As an NPPD employee, it was with great pride—and maybe a twinge of envy—that I read Jamie Becker’s January 28 Behind Your Outlet blog about the rewards of restoring power to storm customers in a time of need. I’m a Nebraska farm girl, and the man who shook Jamie’s hand when his power was restored could easily have been my dad. It made me think that my behind-the-scenes position as an architect for the District’s buildings and facilities somewhat lacks luster in comparison to the work of a line technician.
Yet, even I have the responsibility to make things better for my customers – NPPD’s employees – while still using existing and/or fewer resources. Improvements to make our facilities safer, more customer friendly, and efficient is a worthy contribution as well. Just as in NPPD’s restoration after a damaging storm or our siting of a large transmission line, I must consider the options available, assess the costs and risks, and seek input from those affected. In my case, those who work at our facilities to serve customers.
Improvements to make our facilities safer, more customer friendly, and efficient is a worthy contribution as well.
Recently, while cooking supper, I mulled over a work task I had to improve the security at one of NPPD’s office locations. Budget was tight and one solution required employees to use their card keys multiple times in order to pass through a public area, which would be inconvenient and inefficient. There had to be a way to achieve the facility’s security without the duplication and expense. Somewhere between frying the hamburger and boiling the noodles, it dawned on me that a secured passageway with a single controlled entry would free employees from having to card in and out while providing the necessary security. I would like to think I felt the same excitement at the revelation as Jamie does when the lights come back on in a community.
While not glamorous, my story is an example of how employees like me, deep within the organization, are quietly contributing to the fundamentals of public power: to be low-cost, reliable and locally controlled. Every process improvement the District makes, small or large, and every effort we make to do more with less, and every endeavor to make a good system even better has its place in the state’s success story called public power. I may never get the opportunity to shake the hand of a farmer upon restoring electricity, but I can do my part in making NPPD’s operations as efficient and affordable as possible so that my colleagues can fulfill their roles in providing our customers with outstanding customer service.