Women At Work: 'Every morning, I put on my hard hat'
Marseyne Snow, Byron Nuclear Plant Manager
Dawn is approaching as I park my car at the Byron Nuclear Generating Station. I enter theplant passing through the same strict security process that all 650 employees and visitors use.
At this hour, many people in communities across northern Illinois are still in bed. But they’ll wake up to homes that are heated or cooled by electricity. Coffee will brew, makeup mirrors will illuminate and televisions will show the morning weather forecast. Electricity is a trusted commodity that we use in one form or another from our first waking moments until bedtime.
In February 2006, I was promoted to the position of plant manager, making me responsible for the day-to-day operations at this Exelon site. Our No. 1 priority is to make sure we safely produce electricity to keep the lights on for our customers.
I first came to this site 29 years ago, in June 1978, after my college graduation. The plant was under construction, and I was hired as a startup engineer. I went on to receive a senior reactor operator license to become a control-room supervisor. Over the years, I worked my way up through various jobs and departments, learning as much as I could about all aspects of operating and maintaining the plant. With the exception of three years, when I worked at other Exelon nuclear generating sites in Illinois, my entire career has been at the Byron facility.
I even met my husband, Bill, here. He now travels around the world as a nuclear power consultant. Whether by nature or nurture, our two daughters, Angie and Alycia, have an interest and ability in math and science.
The site’s strict security makes it difficult for my daughters to visit. They have only seen the inside of the plant a few times and don’t have a complete understanding of what my job entails. But based on the number of calls and pages I receive 24/7, they know I play an important role at the plant.
These calls are an integral part of how I work, and they represent an essential principle of the company I work for. Communications and teamwork are fundamental to the safe, reliable and efficient operation of this plant.
First thing every morning, I put on my hard hat, safety glasses and earplugs and walk across the turbine deck to the control room. I visit with the unit operators to determine whether there are any issues to be dealt with. Control Room activities are critical to the plant’s safe operation, and I need to be aware of any challenges they might face.
Throughout the day, I am involved in a variety of meetings with directors, supervisors and workers; the subject matter can involve safety, human performance, plant maintenance and operation and work management. When I’m not at a conference table, I’m often in the plant, observing work activities performed by the different work crews. Continuous improvement is our objective; we never stop looking for ways to improve our performance.
My husband and I are fond of the Byron/Oregon area and the people here. It has been a good place for our daughters to grow up and attend school. Although my job has kept me busy, when I’m home, I’ve always made it a priority to concentrate on family matters first. Both of my daughters are actively involved in school sports, and I’ve attended their events as often as I could.
I have always tried to lead by example and show Angie and Alycia that they should work hard at whatever they do and work to the best of their ability.
I would encourage any girl in middle and high school to take as much math and science as possible because that is a strategic entry point for many of the technical jobs we offer. My career choice has been diverse and satisfying because of its technical nature. While I’ve worked here for almost 30 years, I’ve served in a number of different positions. I can honestly say it’s always been challenging and rewarding.
I believe the key to my success is my strong support of teamwork. There is no way I can know all the answers, but someone here does. We pull together as a team to figure out who that is and let him or her be part of the solution.
As a leader I can encourage the entire team to work together and accomplish our goals.
Profile: Marseyne Snow
Lives in: Oregon
Family: Husband, Bill; daughters, Angie, 21, and Alycia, 19
Education: Milledgeville High School, Sauk Valley Junior College, Illinois State University (B.S. in mathematics and physics)
Other interests: Watching daughters’ sporting activities, pontooning on the Rock River, playing with my dogs
Experience: Started at Byron station in June 1978 as system startup engineer; control room supervisor (through 1987); regulatory supervisor (1987-90); operating engineer (1990-92); support services director (1992-93); work control director (1993-98); maintenance director (1998-99); operations director (1999-2000); corporate operations manager (2000-02); nuclear oversight manager at Quad Cities Station (2002-03); work control director (2003-06); plant manager (since 2006)
Last good movie seen: “Freedom Writers”
Community involvement: I try to support a number of local activities, such as American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
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