Name: Pete Miller, federal employee
Title: Power System Dispatcher (Training Coordinator)
Location: Folsom, California
Region: Sierra Nevada
When did you start working with WAPA? 7/7/97. That's a lot of 7s.
What is the most interesting thing you have worked on at WAPA? Back in 2006 I did a little time as an outage coordinator, and we used to use Excel sheets to write switching programs. I partnered with a few folks at Tri State Generation and Transmission, and a few key SN folks and we brought transmission outage application to SN. Thanks again to those key folks, TOA is now a WAPA-wide outage, switching and operations log program. I look forward to fully utilizing all the capabilities of the new version of TOA, which includes electronic switching, switching in the field and switching off of an iPad. We've been beta testing the iPad switching in the field this year. Using a rugged case has worked perfectly. We just need to work through the iPad docking issues. Logging into a facility on your smart device is another capability that we need to utilize.
What do you wish people understood about your job and the work you do? Training today is not what it was back in the "good old days," whatever that means. You can't just sit down with the crusty old operator for a couple months. I don't think most folks realize the time it takes to develop the training. Training development is tough. Task-based training is not tough once you get it set up, but making the training interesting, in order to get the students get engaged so that learning takes place, is the biggest challenge of all. Fortunately in 2014 WAPA hired a second trainer in SN, and he has been a tremendous asset.
Tell us something about yourself we wouldn't find on your resume. I was in the Marine Corps. Why did I join the Marines? The dress blues. As a kid graduating from high school, I didn't know what to do. I was a going to go into the Army like my dad and his brothers did in Korea and World War II. Then a friend of mine said, "Hey, Pete, I just joined the Marine Corps. Come on down and talk to the gunnery sergeant!" So as we walked into the recruiter's office, I saw the Navy and the Army recruiters walking around with hands in their pockets and long hair. Then I turned the corner and saw Gunnery Sergeant Bentley standing in his dress blues. It was awesome! I said, "How can I get a uniform like that?" He said, "Come on in and have a seat!" The first thing he asked was my age. I said 17. He said, "Well, I guess we'd better get your dad in here." My pops signed me up and the rest is history. I've still got those dress blues pressed and ready for inspection.
How is what you do tied to WAPA's mission? By providing task-based training to our power system dispatchers, the SN training department helps provide the power system dispatchers an opportunity to practice, so they can make the correct decisions in those spit seconds of real time when it is critical to take appropriate action to keep the federal power system operating in a safe and reliable manner.