Hydro power and staying power

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

Combined, these three veteran members of Team GRDA have 120 years of hydroelectric experience. Since the late 1970s, GRDA’s (from left) Willie Crawford, Terry Latta and Craig Landrum have been a presence in GRDA’s powerhouses at Pensacola Dam, Robert S. Kerr Dam and the Salina Pumped Storage Project.

In the Grand River Dam Authority’s hydroelectric facilities – Pensacola Dam, Robert S. Kerr Dam and the Salina Pumped Storage Project – electricity is produced by harnessing the power of falling water. Many times, this electricity is referred to as hydropower. However, within these facilities, “staying power” is also an important product.

At its November 8 meeting, the GRDA Board of Directors recognized this staying power by presenting special resolutions of commendation to three longtime employees. Willie Crawford, Craig Landrum and Terry Latta are all members of the GRDA Hydro Department and together, they have helped the Authority create hydro power since the late 1970s.

In other words, their 40-year careers epitomize staying power.

All three joined Team GRDA at a time when hydroelectricity was the only type of electricity GRDA generated (prior to the construction of the Coal Fired Complex) and all three have spent the majority of their careers in the shadow of a GRDA dam. When it comes to knowledge and skill associated with hydroelectric production, flood gate operation, hydroelectric-turbine generator maintenance or the inner workings of a powerhouse, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Oklahoma with more knowledge than GRDA’s Crawford, Landrum and Latta.

“You have given 120 years of collective service to the Authority,” GRDA CEO Dan Sullivan told the trio during the November board meeting, “and we thank you for your continued service.”

No, none of these hydropower experts are retiring but we wanted to take this opportunity to again recognize their service, skills and dedication to GRDA and its important hydroelectric operations. Like all members of Team GRDA, they play an important role in helping to keep the lights on and electricity flowing. In fact, the low-cost, reliable and abundant power produced by GRDA touches 75 of 77 counties in Oklahoma. It is also part of overall GRDA operations that generate between $510 and $581 million in economic activity each year.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electricity and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.