I am a Senior Electrical Systems Engineer at TVA’s River Operations in Chattanooga. First of all, I love my job because it requires that I travel to the most breathtakingly scenic sites in the Tennessee Valley. There are many places that I have been that have stunningly beautiful scenery, from Wilbur Dam, Apalachia Dam, Fontana Dam, Ocoee Dams, Hiwassee Dams, and too many places in between to mention. In addition, I have had the opportunity to meet friendly and diverse people from many lifestyles-- a dairy farmer, a mud-track racecar driver, a pilot, an auto body painter, and many more. It keeps the conversation interesting.
In my work group, our primary function is to support the hydroelectric plants on issues concerning the performance of power producing machines and repairing the malfunctioned power generation equipment as safely and efficiently as possible without affecting the environment. We are the first line of engineering support for any major equipment failures in our hydroelectric dams. My job is very exciting because I could be somewhere in between Watauga Dam in upper eastern Tennessee to Kentucky Dam, near Paducah, Kentucky at a moments notice. My department supports, maintains, and oversees the performance of 29 conventional hydroelectric dams and one pump storage plant. That is total of 119 hydro-electric generators. On a normal spring day, if a 40 megawatt generator fails, TVA would lose roughly $36,500 per day, until it is repaired and returned to service. It does not seem like much compared to the bigger nuclear or fossil units, but hydroelectric generator uses the cheapest fuel-- water. As long as it rains we have fuel to generate electricity. Essentially, my department is like an emergency first response team for a major failure, so I come to work everyday always expecting the unexpected. I face many different issues that arise, which results in never having a dull moment at work.
In addition to traveling across the Tennessee Valley, I also have many experienced colleagues that I can relay on, and my work group at TVA is very supportive and they are always willing to give me a helping hand. Also, my manager and supervisor are always willing and ready to help me and deal with the difficult issues that arise. At the end of the day, I have a sense of pride that my hard work and effort contributed in delivering reliable electric power to many homes and business in Tennessee Valley communities. So, when people come home from work and turn on their lights and the air conditioner, and other electric amenities, think about the how many people who have worked rigorously in hot and cold condition, and also, in dangerous environment to deliver the electricity to your homes to enjoy.
Finally, I believe TVA is the best place to work in Tennessee Valley region.
- Tony Segovia, Senior Electrical Systems Engineer