By Chuck Walker
MOBILE, Ala. – Teamwork is one of those terms people like to talk a lot about, especially in a work environment. But, when others try to tell you what teamwork means to them, we walk away thinking, I don’t think you know what teamwork means.
Kevin Herr, Powerplant Shift Operator at Carters Lake, has been the embodiment of teamwork and selfless service throughout his 25-year career.
“I love this job,” Herr said. “I wouldn’t have done it for so long if I didn’t love it. It’s crazy hours, working days and nights. It’s a nice mix. Sometimes you have people around, other times is kind of a solitude. This job is always changing.”
Herr, who is currently working a 120-day tour at Walter F. George Dam, started off his career as a laborer at Buford Dam in Lake Lanier and after a few years decided he wanted to get into hydropower. After he got into hydropower, he worked at Walter F. George from 1994-2001, before switching to his current position at Carters Lake.
However, despite being based out of Carters Lake, Herr volunteers to help out often at Powerhouses that need help, most often at Lake Seminole in Florida, but currently at Walter F. George.
It is that kind of dedication that has impressed Michael Nordhaus, maintenance supervisor at Walter F. George.
“Kevin helps out a lot and he has been helping our area since 2015,” Nordhaus said. “He sacrifices a lot in coming down to help us out. He is a top-of-the-line operator and he is very knowledgeable. We can always depend on Kevin to help us out if we need an operator.”
Herr said since COVID-19 first hit in 2020 it has required Powerhouse Operators, much like everyone else to work together as a team and press on to get the job done, despite new challenges.
‘At the very beginning of COVID we had to do a lot of telework, which is unusual for us,” Herr said. “And it was a hard transition when we came back into the powerplants. We basically divided our crew into two crews and kept them separate in case some got sick or tested positive, to mitigate that kind of stuff. At Carters, we uniformly went above and beyond and did the cleanup ourselves and cleaned the control room ourselves. We’ve gotten used to living with COViD now.”
Herr’s advice for anyone who wants to become a Powerhouse Operator, is to keep your options open and don’t close any doors.
“Get your foot in the door,” Herr said. “Get your degree and get good grades. Be willing to move. Do what you have to do in order to pursue your dream.”
Herr’s goal for the future are pretty simple, to keep doing what he loves to do.
“I’m going to keep doing this,” Herr said. “I’ve been all around this District and I love it. The Army Corps of Engineers is the greatest organization to work for and I love it.”