Sports and Power

Sports have actually hooked me up at an early age. In elementary school I was several times school champion in the 60 and 400 meters running, as well as in long jumping. I was always among the winners of medals.
It has also helped me that I performed well in a “pioneers” football team of FC PIVOVAR Lashko. Dragan Dzajić (well known Yugoslavian football player) and Eusebio were my idols during that time. When I was in sixth grade the brewery built a malting plant on the site of the football field and in Lasko we remained without the promised new football field until today. Thus all of our football players began to deal with basketball and handball. The basketball club was established in 1969 and I was in the first generation of the pioneers. In the third year of playing, we won a bronze medal at the National level and only Olimpija Ljubljana and Iliria were ahead. This was followed by a very successful playing in the youth competition, as well as at the level of secondary schools competition where we won in three years, the three most precious medals.

Upon transiting to the senior team where even as juniors we had become the best scorers of the team. During this period, I actively played also small football in the municipal league and was in the first two seasons the best, respectively second scorer. I played in the municipal league for full fifteen years. I am registered as a basketball player, actively playing for 25 years, including 20 years as captain of the Lasko team, and then five years in Savinjska Dolina. In the 45 year history of the Lasko basketball team I am still the player with the highest number of seasons played games and total points scored. In the meantime, I was a coach in several Slovenian teams and with them we won first place in all four Slovenian competitions leagues and participated for one year in the Euroleague - the strongest basketball competition in Europe.

This year in Lasko we are celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the basketball veteran club, whose president and captain I have been since its establishment in 1994. During these years, we won at the world championships three medals:

  • Gold in Puerto Rico in 2007
  • Silver in the Czech Republic in 2009
  • Bronze in 2005 in New Zealand
  • Gold at the European Championships in 2010 in Croatia
  • Bronze in 2013 in Greece

I also love skiing and I have been skiing together with Bode Muller and Ivica Kostelic, the two winners of the World Cup and Olympic Winter games.

Power: The museum of power started on the basis on three motives:

  • When I was employed in the electricity industry in 1981, I also began to teach as a part-time teacher at the Celje Secondary School of Electrical Engineering and each generation of students I took to a substation and to the HV power line in order to help them discover the practical way. I could show them many devices, but it was impossible to see them from inside. Later on this became possible in the museum by the number of devices cut in a proper way
  • In the eighties we workers were still called "gentlemen electricians” when we arrived after work at some pubs, saying that we are anyway doing (working) nothing. Because of this, I began to collect all sorts of defective items - damaged and detonated by short circuits devices, etc.., in order to be able to show them what "gentlemen" electricians deal with. These were also the first exhibits I had otherwise exhibited on the walls of an office building in Podlog where I was for 12 years the leader of Electrprenos Podlog. Upon the establishment of the museum these exhibits were transferred to the museum
  • In 1984, we three young engineers developed the "Microcomputer PERM device for remote control of substation," which was also published in a paper presented at Jugoslav National Committee of CIGRE in Struga, May 1985, and with this device was Lasko substation became the first 110 kV substation, which was remotely controlled in Slovenia. A decade later, this pioneering device has been replaced by a more modern one. I didn't want to throw it so I kept it and later, of course, it was included in the museum's collection

Lasko is known to have very frequent catastrophic "centuries" flooding. The last one happened in 1998, when the Savinja river was at the highest level and the water level at the Lasko substation was 1.2 meters high.

Among others, two shelters with all equipment (protective masks and clothing, decontamination agents, beds and other equipment in shelters) was completely destroyed. At this time there was no more need for the reconstruction of the shelters. This fact initiated an idea to bring into these two shelters all previously listed exhibits for practically no cost. The idea was realized with my co-workers, mostly outside of regular working hours, often at night and on weekends. This happened in 2004, when I was between others also responsible for organizing the 80th anniversary of ELES (Electro Slovenia) in Lasko.

The first stage was set directly at the shelters, but none of the invited 400 employees and retirees knew what was in the shelters. After the ELES director made his official speech I asked him to officially also open the Museum of electrical equipment. Of course, he was astonished, asking where it is, although he stood next to the shelter. He was very pleased after visiting both shelters, as well as everyone else.
After this, Electro Museum "Fala - Lasko" got real and official force.

Maintainers of power lines were faced on a daily basis with all kinds of animals, so we added to the museum some stuffed animals, and built a number of audio entertainment on working procedures.
A friend of mine Miha Zumer from Elektro Gorenjska informed me about the abandonment of some old power plant equipment and replacing it with a new one. He invited me to see the ČEgeljse HPP over the city of Trzic.

When I saw the over a hundred years old plant and all the belonging equipment I felt very sorry in my heart. But when the power plant operators said that these antiques are going to be sold at the junkyard for scrap, I got tears in my eyes. I tried to convince them to donate the aggregate to the museum, but the owners had no sympathy for this kind of grant. In the museum we also had problems with space, because the additional purchase of the building, which would be suitable for the museum was not possible.

Thus, to my sorrow, the unit was sold, scrapped, but I managed to acquire at least a turbine, which was the oldest element in the unit. When they dismantled the following year a second unit, my new company management approved the funding and instead of being scrapped the unit arrived in our museum in which we managed to install it in a smaller space than expected. The joy of all participants in the installation was at "likof" (final celebration after successfully completed work) indescribable, especially since we moved most items to the aggregate cross-section so that they see virtually all of the internal parts of Francis spiral turbine stator and rotor of the generator, exciter, bearings, as well as a turbine controller.

Of course I'm happy for every visitor, especially pupils and students from all Slovenian secondary schools and electrical universities that visit the Museum regularly every year. They can learn about the devices-how they work, or fail, see what they look inside, which in theoretical lectures in schools cannot be seen.
I'm lucky that my entire family supports both my sports life in which my wife Nadine and daughter Larisa both participate in, as well as my museum activities. And my daughter, who is studying architecture, also frequently advises me on many points.

In 2012, the day before the opening of the second part of the museum a bit unexpectedly came my daughter's boyfriend Miha who asked me if he could marry my daughter. Of course I agreed, but the condition was that together we had a bottle of Pleterje William Pear brandy, which I bought at the birth of my daughter. That's what we did and both slept through the hangover the whole morning. When I woke up around 2 pm, I just realizes that my friends at the museum were awaiting for me to put together the last remaining details for the opening of the museum. I was lucky that they forgave my delay, but we did work the next night and after two sleepless nights we passed the opening, even though the director and the mayor looked at me and my red eyes with a smile during the toast.

I spend all my holidays travelling and visiting interesting places and meeting fascinating people around the world. So I am regularly visiting museums and all kinds of ideas are born during such visits. In the museum we have exhibited also dismounted PCs, laptops as well as the iPad, the first mold and the Edison’s light bulb, TV and radio tubes, laboratory equipment of electro-chemical institute, even very old sewing machines and the like. in particular, to liven up the museum, not only for Electrotechnical visitors but also to curious random passers-by.

Between such exhibits, of course, stands a rare collection of 206 typewriters among which is the oldest one - from 1889. Most of these machines I bought years ago from a retiree who collected them all his life and when he heard about our museum he asked me if I want them. The radios we currently have are borrowed from a collector, who also did not have enough room in his museum, but we are planning to purchase these 99 sets and extend the database with an additional 100 receivers.
A collection of 137 mobile phones and GSM is almost daily supplemented by an unused GSM. We are thankful for each donation, but we are really looking for some of the original types of phones, which the collection lacks.

The museum currently has 15 showrooms in the 479 m2 area and exhibits 4921 samples. We plan to acquire in the next years a facility with 130m2 and two rooms of 65 m² each. This way we can expand the museum yet again with another hydroelectric generator, multiple circuit breakers and disconnectors and instrument transformers with larger dimensions, as well as the old radio and television receivers, audio and video equipment and image material of larger dimensions.
In doing so, we are particularly glad that we are receiving praise from world-famous visitors stating that their observations are transmitted to their colleagues at home and abroad. This was the case again this year on a festive celebration of the 90th anniversary of Prof. Anton Ogorelec in Ljubljana - Slovenia, when Janez Zakonjsek and Alex Apostolov, when presenting their papers on protective technique, recommended to the eminent Auditorium also the tour to our museum.

This praise was transferred later also to the director of our company and he already approved annual action plan, where the main goal is a partial renovation and expansion of exhibition space to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the museum, which this year will take place on October 8th.
With regards to basketball we just embark on the European Veterans Championships in Ostrava in the Czech Republic in September and have yet to participate in the World Basketball Championship in Spain.

Biography:

Srecko Lesjak received his B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computing in 1980 and M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Maribor in 2006. He started his career in 1981 as Operations Manager at DEM TOZD Elektroprenos Podlog. In 1992 he became Head of business unit at ELES Elektroprenos Podlog and later Director of Transmission Division in the same company. He has published many papers and articles and has authored and co-authored ten books. He received many professional awards and also won 12 gold, silver and bronze medals at different national, European and World championships. He has been an active member of CIGRE since 1991.

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