Being natives of McCook, my wife, Corinne, and I always desired to settle down at least somewhere close to Nebraska. We always desired not too large of a town to raise a family in, while still being in relative proximity (but not too close) to our future children’s grandparents. While finishing up my Mechanical Engineering degree at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, a Project Engineering position opened up at Gerald Gentlemen Station. The job site interview had me hooked. I sought an environment where I could get my hands dirty and do big things. So far, those things have come true, and it’s only an hour and 15 minutes to get to the grandparents for our seven-month-old daughter, Gwendolen.
As a Project Engineer at GGS, I help to plan and execute large projects that may be necessary due to equipment retirements, equipment upgrades, regulatory requirements, etc. Some days, I spend the majority of the day within the confines of my office sweating out ever-so-crucial contract excerpts. Other days, I am bopping about the plant to figure out how a system operates.
To date, my big project has been the refurbishment of GGS’s 16 coal silos, each capable of holding about 1.65 million pounds of coal. The original carbon steel silos have been subject to quite intense corrosion, so we are lining the cylindrical portion of each silo with stainless steel sheet for structural reinforcement and corrosion resistance. The conical hoppers at the bottoms of the silos are being completely replaced with stainless steel plate. Being involved in this project has been a huge learning experience. The configuration of the coal system at GGS creates numerous rigging and material movement (read: safety) challenges that have been fun to sort out with other GGS personnel and contractors.
Smaller projects keep me busy, as well. I particularly enjoy projects where I can make the jobs of GGS Operators and Technicians easier, safer, and more efficient. Hopefully, the future holds for me a variety of projects where I can continue to learn about different technologies and improve my troubleshooting skills.
I couldn’t successfully complete any project of any magnitude without the other resources available to me at GGS. Personnel from Operations, Engineering, Planning and Scheduling, and the numerous Craft departments have all helped me in the trouble-shooting, planning, and safe implementation of the field-work associated with various projects. I look forward to learning from these personnel and to keep solving problems with them in my future at GGS.