Company Name: Energy Northwest
Title: Chief Nuclear Officer/VP Nuclear Generation
Years at Company: 7 years
What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
I chose the field of engineering and nuclear power because the town where I grew up had a nuclear plant and the nuclear plant had the best paying jobs in the area. Also, one of my older sisters thought that I should be an engineer (because she was dating one at the time).
What are three things you use at work every day?
My leadership skills, my knowledge/experience, and computers (desktop, tablet, and smart phone).
What was your first job?
My first job was working around the home place. We raised our own food for the most part. We had about 10 acres of gardening (truck patch), a milk cow, other cattle for beef, and pigs. My first job away from home, at 15 years of age, was working at an ice plant bagging ice at 5 am and again at 4 pm every day during the summer for around 10 hours per day. Also in the afternoon during the week during school year. The best part about getting my first job was that I didn’t have to help milk the cow every morning before school and again after school. My first full time job during college was working sanitation at a pickle plant to pay for my education. My first job after college was at River Bend Nuclear Station in St. Francisville, Louisiana while it was under construction.
How do you spend your free time?
My wife and I, of 38 years, spend as much time with our three children and six grandchildren as possible. My two sons and five grandchildren live in Phoenix, Arizona and my daughter and one grandchild lives in Athens, Georgia. My grandchildren are ages 1 year to 9 years. Other than that we enjoy traveling, riding my Harley-Davidson touring bike, and my soon-to-arrive Corvette ZR1.
What are three words that best describe you?
Trusting, genuine, friendly (a people person).
What did you want to become as kid?
As most kids, I wanted to be a professional football player. Living in Arkansas, I grew up watching the Dallas Cowboys (hope nobody in the Tri-Cities area will hold it against me).
Would you prefer to travel back in time or into the future?
Back in time. I would like to talk with some of the people in the biblical times such as Moses, Daniel, and the Apostle Paul, to name a few. Also, even more recent history, I would like to talk with some of our founding fathers and see what they would think of some of our current political views.
How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities?
I have lived in the Tri-Cities for little over seven years (March 2012). Prior to that I lived four years in Phoenix. Since graduating from college in May 1982, I have lived in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, and now in Washington. I did not travel much prior to graduating from college. I did not travel outside of Arkansas until I was about 15 years old.
Where is your hometown?
Do you have any special talents?
I do not think I have any special talents. I enjoy learning and that is why I like the nuclear industry so much. We stress continuous learning. I guess I would say I am more of a jack of all trades – master of none.
One piece of advice you’d give a young person that wants to get into your field?
Stay after you dreams! Be persistent, don’t give up! When I get to speak to the students at the Columbia Basin College Nuclear Technology graduation, I share with them my story about when I graduated from college at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas in hopes of getting a job at the nuclear plant in our town, which I did not. It wasn’t until 8 years later after working at nuclear plants in Louisiana, Texas and Florida that I got a job back in Arkansas at the nuclear plant in my home town. So stay after you dream; stay persistent and don’t ever give up!
What was the first concert you attended?
Billy Joel, Little Rock, Arkansas.
What excites you the most about the direction of the Tri-City Regional Chamber?
MyTri 2030 “Shaping the Future of our Region – I believe that with the 6 areas of focus (Agriculture, Education, Energy, Inclusion, Life and Prosperity) we have a great opportunity to make a big impact for the Tri-City area.