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I have spent the majority of my career in leadership roles, from supervising plant operations teams to department level management. Each has had its own unique challenges, but all require a dedication to not only organizational goals, but a genuine desire to empower followers to work together and become more than a sum of their individual abilities. I believe that through effective leadership, organizations will be strengthened because their employees will be more capable, more motivated, and better prepared as a result.
My leadership experience can be separated into three types, each with different goal focus: team leadership, work group supervision, and department management.
In team leadership, most commonly found in operations or project environments, the focus is on the achievement of shorter-term tactical goals, such as the monitoring and control of plant equipment, or the completion of maintenance projects over the course of a shift or finite project period. Even though team membership can change from shift to shift or project to project, opportunities exist to help develop the competencies of team members through coaching, mentorship, and sound guidance. Examples of this type of role I have held include:
- Engineering Watch Supervisor (U.S. Navy)
- Senior Operator (Urenco)
- Control Room Supervisor (Entergy)
- Emergency Response Operations Support Center Manager (Entergy)
Work Group Supervision
In these crucial roles, the focus is on both short-term project objectives and longer-term personnel development objectives. These organizational positions are typically first-line supervision, in which I was directly responsible for the activities and needs of individual contributors. Coaching and motivation are especially critical here, and I worked to develop my direct reports for the accomplishment of both organizational focus and advancement of their individual careers.
- Reactor Controls Division Leading Petty Officer (U.S. Navy)
- Technical Training Supervisor (Urenco)
In manager level roles, the focus is primarily on longer-term strategic goals that help the organization fulfill its mission. Although concerns broaden to include planning, administration, fiscal management, and strategy development, as a leader, I still placed the highest priority on serving my people best. I mentored my first line supervisors so that they can develop as leaders as well as prepare them for the nest stage in their careers. I take pride in the fact that in both department management roles I have held, I was succeeded by one of my first line supervisors.
- Training Manager (Urenco)
- Instrumentation and Controls Maintenance Superintendent (Entergy)
Training and Development
One of my first experiences as an instructor in the Navy was when a student came to me who was struggling with a difficult nuclear physics concept that he couldn’t make sense of. I was able to take the information he had been studying and relate it in a more understandable way. I’ll never forget the moment when all the pieces fit together! I could almost see the “light bulb” that came on, and he was so relieved and excited that he finally understood the material he was studying, he thanked me profusely. That experience really made me see that training is so much more than providing utility for an organization; done effectively, training develops individuals, helping them to be more confident in their abilities and providing them with the opportunity to excel. This has been my passion ever since.
At Urenco, I joined the Training department initially as an electrical maintenance instructor. During construction of the facility, I employed a systematic approach (ADDIE) to provide a number of courses to the site electricians and process control technicians, including electrical safety and theory of operation and maintenance of systems such as transformers, power distribution components, process logic controllers, and other electrical and control equipment. My focus was ensuring that the training should be more than just a presentation of information and should seek to engage learners in order to best improve their ability to transfer training to their jobs. My operations background also enabled me to develop training modules for the operations staff, from theory-based courses, such as vacuum technology, to on-the-job training exercises for plant equipment operation. For both groups, I used a combination of classroom instruction, simulation, hands-on practice, and individualized instruction.
My success and versatility as a trainer led to a promotion to Technical Training Supervisor, in which I oversaw the operations and maintenance initial and continuing training programs, and later to Training Manager. In the Training Manager role, I led the training department, which consisted of 14 in-house supervisors, trainers, and administrative support personnel as well as a number of contract trainers to provide the training for the site’s employees, leaders, and supplementary workers. Perhaps my biggest success during my tenure was adapting the training department to meet the needs of the organization that was transitioning from a facility under construction to an online production facility. The accomplishments of which I am most proud include:
- Creation of instructor selection, development, and evaluation processes to ensure that plant personnel benefitted from the highest quality instruction.
- Implemented new strategies for training records management and database administration resulting in an annual savings of over 2000 man-hours and $100,000 in resources.
- Development and implementation of a “Leadership Academy,” focused on providing first time supervisors tools necessary to be effective leaders.
- Expanding the talent pool of the department to include educators from the local community in order to apply sound theory and practice in the area of adult education.
In every business, aspiring to safe and error-free performance is vital to continued success. This is especially important in high risk environments such as nuclear plant operation. As humans, we are all prone to make mistakes, but proper implementation of human performance practices can help us understand the human factors involved and reduce the opportunity for error, minimize the consequences of error, and establish principles of operation in order to achieve the goal of error free performance.
In my last role at Entergy, I was the Performance Improvement Coordinator for the Operations Department. My experience as a Control Room Supervisor and Senior Reactor Operator enabled me to evaluate and craft improvements for operations practices within the department. In this role, I performed investigations into human performance errors, conducted cause analyses, and evaluated conditions that could affect the safety of plant personnel and systems. I conducted performance and training needs analysis and developed interventions based on the results. One example of an intervention was adapting Entergy’s online observation tool to meet the specific needs of the department’s supervisors and managers in order to increase engagement with their team and to track the success of the interventions we implemented. In addition, I compiled and analyzed a multitude of performance indicators to identify trends that could lead to reduced operational effectiveness.
Technical Product Development
Competent production of technical information is crucial to the success of business activities. Effective technical products such as training materials, procedures, guides, evaluations, and other documentation can help ensure processes are executed with precision and efficiency.
One of my strengths is the ability to assimilate and process raw technical information and relate that information into a format that is easily understood by an intended audience. In addition, I have expertise with several software applications in order to produce and improve the quality of delivered products, including:
- Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote)
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Premiere Pro
- Adobe Captivate
These are a few of the types of projects I have completed:
- Procedure Development (Urenco, Entergy)
- Safety procedures, including
- electrical safety,
- energy isolation and control (lockout/tagout),
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use and care
- System Operations Procedures
- Maintenance Procedures
- Training Procedures
- Operations and Maintenance guides and checklists (Railpower)
- Lesson Plans and Instructional Guides (Navy, Urenco)
- System descriptions and student texts (Urenco)
- Observation forms (Entergy)
- Lessons learned (Entergy)
- Cause Evaluations (Railpower, Urenco, Entergy)
- Technical Presentations (Navy, Railpower, Urenco, Entergy)
I am the type of person who has always had a “knack” for just about everything mechanical or electrical. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are helping my dad work on the family vehicles. I rebuilt my first engine when I was eighteen, and I throw myself into any type of home improvement project, from home wiring to shed construction. This has served me well throughout my career, and I thoroughly enjoy being able to troubleshoot and repair complex equipment.
In the Submarine Navy, operators maintain their own equipment, and prior to becoming a reactor operator, I first was trained and rated as an Electronics Technician. In addition to performing routine maintenance on the reactor control systems, I was frequently the go-to tech for troubleshooting and repairing equipment faults. Two of my most substantial maintenance accomplishments in the Navy were the replacement of a control rod drive power supply and the troubleshooting and replacement of a nuclear instrument detector, both of which would have normally been performed by specialized contract personnel. One of my favorite activities as the Reactor Controls Division Leading Petty Officer was training my people on efficient maintenance practices and seeing them complete projects on their own.
My first job out of the Navy was as a Field Service Engineer for Railpower Hybrid Technologies. Our company designed and produced hybrid locomotives, which significantly reduced emissions and fuel costs for rail yard switching operations. My job involved travel to customer sites to evaluate equipment operation, implement field changes, make needed repairs, and perform preventative maintenance. The locomotives were complex machines, involving diesel generators, battery banks, solid state power distribution, pneumatic systems, and PLC control systems which enabled me to exercise all of my maintenance abilities and aptitudes. I frequently developed innovative solutions for complex problems and provided recommendations to the design team for future improvements.
As a maintenance instructor at Urenco, I used my background to develop training modules for maintaining electrical and control equipment including substation transformers, distribution switchgear, and PLC systems, among others. I also provided training for effective maintenance practices and electrical safety practices for working on and around high voltage equipment.
As the I&C Maintenance Superintendent at Waterford 3, my role was more strategic; however, I was able to bring additional maintenance insight from outside the organization to evaluate and improve my department’s maintenance practices. I worked with the first-line supervisors to enhance the planning, coordination, and execution of maintenance activities.
In operations, real-time decision making and team coordination is critical to ensure processes are executed safely, effectively, and efficiently. This requires in-depth knowledge of the processes and procedures involved as well as establishing effective working relationships with team members. Often, Operations is considered “where the rubber meets the road” in an organization’s key mission. I consider operations to be my first role, and a focus on operations has guided me throughout my career, whether I have been directly a part of the operations function or in support roles, such as maintenance or training.
My primary training in the Navy was as a reactor operator, and I served this function at the MARF prototype plant in Ballston Spa, New York, and on board the USS Buffalo, a nuclear fast attack submarine. As I advanced in the Navy, I later led the Buffalo’s engine room operations team as an Engineering Watch Supervisor, in which I directed and coordinated the efforts of nuclear mechanics, electricians, and reactor technicians. While smooth and predictable operations are definitely desirable in any environment, there were occasions where I had to respond to plant casualties and other unexpected malfunctions in both routine and combat situations. My ability to succeed in stressful situations has enabled me to excel in any environment, both in the military and in my return to the civilian workforce.
I began my career at Entergy as a Control Room Supervisor at the Waterford 3 nuclear power plant in Killona, Louisiana. As a licensed Senior Reactor Operator, I led a team of 12 reactor operators and non-licensed operators in plant operations, including direct supervision of all control room activities. During refueling outages, I also had the opportunity to lead refueling and testing teams.
2020 – Present: Thomas Thor Associates
Initial Testing Program Manager - Plant Vogtle
- Lead team of test engineers in the commissioning and testing of reactor plant systems and components at the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear power plant units during construction, pre-operational testing, and startup operations.
ITP Test Engineer III
- Prepare, review, and approve testing procedures.
- Analyze test results using qualitative and quantitative methods to ensure systems and components meet design and regulatory requirements.
- Provide guidance to plant personnel on system design, function, maintenance, and operation.
2019 – 2020: GP Strategies
Principal Learning Specialist
- Led project team to design, develop, and deliver a comprehensive first-line leader development program for new Operations Department supervisors at General Dynamics Electric Boat. During this $1M, year-long project:
- Performed client consultation, scoping, and needs analysis to design a 4-week training program consisting of instructor-led training, on-the-job training, team-based learning, and eLearning experiences.
- Coordinated the efforts of 40 instructional designers, media and content developers, and graphic designers.
- Lead instructional design team in the creation of Electric Boat courses, including non-destructive testing, program management, industrial radiography.
- Led project team in development of a technical competency management system for AES.
- Provide technical assistance and learning design guidance to development teams.
- Developed revisions to training material and examination study guides for the NRC Generic Fundamentals Exam Series, incorporating 10 years of new examination content.
2012 – 2018: Entergy Operations, Inc.
Performance Improvement Coordinator - Operations
- Analyzed human performance to implement interventions, process, and developmental programs to reduce error rate and improve team and individual effectiveness.
- Developed long-range staffing strategies to ensure organizational needs continued to be met.
- Conducted performance and training needs analyses based on evaluations of personnel performance.
- Developed and implemented standard observation plans to ensure that department leaders effectively and fairly evaluated the performance of their teams.
Superintendent, Instrumentation and Controls Maintenance
- Managed a department of 37 maintenance supervisors, technicians, coordinators, and other administrative personnel responsible for preventative and corrective maintenance on the instrumentation and process controls systems of the nuclear plant and supporting systems.
- Partnered with Human Resource functional areas to optimize recruiting, staffing, benefits, and development of Maintenance Department employees.
- Provided organizational guidance, direction, leadership, and planning for all I&C departmental related activities.
- Provided the overall direction, planning and performance of I&C departmental cost activities to ensure achievement of budget goals.
- Determined department training needs, contracts support, budget preparation, and oversight for departmental corrective action, training, and work activities.
Control Room Supervisor
- Led team of 12 licensed and non-licensed operators in the routine, off-normal and emergency activities of operating a nuclear power plant.
- Provided direct supervision of control room activities.
- Responsible for the overall operation of power generating systems.
2006 – 2012: Louisiana Energy Services, LLC
- Overall responsibility for planning, implementing, and managing the training programs at URENCO USA, an NRC licensed gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility.
- Managed a department staff of 14 and an annual budget of 2.2 million.
- Implemented new strategies for training records management and database administration resulting in an annual savings of over 2000 man-hours and $100,000 in resources.
- Transitioned the Training Department focus from plant construction and commissioning to online operations and maintenance.
- Developed and implemented a “Leadership Academy,” focused on providing first time supervisors tools necessary to be effective leaders.
Technical Training Supervisor
- Supervised the development and implementation of initial and continuing training for Operations and Maintenance personnel
- Used Institute of Nuclear Power Operators (INPO) guidelines to ensure personnel met the training requirements for Nuclear Safety programs, including Radiation Protection and Plant Operations.
Senior Technical Instructor (Operations/Electrical)
- Provided system, component, performance and theory training to operators, technicians and contractors.
- Courses conducted in the classroom and in the field include DOE based fundamentals training, OSHA safety training, and technical systems training unique to centrifuge enrichment technology.
- Provided technical assistance and training support during development of preventative and corrective electrical maintenance programs for site electricians and process control technicians
- Led inaugural team of operators in the development of Operations Department procedures during construction of the enrichment plant.
- Developed safety and administrative procedures including Electrical Safety, Lockout/Tagout, and Work Management.
2005 – 2006: Railpower Hybrid Technologies Corp.
Field Service Engineer
- Provided customer support and post-manufacturing service for PLC operated hybrid locomotives.
- Conducted both classroom and on-the-job training for locomotive crews on operation and maintenance of the locomotive systems.
- Performed troubleshooting and repair of electrical locomotive control equipment.
- Trained and managed teams during performance of special projects such as major field change implementation and overhauls.
- Analyzed system design and operation to increase reliability and performance of units currently in the development phase and implement solutions for units already in service.
Louisiana State University
Master of Science
Major: Human Resource Education
The mission of the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development is to enhance the development of individuals, organizations and workforce systems through research that advances the creation and application of new knowledge; innovative teaching that prepares scholars, researchers, and professionals to meet the organizational and human capital needs of a dynamic, interconnected, global society; and service and outreach endeavors that connect the School with the local, national, and international community.
Graduate Coursework Completed:
- Performance/Needs Analysis in Human Resource Development
- Program Evaluation
- Leadership Development
- Team and Group Dynamics
- Instructional Design
- Managing the Human Resource Development Function
- Consulting in Organizations
- Adult Education Theory
- Change Management
- Training and Development
Louisiana State University in Shreveport
Master of Business Administration
The LSUS School of Business provides undergraduate and graduate programs to over 2000 students. It is an AACSB International accredited business school, placing it in the top 5% of business schools worldwide.
Graduate coursework completed:
- Strategic Management of Human Capital
- Organizational Behavior
- Leadership Communication
- Organizational Strategy and Policies
- Marketing Strategy
- Business Statistics
- Management Information Systems
- Financial Management
- Economic Analysis
Received the 2015 University Award for outstanding achievement in the MBA program
Thomas Edison State University
Bachelor of Science
Major: Nuclear Engineering Technology
In addition to undergraduate coursework in social sciences, humanities, physical sciences, mathematics, additional coursework building on Navy Nuclear Engineering Training includes:
- Nuclear Physics
- Heat Transfer
- Fluid Mechanics
- Reactor Fundamentals
- Nuclear Instrumentation and Control
- Radiation Effects
- Radiation Safety
- Nuclear Engineering
Louisiana State University
Doctor of Philosophy
Leadership and Human Resource Development
The Leadership & Human Resource Development (LHRD) PhD offers a research-oriented, broad-based program of study that is strongly grounded in leadership, human resource and organization development, and change management theory. The curriculum is focused on foundational and advanced theory and evidence-based practice to ensure relevance in today's challenging organizational environments.
Building on my coursework completed for my master’s in Human Resource Education, I have focused my coursework in research and analytical practices for the field of organizational development to include a focus on analytical statistics, structural equation modelling, quantitative and qualitative research methods, applied research and further coursework specific to the field of Leadership and HRD including:
- Organizational Science
- Workplace Health and Safety
- Leadership Theory and Practice
- Organizational Leadership
My dissertation, Virtual Supervisor Communication Effectiveness and Intrapreneurial Motivation: The Mediating Roles of Affective Organizational Commitment and Occupational Self-efficacy, investigated how effective communication practices can be used by leaders to motivate individuals working remotely to engage in innovative behaviors.