A professor of political science, when I was a student, once said that Kyrgyzstan is a small country, and outstanding people need to be protected, appreciated, because if they leave, there will be no one to replace them for a very long time.
Vitaly Yakovlevich Shepel, a modest teacher at the training center of OJSC NESK, who has been training young power engineers with mostly theoretical knowledge, real practitioners, specialists in this complex strategic sphere, can be attributed to this category of rare and very valuable people of a piece format.
Exemplary schoolboy and student
In the small office where he works, there is a drawer, electrical parts and dozens of books are laid out, most of which were written by our hero. They helped to improve the qualifications of more than one hundred specialists. On the walls there are also many photographs, among which there are many black-and-white photographs that take us to the distant past.
The future power engineer was born in 1938 on the border of Kazakhstan and China, in the village of Zaisan, in the family of a border guard. When he was nine years old, his father was transferred to Frunze.
After the move, a misfortune happened: the head of the family was sent on a business trip, where he died in a car accident. All the hardships of life fell on the shoulders of the mother, who had to raise her son alone.
– Mom was a kind and wise person, I don’t remember her scolding me much, much less beating me. But I was often left to myself, – Vitaly Yakovlevich recalls his childhood.
In the summer, like many guys at that time, he spent days on end on Komsomolskoye Lake with friends, it happened that street to street they fought with teenagers living on Dzerzhinsky Boulevard, played football to exhaustion.
– Sometimes in the summer he worked as a camel driver in the Ala-Archinsky alpine camp for food. The time was not easy, – he recalls a half-starved childhood. – I was constantly busy. Circles, community work, serious swimming … Not to hooliganism.
A schoolboy, he was the chairman of a pioneer squad, a Komsomol organizer of the class, was professionally involved in sports, from 1954 to 1958 he was the champion of the republic in swimming, played football as part of a city team.
I finished school with a silver medal due to one grade four in one subject. Then knowledge was assessed strictly, no one “drew” marks in the certificate.
But after school, Vitaly knew exactly where to go – to the energy department of the Frunze Polytechnic Institute.
– Electricity on our street was carried out only in 1950, I remember that for a child who saw only a kerosene lamp, it was terribly interesting to learn its properties, independently installed sockets, learned how to repair them, – he recalls his first acquaintance with electricity.
At the institute, Vitaly did not slow down the pace of his studies, did not change his lifestyle. Community work as a Komsomol organizer of the group, playing sports, reading books – all this was taken for granted, I also had time to meet with girls, which ended with a wedding in the fourth year. He graduated from the Institute with honors.
– I studied easily, not a single grade in the exams. I went to my diploma practice in Novokuznetsk (RF) to the mining and metallurgical plant, which produced rolled metal products. There were only 10 drawings in the thesis, and the work itself was 300 pages, – he recalls his student years.
Osh – Chernivtsi – Frunze
After graduation, in the direction of, together with his young wife, we went to work at the Osh machine-road station, where he was accepted as an engineer-commissioner of electrical equipment.
– At work, I did not have a designated curator. But I did well without a mentor, because, while still studying at the institute, I worked part-time at electrical installation enterprises every summer and had practical experience, – he recalls his first years in the southern capital.
After working there for 10 years, for family reasons we moved to Ukraine, to the city of Chernivtsi.
He returned seven years later. One.
– We divorced my wife. I think the fault is mutual. But then I got married again at 44, and for 34 years now we have been living in perfect harmony with my new wife.
In general, as we have noticed, Vitaly Yakovlevich is not a fan of one-sided accusations. In any conflicts, disputes, he sees a share of the fault of both parties.
– It is impossible to clap your hands with one palm, and more blame on the one who is smarter and stronger is his favorite saying.
Test by the “nineties”
When the Union collapsed, the enterprise where he worked became unprofitable and closed. Then a friend offered him the position of a teacher at the NESK Training Center. I agreed, but the time was difficult, and in order to somehow survive, after work I was engaged in electrical installation in private houses.
Vitaly Yakovlevich has an amazing memory. At the age of 78, he remembers by the names of almost all of his university teachers, colleagues in his first job, and even classmates and events of those years.
– Everything was easy for me. Especially mathematics. Didn’t experience any problems either in school or at work. Probably, this is because I read a lot as a child, constantly studied something in circles and worked a lot. A big plus of my childhood was that there were no TVs or computers at that time – I got knowledge from good books and from good teachers.
Our hero proved with his life experience that in any business you can achieve success if you understand its importance.
Not a single profession
In addition to work, which to this day takes up most of his time, collecting postage stamps, he has been fond of them since childhood, grows flowers and lawns in the country and continues, as before, a lot to read.
– I prefer to read the classics, I recently reread Engels again, I like him more than Marx, – Vitaly Yakovlevich says about his impressions.
Discussing this or that book, he seems to instantly move into another reality, plunge into the events about which the narration is going, and very vividly, emotionally tells his impressions.
The sons followed in the footsteps of their father – the honored power engineer of the CIS. The senior one works in Russia in the field of nuclear energy, the junior one is an energy engineer in Ukraine. But her daughter broke the tradition, became an accountant. The wife has been in the statistical department all her life.
Soup soup with a spoon
Today, the 78-year-old power engineer continues to teach young professionals, write manuals and draw posters, which he uses in the classroom for clarity.
“The factory instructions are not enough for a complete understanding of the equipment, so we disassemble each new unit in parts, make drawings and explain their structure to novice power engineers,” he says.
In total, Vitaly Shepel has written 18 manuals on energy, drawn more than 700 posters. Recently, a letter of thanks came from one of the Russian institutes for advanced training of specialists in the energy industry for its manuals. It turned out that the Russians began to teach their specialists from the books of our hero.
– I gave them my allowance in order to increase the prestige of our power engineers in the eyes of Russian colleagues, so that they would not think that they are eating bast soup in Kyrgyzstan, – the veteran says with a feeling of patriotism.
However, the truth of life is that the quality of training of specialists in the republic in recent decades has become worse, many young workers receive insufficient school and university training. And this cannot but grieve.
– Guys come with a sparkle in their eyes, but poor basic training becomes a serious obstacle in mastering the intricacies of the profession, therefore in the training center we try to give as much as possible not only theoretical knowledge, but also practical skills in a short time, so that beginners come to production as prepared as possible , – says Vitaly Yakovlevich Shepel.
Obsessed with love for the work of his life, he belongs to that breed of people who devote to the profession every day, give it all of themselves without a trace. But it is thanks to such people that the industry grows and develops, the quality of training of specialists is preserved, the secrets and subtleties of craftsmanship are transmitted. It is impossible by force to make a person a good specialist; for this you just need to love the work you serve.