Careers in Energy Week is Oct.14-20, 2019 and celebrates the workforce that provides a vital service to our communities and to raise awareness of the rewarding careers available in the energy industry. From line workers to construction project managers to electrical engineers and beyond, these men and women work tirelessly to ensure that businesses and homes across the country always have the energy they need.
To celebrate the people behind your power, we’ve featured a small sampling of the many employees who have found careers in energy at your local electric cooperative.
Senior Planning Engineer
United Power’s engineering team is hard at work behind the scenes designing a system able to efficiently deliver reliable power to our members. That includes monitoring system performance and forecasting for growth and future load – the amount of energy the cooperative must distribute to provide enough power for all our members.
“There’s never a dull moment working in the field of power engineering. We get to work with large scale projects that set the direction for the future of the cooperative. Advances in system software allow us to better map our system, identify and resolve weaknesses and put in redundancies to ensure our system is better equipped to deliver reliable power to members. Technological innovations allow us to more quickly identify and isolate faults (outages), reducing the impact of events. It’s kind of like solving a complex puzzle, but that’s what makes it exciting. There’s a lot of opportunity in the power industry for young, talented engineers to come in and have an immediate impact.”
Senior Right-of-Way Agent
When United Power builds new infrastructure – the lines, poles, and equipment that deliver power to our members – we work within existing agreements with cities or counties or obtain new agreements with property owners to build on that property. Our right-of-way agents are responsible for obtaining those permissions so we can build our infrastructure safely, affordably and efficiently.
“Working in right of way, you’re going to meet a lot of people and work on a lot of different kinds of projects. No two projects are the same, and that means being willing to learn about new industries. It requires a level of conscientiousness, accuracy and an ability to negotiate effectively. I’m thankful for the mentors I’ve had and the professional organizations I’ve been a part of along the way, but also those I’ve been able to mentor.”
Energy Management Specialist
United Power’s energy management specialists are available to help empower members to take control of their energy usage. Through carefully researched energy audits, our team educates members about what behaviors are having the biggest impact on their usage, how small changes can save them time, energy and money, and what programs the cooperative offers to help them make those changes.
“You can never assume you know what the member needs. Listening is crucial because every member is trying to find solutions for their own unique challenges, and sometimes they don’t realize the solution can be simple and easy. Asking the right questions helps us narrow down their true needs. Our goal is to craft a positive member experience that leaves them armed with the information necessary to make meaningful changes to their energy usage.”
Project Coordinator II
When new development moves into United Power’s service territory, our project managers and coordinators work with those developers to facilitate the electrical system design and construction process from start to completion, while also coordinating conversation across teams inside and outside the cooperative.
“Our ultimate responsibility is to ensure we design an electrical route that meets both our system’s needs and our member’s needs. We begin that process by meeting with members and obtaining detailed project plans to pass along to designers. To succeed in this field, you need to be able to adapt quickly to different situations, wear multiple hats and stay organized. Our digital-first approach to new construction projects has made managing jobs quicker, easier and more efficient, but we still prioritize meeting with members. Each day I’m able to see or do something different to help a member resolve their needs. It’s also been exciting to see some of the new development moving into our territory.”
Apprentice Lineman - Step 5
United Power lineworkers are responsible for maintaining the lines, poles, and equipment that deliver power to our members. In the event of an outage, they are our “boots on the ground” working diligently to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. They work in high voltage and often dangerous situations, regardless of the weather. For them, linework is something of a passion project.
“If you decide to go into linework, you have to know it’s something you want to do. Not many people are getting into it because it’s challenging, but if you love what you’re doing and are willing to stick it out no matter what, you can do it. It just takes time. If you’re a woman interested in going into linework, don’t be intimidated. You’re going to have to work harder and find different techniques that work for you, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it’s something you really want to do, you can do it.”
Energy jobs offer promising opportunities to both experienced workers and those just starting their careers. These jobs are active, hands-on, rewarding, and available in every state, in an industry that is stable and growing. Learn more at www.getintoenergy.com.
United Power offers competitive salaries and first-class benefits for nearly 200 energy-related positions. If you’d like a rewarding career at a member-owned electric cooperative where we power what matters to over 93,000 members who live, work and play in our rapidly growing service territory, visit www.unitedpower.com/careers to view current openings.