Teamwork matters at gas generation facility
Justin Wooley and Brent Pinkerton followed different paths to their careers at the Wildcat Point Generation Facility in Rising Sun,Md., but are both exactly where they want to be.
“I was trying to be like my Dad,” says Wooley, instrument controls and electrical technician at the combined-cycle plant. Growing up in Texas, Wooley was influenced by his father who worked in the power industry. A family friend suggested attending an instrumentation school and the rest is history. Wooley had options after school, but says, “I really wanted to be at a power plant. It’s a lot safer.”
Wooley traveled to Maryland to assist with the opening of Wildcat Point; the leadership quickly impressed him.His request to join the team became reality once the plant started operating in 2018. He and his wife are big believers in the co-op business model and culture.
A Pennsylvania native, Pinkerton took engineering classes after high school and worked odd jobs. He thought about pursuing a career in automotive design. “I like cars,” admits the power plant mechanical technician. Following the lead of friends who enrolled in the power program at a tech school, Pinkerton, with little to no knowledge of the power industry, found his way to an entry-level position at Wildcat Point.
Pinkerton was intrigued by the jet engines used at the plant, boasting 400,000 horsepower. “As a car guy,” he says, “that just excites me. They’re fun to work around and on. I never thought I’d be here.”
Both compare their professions to the military culture: No one left behind. The teamwork and camaraderie, which plant personnel often refer to as a family atmosphere, make them look forward to coming to work each day.
Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, a generation-and-transmission cooperative owned by 11 mid-Atlantic electric co-ops, operates Wildcat Point. Wooley and Pinkerton appreciate the smaller size of the company, which allows for familiarity with coworkers right up to senior leadership. Training and development opportunities also are key factors in employee retention at ODEC.
For more, visit vmdaec.com/powerfulcareers.