Radiography Technician | Chattanooga, Tenn.
I am a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. I have a passion for golf, and I’ve played on courses throughout the Tennessee Valley. I am a proud husband of 31 years to Peggy Hines. I have three grown children and two beautiful grandchildren.
Spending four out of the last five Christmases at a coal plant might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but Tim Hines loves his job. As part of a team of radiography technicians that covers the entire TVA territory, he’s been to four states in one day before—and he’s on call 24/7/365.
“At times it’s crazy hours. Days and nights—we change between them quite frequently,” he says. “Many times we have to wait until we are onsite to get a clear picture of the scope of work. I like it—working with so many different plants, you get to meet so many different people.”
Why is his world so crazy? The man has X-ray vision.
The Inside Story
As a radiography testing (RT) technician, he can see inside valves and pipes without actually cutting into them, saving TVA millions of dollars over the long run. With high-tech equipment and specialized knowledge, Hines can view and inspect welds and other infrastructure to make sure everything is secure.
“We can test almost anything without destroying it,” says Hines. “We can look inside without having to cut it open. For example, before an outage at a nuclear plant we examine valves to verify their positions. If it’s open, does it have the ability to close? These valves must work properly to ensure plant safety and to comply with regulatory requirements, and now you don’t have to actually open them up to see inside.
“It’s like X-raying your leg or hand, except we’re X-raying metal parts. Either an X-ray machine or Iridium-192 radioactive source is used, and emits a focused beam of gamma radiation on target testing material. We produce an image on industrial grade film or in computed radiography, using a phosphorus plate, just like with a medical X-ray machine.”
Hines came out of military service with an electronics background, which helped him quickly learn Non-Destructive Examination (NDE) processes. He gained his RT experience as a TVA contractor. “TVA employees were so helpful to me when I was a contractor,” he says. “It was plain to see they were the best of the best! I did everything I could to learn from them, knowing that I wanted to work with them and for TVA.”
Driven to Excel
Hines also enjoys project management, and received his Lean Six Sigma green belt in the first class that TVA sponsored. His project focused on a lab process.
“We changed the process from Excel spreadsheets to using actual software. It changed everything from how we accepted equipment, how we moved it, to how everything got billed. Now I’ve got my sights set on the Lean Six Sigma black belt.”
With support from TVA, he can get there. “My leadership team—starting with my supervisor—is awesome,” Hines says. “Not one of them ever said, ‘We just can’t give you any more training.’ Every time I went to them with another training request, they said to go for it. TVA gives you opportunities, and gives you every tool you need to succeed.”
Hines is from Chattanooga originally, and knew of TVA’s mission long before he came onboard. “I’m proud to work here and I’ve worked hard to get to this level,” he says. “It’s been a long road, but it’s been a good road.”
And no matter how much road is behind or in front of him, Hines vows to keep working with a fresh perspective. “One of our sayings at the end of our pre-job brief is, ‘It’s a new day,’” he shares “That’s our way of reminding each other to not be complacent, to stay focused, and remember you’re starting from scratch.”
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