Image of a graph paper notebook with calculator, pen, pencil and eraser. The words "Closed Circuit" are at the top.

By Philip Reed

The third cohort of WAPA’s two-year Craft Leadership Development Program is underway. Originally established in 2016, the CLDP provides the organization’s craft employees with an opportunity to grow professionally and prepare themselves for future advancement.

The CLDP is designed to allow its participants to reach beyond the scope of their everyday jobs. It assists them in developing the leadership traits and skill sets they will need for the next step in their careers. Through the duration of the program, participants continue to work in their current positions, performing their primary job responsibilities.

All permanent, non-supervisory, journeyman-level craft employees were invited to apply. Twelve participants were selected from the pool of qualified applicants, each of whom had different reasons for applying.

“I am looking forward to meeting new people and resources throughout WAPA,” said Electronic Integrated Systems Mechanic Ryley Thill. “I am also excited to learn new leadership skills as well as gathering tools that will help me be successful in the future, whether it’s in a leadership role or technical role.”

Some of the participants are eager to understand WAPA more completely.

“I am interested in getting a broader view of WAPA, from both a personnel and operational perspective,” said Electronic Integrated Systems Mechanic Richard Rowens. “I am also very optimistic about the training opportunities, both in general leadership as well as technical training. In the end of this, my goal would to be to have the confidence of my leadership and peers with regards to me being a future leader.”

One common refrain was an eagerness to expand their knowledge of different programs and departments.

“It will be great to be exposed to the different areas in WAPA, so that I may improve my knowledge of our business areas,” said High Voltage Electrician Dusty Hawkins. “I look forward to making connections throughout WAPA, and receiving training and practice with different communication and leadership techniques.”

“I hope that with being in the CLDP, I learn more about departments other than mine and why things are done the way they are,” added High Voltage Electrician Steven Smith. “It will also be helpful to have access to a mentor who will help me grow as a leader and the opportunity to meet and network with other people from different regions.”

Smith was not alone in recognizing the value of mentors.

“I am looking forward to the mentorship opportunities the program has to offer,” said Electronic Integrated Systems Mechanic Nathan Harris.

Still others set their sights on the work ahead – positively so, knowing how much they stood to gain professionally from the program.

“This is a great opportunity for personal growth,” said High Voltage Electrician Duane Wahlstrom. “I hope to improve my skills to better do my job.”

“I look forward to the professional development coursework and the opportunity to work on the capstone project,” said High Voltage Electrician Aron Brouillette. “It will be beneficial to learn how to contribute to improving the organization and processes where change is warranted.”

He concluded by reflecting on the possibilities ahead.

“The mentors, committee members, sponsors and other participants in the program have an enormous amount of knowledge, information and experiences,” he said. “It will be a pleasure to work with and learn from them.” 

CLDP participantRoleRegion
Aron BrouilletteElectricianSierra Nevada
Humberto FelixElectronic Equipment CraftsmanDesert Southwest
Nathanial HarrisElectronic Equipment CraftsmanRocky Mountain
Dustin HawkinsElectricianSierra Nevada
Justin HitzmanElectricianDesert Southwest
Paul InmanLinemanUpper Great Plains
James LeachElectricianDesert Southwest
Richard RowensElectronic Equipment CraftsmanDesert Southwest
Steven SmithElectricianSierra Nevada
Ryley ThillMeter and RelayRocky Mountain
Duane WahlstromElectricianRocky Mountain
Johnathan ZubLinemanRocky Mountain

​Note: Reed is a public affairs specialist.

Last modified on March 5th, 2024