Highlighting high-tech jobs

Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

 

GRDA Instrument Maintenance Superintendent Brett Littlefield (pictured), checks cable connections on a communications system at the Coal Fired Complex. All across GRDA, many employees put high-tech skills to work every day, to maintain the critical systems and equipment that keep GRDA operating 24/7/365.

GRDA Instrument Maintenance Superintendent Brett Littlefield (pictured), checks cable connections on a communications system at the Coal Fired Complex. All across GRDA, many employees put high-tech skills to work every day, to maintain the critical systems and equipment that keep GRDA operating 24/7/365.

A different kind of summer camp came to the Grand River Dam Authority in mid July.

This one was a “summer teacher’s camp” for area educators, facilitated by the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, (located in the MidAmerica Industrial Park). It was a chance for the teachers to explore the many high-tech, good-paying, job opportunities that could await their students after graduation. GRDA participated by hosting the group at its Energy Control Center (atop Robert S. Kerr Dam) one morning and providing more insight into the high-tech jobs that keep the Authority operating round-the-clock.

GRDA’s broad mission – electricity generation and transmission, lake management and more – funnels down to many specific duties inside hydroelectric facilities, electric substations, offices and control rooms. Employees are maintaining computer systems and networks, metering equipment, electric relay components, programmable logic controllers and on and on. Their efforts in these areas help GRDA to not only generate but also transmit electricity, safely and reliability, across a sophisticated energy delivery system comprised of 1,200 miles of power lines and hundreds of substations.

Hosting groups like last week’s teacher’s camp gives GRDA the opportunity to highlight these high-tech jobs, which are filled by hundreds of Oklahomans living, working, and playing right here in local communities. Meanwhile, because they help GRDA to complete its mission, the existence of low-cost, abundant GRDA power and water still remains an attractive inducement for other industries, with even more high-tech career opportunities, to move into the GRDA area.

One great example of this is the MidAmerica Industrial Park (near Pryor). GRDA sells to industrial and manufacturing customers in the Park which is home to “nearly 80 companies that collectively employ over 4,500 people” (maip.com). Like GRDA, many of those firms are operating in environments that will require a highly-skilled Oklahoma workforce for many years to come.

Working together, educators, employers, highly-skilled employees and low-cost electricity are helping to support the economy and boost the quality of life in Oklahoma.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. GRDA’s low-cost, reliable power touches 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.

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