living, it would be that we need to be inspired and we need to inspire others.

“They used to call it the Spirit of Ricks but it’s mostly just the Holy Ghost working with everybody,” he told BYU-Idaho Radio.

In the duration of his tenure at Ricks College and BYU-Idaho, one thing he has taken away is that God is in charge of this university.

One way he has seen that, is through what he calls the “Spori miracle.”

When the original Spori Building was getting demolished, the BYU-Idaho electrician crew, including Price, were concerned about an electric distribution box in close proximity to the building. A distribution box takes power in and distributes it to the buildings nearby. They wanted to figure out a way to protect it from potential falling debris.

The conclusion was to build a timber frame around the distribution box. Part of that frame would have oil soaked railroad ties covering it.

At the same time, an electrical transformers salesman was scheduled to come on campus, but when they went to the meeting, it was a high voltage salesman who talked about temporary junction boxes.

They thought that was very random. They thanked him but said they had no need for the product.

Then the distribution box starting leaking expensive gases, about $1,500 every four days. They had no spares. To order a new one would cost $20,000, and they would have to wait at least 16 weeks.

The crew needed to figure out how to stop the leak and they needed to do it quickly.

“Suddenly it just clicked for me,” Price recalls.

Price remembered the temporary junction boxes the salesman talked about, and now they had a solution.

They got approval to call the salesman they thought they didn’t need, removed the leaking box, stored the high voltage cables in the temporary junction box underground, and ordered a new one.

Now the leak was temporarily solved, and the high voltage cables were also stowed away underground from any potential falling debris without having to make the timber frame.

The day of the demolition came. The demolition crew looped a cable between two bulldozers to drag through the structure, but nothing happened. So they decided to saw through the building and started a friction fire that burned the Spori to the ground.

How long the timber frame would have burned before the fire got to the distribution box was something the electrician crew never had to find out. The high voltage cables were safe in the temporary junction box underground.

Had the switch not been leaking, had the unexpected salesman not presented the temporary junction boxes, had Price not followed through with the prompting; the high voltage cables would have been right next to the Spori fire.

“Even more miraculous, the leaking gas switch never lost another ounce of Sulphur hexafluoride,” he said during his devotional talk.

Price said when he thinks about all the factors that had to fall into place in order for the high voltage cables to end up underground, he knows it was a miracle.

You can listen to the interview here.