The aging workforce in the commercial power industry presents a challenge to the operating companies. Many of their experienced and knowledgeable staff are reaching retirement age or at least the age they wish to retire from permanent full time employment. They are taking advantage of the excellent retirement programs that most utilities offer and ending their full time employment.
BCP Engineers recognized this as an opportunity and started talking to those people on the verge of retirement and those recently retired. In most cases, the new retirees were not ready to kick back in the rocking chair and still had that need to “feel like they were contributing” to something. If the retiree’s personal and professional needs aligned with BCP’s needs, most were very interested and some were actually excited about the potential opportunity of working part-time as a consultant for BCP to the power generation industry.
BCP targeted a commercial nuclear plant close to the corporate office where they had excellent relationships with key employees and potential retirees. A contract was negotiated with that plant to set up the mechanism to do the work and set the standard rates for performing the work. Standard job titles such as Project Manager, Project Engineer, Cost Engineer, Estimator, Scheduler, and Clerical Support were set up so that a named person did not need to be approved for each task. The contract is set up so that a Project Manager can verbally request a task to be performed. The BCP lead for that work will prepare a written Task Proposal that gives details of the scope of the work, the estimate of the resources required to perform the work, the cost of those resources and the schedule for completing the work. A written proposal is then submitted to the Project Manager for approval prior to commencing work.
The first successes of this initiative were realized in 2008 when a retired construction field engineer was given the task to plan and arrange for soil borings to support the future steam generator replacement. About the same time, a retired engineer was able to take advantage of his previous work preparing a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis for Emergency Plan Sirens and do the same thing at this plant. The engineer was able to do this analysis on weekends and off days while he was actively working at another nuclear plant. Later, a retired project manager was selected to provide support to the new Project Manager on his projects.
The success for BCP and the utility has continued in 2009 with BCP’s project manager continuing to provide support and another retired maintenance superintendent was hired to provide project management support for the Reactor Coolant Pump Motor Upgrade Project. As new potential opportunities are identified, task proposals are submitted. The opportunities range from preparing Emergency Plan Drill Scenarios to developing a project plan for the replacement of the Intake Structure Traveling Screens. We all know that not all opportunities come to fruition, but the future looks bright for BCP supporting this plant.
This initiative can continue to develop at other commercial power plants to take advantage of their retired resources. BCP Engineers intend to continue to talk to retirees and match their interests with the needs of their clients. As this initiative grows, BCP has learned that it is not just promising prospect for retirees, but also for active employees who want to work a few extra hours a week.
This initiative could extend to other utilities if a champion can be found at a specific plant. Are you that person or do you know that person? Do you have some expertise or have performed a task previously that could be quickly and efficiently adapted to another plant (ie the FMEA for the sirens)? Are you actively working but would like some evening and weekend work? Are you between jobs and could use some fill in work? These may all be the start of an opportunity for you.
Interested parties should send desired work schedule (if known) and updated resume to:
Don Marpe at [email protected]
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