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PCC graduates find success at nuclear power plants after studying Electrical Power Production Technology

Published Sunday, July 31, 2016
by Elizabeth Townsend

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Scott Carver, Brandon McDuffie, and Thompson Knight came to Piedmont Community College thinking they would be trained to work in a local power plant. They enrolled in the Electrical Power Production Technology (EPPT) program where they learned about major plant systems through hands-on classwork and internships. Their newly found knowledge and confidence expanded their career opportunities. All three currently work at a nuclear power plant and credit PCC’s program and instructors for their success.

From Scott Carver
The EPPT program prepared me for my internship and eventual full time job with Duke Energy in many ways. A great benefit of the EPPT program is that it covers many aspects of working in the power production field. Once you graduate, not only will you know how electricity is produced in different types of power stations, but also how to maintain the equipment that is used to generate it. This education gives you a wide range of possible job opportunities in the end, including operations, mechanical maintenance, and electrical/I&C fields.

The experience and knowledge that I gained through the EPPT and Power Careers Programs at PCC prepared me for a successful career. I graduated in December 2011 and two weeks later was hired into a full time position at Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant, as a Nuclear Maintenance Tech. I don’t believe that I would be where I am now without the help of Mac McCormick, PCC’s Electrical Power Production Technology Program, and the Duke Energy Power Careers Program.

From Brandon McDuffie
I started at Piedmont Community College in the Electrical/Electronics program and soon double-majored with the Electrical Power Production Technology program. Both programs helped me in learning the theory and practical knowledge of a working power plant. I received an internship at the Roxboro Fossil plant with, at the time, Progress Energy, and interned in Operations, Mechanical maintenance, and I&E maintenance.

PCC’s EPPT program and my internship helped me land a position at the Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, NC. I am now an I&E technician and I maintain the plant’s instrumentation, controls, and electrical equipment. I use the skills and knowledge obtained from the EPPT program literally every day; whether it be basic operation of power plant system (i.e. Condensate system or Main Steam system) or utilizing theory, operation, and skills gained from the Motors & Controls class or Instrumentation class instructed by Mac McCormick in the program.

From Thompson Knight

For the past four years, I have been working at the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant’s Maintenance Department as a nuclear I&C technician. Nuclear is very different from fossil, yet at their core, they can feel very similar at times. There is so much to learn, see, and absorb at these plants that a strong fundamental understanding of how they operate is essential to moving forward - and to that I owe the Power Careers Program, offered to EPPT students at PCC. This program sets the foundation for understanding power plants, with a strong emphasis on functionality, theory, design, terminology, schematics, safety, and much more. The program even offers specialized hands-on experience for craft positions such as mine, requiring a thorough understanding of instrumentation: thermocouples, motor/air operated valves, transducers, level transmitters, and controllers.

As an I&C technician, I appreciate such a strong education that directly related to my field of work, and for the opportunity to use the skills my education provided. Lastly, I'd like to thank Charlie Sawyer for believing in a young man that was unsure of himself. Never give up!

Programs available at PCC
Electrical Power Production Technology
Electrical Power Production Technology program teaches students about major plant systems needed for the reliable operation of power plants, including but not limited to boilers, combustion equipment, steam turbines, generators, control logic, fundamentals of operation, equipment maintenance, environmental control equipment, and associated governmental regulations. For more information, visit http://www.piedmontcc.edu/power or contact Mac McCormick at (336) 322-2178 or
mac.mccormick@piedmontcc.edu.

Industrial Systems Technology
Industrial Systems Technology curriculum is designed to prepare or upgrade individuals to safely service, maintain, repair, or install equipment. Instruction includes theory and skill training needed for inspecting, testing, troubleshooting, and diagnosing industrial systems. Students will learn multi-craft technical skills in blueprint reading, mechanical systems maintenance, electricity, hydraulics/pneumatics, welding, machining or fabrication, and includes various diagnostic and repair procedures. Practical application in these industrial systems will be emphasized and advanced course work may be offered. For more information, contact David Wehrenberg at (336) 322-2135 or david.wehrenberg@piedmontcc.edu

Electrical Systems Technology
Electrical Systems Technology curriculum is designed to provide students with the skills and technical background required for entry-level employment in the installation and maintenance of electrical/electronic systems found in residential, commercial and industrial facilities. Most training is hands-on and includes such topics as AC/DC theory, basic wiring practices, digital electronics, programmable logic controllers, industrial motor controls, and the National Electric Code. For more information, contact Roland Roberts at (336) 322-2238 or roland.roberts@piedmontcc.edu.

Mechatronic Engineering Technology
Mechatronic Engineering Technology curriculum is designed to prepare or upgrade individuals to obtain jobs in the manufacturing industry. Students will learn multi-craft technical skills in blueprint reading, mechanical systems, electrical/electronic systems, hydraulics/pneumatics, automation, and includes various diagnostic and repair procedures. Practical application in the mechanical and electrical systems will be emphasized and advanced course work may be offered.

Photo: PCC Graduates, Scott Carver, Brandon McDuffie, and Thompson Knight