February 10th, 2015
The Nine Mile Point Chapter President, Rupert Wade, discusses point-based incentives, senior leadership support, and dreaming of camel rides in a conversation with the members of the NAYGN Recruiting and Retention Committee.
[J] My name is Julie Kim and I’m a design engineer from Quad Cities Station. Today, I will be talking with Rupert Wade from Nine Mile Point. Rupert, what is your current position and how long have you been with your company? Also, can you tell us a little about your NAYGN Chapter?
[R] Well, Julie I am actually a part of Exelon at Nine Mile Point in the systems engineering division, I am the Unit 1 and Unit 2 switchyard engineer. I have been at that position for 7 months now. I recently came on as the NAYGN chapter president, more recently, in January.
[J] Oh! Well, congratulations! Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
[R] Well, prior to coming to engineering, I was actually a stock broker for about three years. I had a change of heart as far as what my passions were in my career and I decided finance was not for me and engineering was really were my heart was at. I have been doing that ever since.
[J] Wow, well you must be used to the long hours then, huh. Was a strong work ethic always present in your family?
[R] Growing up in Jamaica, my mom pretty much raised me on her own. One of the main things that she instilled in me was that having a strong work ethic. This was one of the most important behaviors to possess to become successful. It is something I definitely took with me all way into adulthood. And it has worked for me ever since.
[J] That is definitely a good behavior anchor to possess. As a chapter president you need to have a strong work ethic. So, can you tell us what interested you in NAYGN and what keeps you coming back?
[R] What interested me in NAYGN was having the ability to connect with a broad network of professionals throughout the nuclear industry. I also value having the opportunity to contribute my own ideas but also ideas of my peers who share similar interests. Which is why I was interested in coming on as a chapter president.
[J] That’s excellent. Could you give us an example of an event that went well or an event that improved your relationship with the local community?
[R] Hmm. [pause] I would say a great example would be golf tournament we held last September. This benefit raised close to five thousand dollars for a local charity in Oswego. All the money was raised via sponsorships from external vendors who we did business with and we completed the event in a relatively short amount of time. This year, we are planning to extend our timeframe in order to increase participation and we are hoping to make it into a larger event and get more sponsorships. We also want to raise more money.
[J] Awesome. At my site, Quad Cities Station, we have programs such as member of the month, where NAYGN members receive points for participating and can win a fleece or a mug. Do you have anything similar at your site?
[R] Yes, actually we do. Our program is called Participation Encouragement Program, or PEP if you will. It is very similar to the point system. It applies to active NAYGN members, and points are awarded to members for organizing events but the main aspect is that it is intended to reward participation and not penalize people who don’t participate because of job related tasks. The member with the most points at the end of the month is awarded member of the month award and receives a prize. Also, the member with the most accrued points two weeks prior to a NAYGN Conference has the entire trip funded. The travel funds will be ear-marked and the front runners will be informed for them to receive permission from their supervisor. We update all of the supervisors ahead of time of the upcoming NAYGN conferences. Based on the supervisor’s feedback, the prospective members might be widened.
[J] Nine Mile Point is located in New York, so how is the hustle and bustle of City that Never Sleeps?
[R] Actually, in Oswego, people go to bed pretty early. We are located about four and half hours outside New York City and we are actually pretty close to Lake Ontario.
[J] Ok, so back to the point system. How would you perfect the PEP?
[R] I would say that the most important thing for someone looking to implement this at their site is to make sure they do not leave anyone out. One of the big things we made sure to get right at Nine Mile Point, was that participation was awarded and people who could not make it were not penalized. If you are at a work event, you can still get points even if you are detained with a work related task or activity. For example, if you are on-call or responding to an issue, you are still working and we believe you should receive points for that. You are helping the plant to run safely which our station priority. Keeping people incentivized and ensuring everyone is included is very important.
[J] Having successful events and member participation is directly related to Senior Leadership support. How would you rate your Senior Leadership support?
[R] Senior Leadership has been extremely supportive. One of the main focuses of Senior Leadership has been to branch out into our departments within the company. A large portion of our budget is allocated from Senior leadership and they have been completely supportive of all of our events. The leadership support is shared amongst the six pillars of NAYGN; Professional Development, Public Information, Recruiting and Retention, Community Service, Networking, and Knowledge Transfer and the core beliefs behind the creation of NAYGN.
[J] That’s is great to hear. So wrapping up here, with a light-hearted question if you will. What would be your dream vacation?
[R] Hmm. I was would say my dream vacation would be to go to Egypt. I always have wanted to ride a camel. I think that would be pretty interesting.
[J] Awesome! That concludes our interview for today. Thank you Rupert again for advising us on how to “Perfect our PEP” for our NAYGN chapters at the different sites.