Outage Maintenance Coordinator | Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant
Calibration and diagnostic equipment are crucial for discovering anything even the tiniest bit off-kilter in TVA’s enormous machinery. But who diagnoses the diagnostic equipment?
That would be a metrologist. Allen Humphrey learned that delicate science in the Marine Corps before transitioning into a position at TVA as an instrument mechanic. Now, he serves as an Instrumentation & Controls outage coordinator at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant.
“I’ve been a few places,” Humphrey recalls. “I was in Desert Storm/Desert Shield. I served in the Gulf from August 1990 to April 1991. When I retired after 22 years, I’d planned to take a job in Quantico at Marine Corps Systems Command, but then I met my wife, who’s from Alabama—and the rest is history.”
Although he grew up in Indiana, Humphrey’s extended family is from Alabama, and his grandfather worked at TVA in the 1950s and 60s as an electrician at Muscle Shoals. Now Humphrey is deeply involved in making sure Browns Ferry’s outages run smoothly.
“I’m the middleman for my department,” he explains. “I’m responsible for coordination of scheduled refueling outages with the other plant departments. That includes budgeting, reviewing materials, work scope and plant design changes, hiring contractors and identifying the resources required to complete the outage under budget and duration. Everything related to the outage comes through my desk. We have an outage every spring on either unit 2 or 3, and then unit 1 is every other calendar year in October. It never slows down but regardless of the daily demand, the people involved in putting our outages together are professional, dedicated and take pride in doing the job right the first time.”
Marines are well known for their discipline, and Humphrey is no exception. Being in the Marines taught him valuable skills, including the ability to pay attention to many details at once. He was responsible for reviewing all Marine Corps ground force procurements for calibration requirements, and now he works with his team to make sure all the many facets of an outage are taken care of. In the Corps, his goal was avoiding mistakes and completing the job error-free the first time, and at TVA, that’s still what he does.
“There are a lot of different departments involved in a scheduled refueling outage,” says Humphrey. “Operations, outage management, modifications, electrical, mechanical, engineering, administrative support—the whole plant takes part. I work closely with all of the departments to ensure that each outage work order is ready to be performed error-free when it’s given to an instrument mechanic. I work with a great group of instrument mechanics—our department wouldn’t be successful without their tireless effort.”
A Life of Service
He sees his role as not just a coordinator, but as a liaison. “In the Marine Corps, after coming up through the ranks from technician to calibration chief, I was chosen to be liaison which means I was responsible for coordinating calibration chief training and ensuring the calibration chiefs had the correct procedures, calibration standards, tools and work shelters ready to deploy at a moment’s notice,” he says. “My final position in the Marine Corps was as the senior calibration chief, and that really readied me for this position because it primarily dealt with vendors, acquisition, project management and quality assurance.”
Away from the office, he watches sports and plays golf as much as he can. He and his wife Charlotte enjoy traveling and being outside. But even there, his focus is on safety. “My neighbors probably think I’m strange because I wear gloves, leather shoes and safety glasses when working on my lawn, but I think ‘better safe than sorry.’”
Humphrey reflects on his life of service, first in the military and now at TVA: “Look at how TVA originated, bringing prosperity and power to the Valley. It’s employed a lot of people, and has brought many out of poverty. I like the thought of continuing that legacy of dedicated work to the Valley. Making sure we keep the lights on. We’ve helped a lot of people prosper throughout the years.”
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