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Michael Kirwan: keeping the lights on in five states

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Michael Kirwan2.jpgName: Michael Kirwan, federal employee

Title: Supervisory Power System Dispatcher

Location: Watertown, South Dakota

Region: Upper Great Plains


When did you start working with WAPA?

I started working with WAPA in 2008.


What is the most interesting thing you have worked on at WAPA? The 2011 Missouri River flood and the 2016 Christmas ice storm. Both events brought out the best in the UGP team. 


What do you wish people understood about your job and the work you do? Transmission Operations is a 24-hour a day, seven-day a week, 365-day a year commitment. The people I work with are very committed to ensuring the lights stay on. We make important operational decisions very quickly to ensure the system stays reliable and also make sure we stay compliant with all the North American Electric Reliability Corporation standards that may be in play. In the past we have dealt with blizzards and ice storms on one side of our system while at the same time lightning and tornados were tearing up transmission elements on the other side. 


Tell us something about yourself we wouldn't find on your resume. I enjoy hunting, working and spending time with my family on my father's ranch in South Dakota. I have been involved in playing and coaching baseball for the past 35 years.


How is what you do tied to WAPA's mission? My team keeps the lights on in five states.

Page Last Updated: 3/3/2020 3:44 PM