Power Plant Culture has a Wisdom of its own

I worked in a coal-fired power plant for 20 years.  First as a Summer helper working in the maintenance department.  Then as a Janitor, a Laborer and an electrician.  After 18 years as an electrician, I finally escaped to lead a different life on August 19, 2001 when I went to work for Dell.  After 12 1/2 years at Dell, I left to work for General Motors April 2014.  But as much as I tried, the Power Plant culture never left me.  Now, I offer some true tales about Power Plant men.  They are a dying breed of unsung heroes that perform extraordinary feats of magic using welding rods, wrenches, cables, ladders, tractors, trucks and cranes.

125 responses

  1. Thanks for stopping by. You have an interesting site here. I’ll check it out further when my ribs heal! 🙂

  2. A unique blog for sure. It’s not quite my thing . . . but there is something about it that I just plain like, something that is drawing me in. I get this feeling that I’ll read something here that doesn’t make sense to me now, but later on in my future will suddenly impart some sort of colloquial wisdom to me. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for continued support of Onelifethislife. I would never of expected to find such a unique topic for a blog like this one. I find it rather interesting … Down-right fascinating!!! Your writing syle is very complex but simply explained, it’s filled with humorous moments and it’s so captivating that you just want to read more. Again, I am fascinated by your work and look foward to reading future posts.

    1. Thank you @OneLife for your kind remarks.

  4. Because I always enjoy your stories (and I agree with Onelifethislife about your blog being downright fascinating) I nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can read all about it here: http://attemptsindomesticity.com/2012/08/09/awards-and-thankfulness/

    Please don’t feel any pressure if it’s not your thing, just helping spread some blog love around! =)

    1. Thanks Jessamine. You have made my day!

  5. Hello, Stumbled across and enjoying your blog.
    Monty Hansen, powerplant operator for 28 years, coal fired and combined cycle
    looking forward to retirement in another 5 years or so

    1. Monty, It is an honor that you have enjoyed the stories that I have experienced while working in the power plant. Over my 20 years, I worked with many great men like yourself. You have an honorable profession that goes unnoticed by most. If people would only think about what it takes each time they flip a light switch or turn on their air conditioner, they would realize the hard work and dedication it takes to give the public the confidence that their electricity will be there when they need it.

  6. Neil Southerland | Reply

    I have been working as an AO at a very large mid-west power plant for four and a half years after retiring from a local utility with 30 years service. I just wanted to say I did not know you could have so much fun and get a paycheck. We work very hard as our station is 35 years old and something always breaks. Having said that everyone AO’s and EO’s chip in and get the job done. I have never had a job where we cut up and kid around and really have a good time. Another thing that has surprised me is a lot of the “old timers” have excellent educations MS, MA, MBA, MS and a PhD. I have ask around about this and a lot of them came here in the late 70’s and early 80’s during hard times. Now they make to much money and have to many years invested to leave and not get there retirement. If someone wants a rewarding first or second career the power plant could be a great place for them, provided they like to have a good time at work.

    1. Thanks Neil for your great comment! I can’t agree with you more!

  7. In my most recent (9/30) blog post, i nominate (and with questions for) you for the Liebster Award. Check it out, and congratulations Plant Electrician 🙂

  8. […] Power Plant Culture has a Wisdom of its own […]

  9. Nice candid stories! Have you ever seen the Australian film “The Castle”? One of my favorite lines of all time comes from that movie. The main character lives near some HUGE transmission lines (which happen to be located next to a major air strip – something that, as a community planner I am pretty sure would not ever happen) and loves to start up at them because it “Reminds me of man’s ability to generate electricity”. This guy is definitely NOT a NIMBY-er 🙂
    NIMBY = Not in my backyard (most people would not want major transmission lines in their backyard) 🙂

    1. Thanks Ren. I have not seen this movie but I’ll go look it up now.

  10. Enjoyed reading, thanks so much. 🙂

  11. Thank you Sir.

    I’ve worked with some of you boys as part of my oil/gas and associated industries works.

    You are indeed a special and often highly competent breed – thus your approbation is most humbly appreciated.

  12. Once again Sir, thank you.

  13. thanks for the follow. I enjoyed your blog and I’ll be back to check it out again.

  14. Hello. Thank you for liking “paradoxes” on healingfor hearts. Come visit again sometime. I had fun reading some of your stories on your home page. Hannah

  15. Thanks for following FIGHTER FAITH. If you would like to receive regular updates by email and receive a free gift, come on back and join my email subscriber list.

  16. Love this inside look into an industry a lot of us don’t have firsthand knowledge about — yet at the same time, many of the workplace personalities and scenarios you describe are ones many of us can relate to, despite our field…your site is a great mix I’m enjoying exploring!

  17. My dad was an electrician at GM for 25 years. Your stories put a smile on my face and bring back good memories.

    1. Interesting. I work for GM now, but not as an electrician. I am now in IT.

  18. Love your blog. My husband works in the natural gas industry. He started his career with Northern Natural Gas in Sunray, TX. Now we’re with Florida Gas.
    I read your posts to my husband all the time. We get a kick out if the commonalities.
    Thanks for following my blog!
    Leslie aka Nananoyz at Praying for Eyebrowz

    1. Thanks Leslie. I am glad I am able to entertain both you and your husband!

  19. Hello,superb Blog,nice to be here,Regards from Poland ,EM

  20. What an interesting blog you have here! I’m so glad you liked my post because it brought me here. I have nothing in common with the Power Plant Culture, and yet you’ve pulled me in. You have a new follower and I look forward to reading more!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I hope you enjoy these true stories of gallant power plant men.

  21. This is such a unique site! Great that your sharing all these stories that would go unheard otherwise!

  22. […] Power Plant Culture has a Wisdom of its own. […]

  23. Thanks for liking my post. This is an interesting blog!

  24. This blog is fabulous. Thanks for liking my recent post and leading me back here.

    1. You are welcome. I am glad you are entertained. 🙂

  25. Thanks for liking our post. We read your latest post and are very much inspired by your sharing about your Catholic faith. We are surprised and happy to know you’re wearing the scapular just like we do. May God bless you and your blog. May Our Lady of Mount Carmel guide and protect you. B and R

  26. Hi Mr Power Plant Man
    You have a burning desire for justice to express. These are wonderful stories about how decency matters and survives.
    Evangeline

  27. I liked this a lot . . .
    ” . . . what I learned was that when your friend has decided to make a dumb decision, no matter how much it is going to hurt them in the long run, after you have tried to convince them not to take that route, you have to stand by them as much as possible. I have had some friends in the past make really stupid decisions in their lives. No matter how dumb it is…. remain their friend. How much of a friend are you if you cut and run because of their bad decisions? Like my friend Bob Ray reminds me often…. “You can’t fix stupid.” No. You can’t. But you can be there to help when needed.”

    1. I have a friend named Bob Ray who says the same thing. I think we all need a Bob Ray in our lives to keep us pointed in the right direction with both their phrases of wit and nonsense.

      1. I aspire to “phrases of wit and nonsense.”

  28. Thank you to like my poetry. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

  29. There’s something about the working class 🙂
    I didn’t have to look far to find something interesting

  30. I am an electrical engineer setting up SEMS systems in India. Your stories resonate with my day.

  31. Super interesting idea for a blog! Love the peek into plant life.

  32. Thank you for liking my post. After looking around your blog site, I see there are still many topics I have no idea existed. I will be happy to learn something new!

  33. We will need those skills again when we start building starships.

    1. Star Trek was an early influencer of my interests when I was a child. Now I am a Senior Control Operator.

      1. jannaruusuvuori

        So who is your influencer now?

  34. Firstly, thank you for the kind thoughts about Vera Lynn. More importantly, if I thought I could land a job in a Power Plant that were within reasonable commute to San Francisco, I would be there in a New York minute. Sadly, I have too many years where I am to walk out. I used to unload boxes for United Parcel Service, then was promoted to being a loader–it was physically demanding, and the damned glasses slipped & slid, especially during Indiana humidity. But it was real work, and I was not hectored nor harassed as I am now in 21st Century San Francisco. I appreciate your tribute to your former line of work. Perhaps time & other experiences have provided a new way of looking at things? In any event, you have a topic area that’s a first for me to encounter. Thanks for sharing your observations. Those who drive trucks, delivering the things we see, we buy, we wear, we eat, we use–they are another group of unsung heroes. My brother is one of them. All the best, Thomas

    1. Thanks Thomas for your kind comments. I’m glad to meet you. Kevin

  35. Thank you for your interesting posts. I wanted to show my husband a certain post you did lately. It was about getting a new computer with more storing space than you had and then it showed up to have less, but you found out that there was more. You made fun with your boss, who thought he had bought a wrong thing. I just can´t find it again. My husband has worked as a scientist for so long that he knows the development of computers from the early seventies. The title name was something from a children’s book.

      1. Thank you very much. Why couldn’t I find it myself? Now my husband is going to have a good laugh reading this story.

  36. Thanks for the like, very much appreciated. Your site is so different, you just have to dive in, and I haven’t drowned yet. Will be in touch.

  37. Thanks so much for following my blog – glad you like it. I’ll definitely be visiting here – yours is a very original site. Could provide the setting for a novel!

    1. Thanks Curtis. Power Plant Men are certainly worthy of their own novel.

  38. I as a gamekeeper’s son I regret the passing of the old agricultural communities in which I grew up. The countryside for me is now a place of sadness as I think of the country people forced to abandon their way of life so as to make way for the monied incomes. Consequently I undrstand your nostalgia for the old life as a power plant man.

  39. I greatly admire people who strives and work hard, have dreams in life to achieve the goal of their life. Me and my two sons started from very low kind of life, but thanks to God, we had able to survive. I admire you man, and thanks for reading my birthday blog. God bless you.

  40. What an amazing scope for life you have! Thank you for popping into my blog – much appreciated 🙂

  41. You were always one or two steps ahead of the economy and technological revolutions (the downsizing of power plant, the downfall of Dell?, GM?) Whereas I have been totally caught by the hook. In book publishing. ughhhh..

  42. A great project! I think it is important to write the history of everyday life, including the working life. I am currently working on some letters and works of art from my grandfather and father (as you know). At a later time, I will also publish more from these letters (as well as others that happen to have survived in our family that my mother has transcribed). The descriptions of my grandfather of his professional life as a graphics artist, especially his work for industrial customers, are fascinating me more and more. The world back then in the 1950s and 1960s was incredibly different from today’s.
    I am looking forward to read what you have written here.

    1. Thanks Andreas. I hope you enjoy these stories about power plant life. Kev

  43. Excellent Plant Electrician. I came over after you liked one of my posts and I am glad I did. Although this is an industry I know nothing first hand of I do find it so far most enjoyable to read. Will be back soon.

  44. Very interesting to know about power plant men. Thank you for the visit and like.

  45. Thank you for visiting my blog. You are doing a great job here.

  46. Just a small thank you for reading the poetry. You”re site puts a great spin on the topic. I’ll be back.

  47. This is really interesting stuff. Keep it up Power Plant Man. Cheers

  48. Thanks for connecting with me. There’s something really nice and solid here. I used to be a farmer with lots of electric water pump motors depending on power plants. The juice rarely failed to flow. We know about some other juice that NEVER fails.

  49. Only A MAN can do what you do by sharing all the knowledge and experiences that you ran into spending many years in your profession. This blog needs more attention than what it gets now.

    Sincerely

  50. I love the way you share your experiences and knowledge. It’s more about more than just power plant operations and adventures; it’s about life lessons. Thank you for sharing!

  51. Absolutely right and great!

  52. Hi,
    Thank you for visiting my blog and I look forward to reading some of your stories.
    Shalom,
    Pat Garcia

  53. Happy I found this blog. Love the stories and puts spotlight on deserving bunch of hardworking people!

  54. Bravo for your blog. I have three electricians in our family.
    Leslie

    1. Thanks Leslie. They might enjoy some of these Power plant posts.

      1. I’ll tell them all about it.
        Leslie

  55. What a surprise to find a “like” from a blog named “Power Plant Men!” Couldn’t wait to come home from work and check the site out. Wow, my dad worked 30 plus years as a pipe fitter building ships outside Philly. I am going to enjoy reading your site for a trip back to the “shipyard” with the men and pipe! Thank you for visiting my site. I am a VERY new blogger , and learning it’s all about making new friends and learning about their interest. Blessings! denise

    1. Denise. I couldn’t be happier that we have found each other! Tell me more about your father. Kevin

    2. Gosh, it has taken me two days to get back. Couldn’t find a way to respond on my laptop, so here I go with a letter at a time! My Dad was man of integrity, a WWII veteran, and a veteran of sorts having survived 30 plus years of heat and cold of working in the shipyard. Much respect to the working men and women of elements. Thank you for asking.

  56. booklovinggrandma | Reply

    If only more people understood and appreciated what goes on behind the scenes at the plants that send power into our homes (something which people take for granted until the power goes out!), we would know how indebted we are to those who make it happen. Thank you for liking my blog post.

      1. Welcome will post there regularly Ian

  57. I just noticed you have quite a following. Thanks for reading and liking my posts. Take care

    1. Thanks Robin. It’s the fascination with true Power Plan Men and the lives they lead that draws people to this site. Kev

  58. Thanks for liking my blog. Yours provides a view into an interesting world few of us are familiar with. Very interesting, and thanks again.

  59. You are very interesting. Part of an industrial culture that I respect.

    Thanks for taking a look at Modes of Flight a while back.

    1. You’re welcome and thanks for the compliment.

  60. […] b) Power Plant man ( sir with the amount of experience you have…. I’m waiting to hear a quote of your own from your real life experiences ) […]

    1. Thanks Charitha. My posts are about the great Men and Women I worked with. I rarely come up with anything worth quoting on my own.

  61. Hi, Thanks so much for your writing; it is such an interesting topic to me! I am very naïve about your world! Also, thanks so much for liking my post on rest! I appreciate you stopping by and am so flattered you liked it!

    1. Thanks Sarah for your kind comments. Kev

  62. Thanks for your like on my blog, this place is really great!

  63. Totally unique. Great site.

  64. I like your stories–your way of telling them… though you are writing them from the Dark Side. I keep hope hoping for a hint that you have waken from the hologram.

  65. Thanks for liking ‘The Chamber’. I’ve been on your site before but I will follow you so I don’t lose track of your blog.

  66. I wanted to thank you for your readership over the past year on my blog and let you know that my short story, The Visitor, is available for free download today through Sunday. I trust that you will find it to your liking, and I’d love to get your opinion/review. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013MBWCJU?refRID=YGNCP8GTJXPDK3CR7FMS&ref_=pd_ybh_l_1

  67. Just wanted to stop in and thank you for you encouragement. I have appreciated it this past year.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the rest of us. Kev

  68. You have a great blog. More power to your elbows.

  69. Hi! I am inviting you to participate in the Three Day Quote Challenge. Please go to my post link for the details: https://jeneanebehmeswritings.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/the-three-day-quote-challenge-day-2/ Thanks!

  70. What a unique premise you have. Thanks for stopping by to like my post, The Emoji Book Tag.

  71. Just found your Blog on a night shift net-surf over lunch at my combined cycle power plant. Love it, Love it, Love it! 31+ years and I haven’t “escaped” yet. Started in a District Line engineering office & couldn’t stand office work. Took a Coal Plant Job running the Coal belts ! They thought I was NUTS ! Worked all operations positions up to CRO, became an I&C Tech and had many great years. Met tons of great people & can relate to your many stories. Heck, I’m still living them. Currently, get this, a Power Generation Technician at a new(er) state of the art combined cycle plant. The technology may have changed, but the magic goes on(read “work”) and the stories continue to grow! Keep up the good work, it’s like listening to an old friend…Thanks, CJBuck
    PS. yes, they call me Buck. Doesn’t every plant have one?
    PPS. We do our time sheets on the computer!, on pretty much the same form used 30 years ago & then print them out & sign them…..LOL !

    1. Thanks Buck for your comments. I’m glad you enjoy these stories. Kev

  72. So you are telling about yourself?

    1. My experiences. I do include side stories from other parts of my life.

  73. Nice reading Mickey. You’ve come along way and I’m proud to have known you. You are truly a wonderful man. Keep up the blog, you have a great talent for it.

  74. Fascinating topic that warrants a book. Micro-history fans would love it! There are plenty of us out there, too. Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and l”like” my most recent post. It was nice of you to do that. Best wishes for a great 2017!

    1. Thanks Libby for you kind words.
      I am writing my first book. It is called “Secret Lives of Power Plant Men” with a subtitle of: “Diary of a Summer Help”. It will be about my first summer as a summer help when the power plant was still being built.

      1. Writing and publishing a book is no easy task…regardless of the material. I am so happy for you and hope that it is quite a success.

      2. Thanks. Now that I’m almost finished writing it I have been reading up on how to publish it.

      3. Publishing it is going to be quite the challenge on several fronts…no matter the awesomeness of the product or author’s talents.

      4. Yeah. That’s what I’m beginning to understand.

  75. Thank you for liking my post. Feel free to leave a comment anytime. Jeff

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