Senior Manager of Central Region Hydro Generation | Chattanooga, Tenn.
“I love the plants, and I love the people in them. It’s great to get to come and know that there are tangible differences that you’re making for people. Not many people get to say that about their job. It brings me joy to get to do that—making sure that whenever our customers flip that light switch, the lights come on. It should be magic.”
Annette Moore is proud to be a tobacco farm girl. She started helping with on her family’s small farm in Philadelphia, Tenn., when she was seven years old. In the spring, she remembers walking behind the tobacco setter with her Papaw, covering up the roots and brushing the dirt off the buds of the new plants.
“From spring through fall, we hoed, suckered, topped and cut depending on what was needed at the time,” she remembers. “My sister and I would get off the school bus and go straight to the tobacco patch. Sometimes we’d work until dark and then go in and do homework.”
It was a life she credits today with her best traits: tenacity, independence and commitment to excellence.
Consider this memory, a night that stands out in Moore’s memory. “I was tired and in a hurry to finish and rushed through the last row,” she says. “Dad looked at it and asked me what I thought about the job I’d done. I remember staring at the ground. He said, ‘You didn’t do your best, did you?’ Then he flipped on a flashlight, and I re-hoed that row in the dark.”
It was a tough lesson, but one she says she’s never forgotten: “I learned to always, always do the best I can.”
Moore, a senior manager in Hydro Generation, says she learned a lot of other life lessons on the tobacco farm that have served her well in her TVA career.
“I learned not to be afraid of hard work, that it’s okay to get dirty and sweaty,” she says. “I learned when things go wrong to just roll with it. It will be okay. I learned the value of perseverance.”
Moore also remembers her dad telling her again and again she needed to get an education unless she wanted to work tobacco for the rest of her life. “That’s probably why I ended up with four degrees,” she says with a laugh.
Moore interned at TVA while finishing up her second degree: a Bachelors in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tenn.
“I was drawn to hydraulics and hydrology so I was excited to get an internship in River Scheduling,” she says. “It didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to work with dams and rivers, and I wanted to work for TVA.”
Moore graduated from Tennessee Tech on a Saturday and went to work as a Civil Engineer in River Scheduling the following Monday.
That was 18 years ago. Today Moore manages the Central Hydro Region, which includes 11 hydroelectric plants.
“I love my job,” says Moore. “In Hydro, we touch the lives of the people we serve in so many ways. We’re TVA’s lowest cost generation, so that helps families with their power bills. We protect property along the river in flood situations. We ensure a safe, dependable water supply for navigation and for industries and towns along the river. And we help people have fun on the water. Hydro gets to provide a lot of benefits to the Valley, and I like being part of that.”
She also likes working in the plant environment, she says: “I love being around the equipment, and I love being around the people. My hands stay pretty clean these days, but when I see someone who is sweaty, who is dirty, who has grease under their nails, I think of my dad. It’s like being back on the farm. Our craft workers are doing important jobs. They’re putting food on the table for their families. I respect that.”
A lot of Moore’s time now is spent in the office and in meeting rooms, but she targets getting out to at least one or two plants every week.
“That’s the only way to ensure I understand the concerns and needs of the folks who make the plants run. My perfect day is putting on steel toes, FR (flame retardant clothing) and a hard hat and spending time on the plant floor.”
Moore’s grit and determination, developed at a young age on the farm, also are helping her deal with a new challenge. After struggling through over two and a half years of fatigue, pain and stiffness, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and is being treated with low-dose chemotherapy.
“I’m fortunate,” she says. “My RA isn’t as bad or as aggressive as it could be, and my really bad RA days are few and far between. There’s no cure, but my RA is manageable. Life is good, and I enjoy living it.”
She does just that, kickboxing, concert going, traveling and regularly cooking for her friends.
Moore wants to share her experience living with RA in the hope it will benefit others. “Chronic illnesses are real,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want to do. Know your body and take care of yourself. If you don’t feel good, keep fighting until you get the help you need.”
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