NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 7, 2017) – Larry Cole, an Operations Division power plant electrician at Old Hickory Powerhouse, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for January 2017.
Cole is being recognized for his significant contributions and outstanding performance for assuming a key senior electrician position for the Old Hickory and J. Percy Priest power houses. Cole volunteered and stepped in to provide leadership in the only electric in the District's nine powerhouses that is responsible for both plants.
“I am humbled by this award - happy that these guys around here considered and recognized me for my contributions to my job,” said Cole.
Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, Nashville District commander, commended Cole for his work and commitment to excellence. Cole led his small team of electricians and hydropower program trainees to successfully complete numerous, challenging, but extremely important repair jobs and equipment installations at two plants, work that not only improved the efficiency of the plants but also their safety.
“Cole stepped up and helped out immediately to fill a vacant gap, despite an already heavy workload for this district, that’s the sign of a leader,” said Murphy. “Organizations succeed because of dedicated people like this and I appreciate Cole doing more than he had to so that we could accomplish our mission.”
Cole is known by his peers for his meticulous work in reviewing plans, scheduling and working to provide support to all the power houses around the district. He said he just loves to work on anything in the power house and enjoys making sure the power house runs smoothly.
“I really appreciate this award but it’s a total team effort,” said Cole. “When I say, I love doing this job, I really mean it. I’m all about the team and it is rewarding to have the opportunity to work with a great people here who understand the mission of the Corps.”
Murphy said Cole’s character, commitment, and courage to step forward are evidenced by his voluntarily taking on these additional responsibilities without any kind of promotion or extra benefits.
Joe Conatser, superintendent at the Old Hickory and J. Percy Priest Dams, said Cole leads by example and he is glad the district has recognized him as the employee of the month.
“I can’t say enough about him, he won’t give himself credit for the job, but he is a great team player,” said Conatser. “He is a leader and dedicated employee who is most deserving of this award because of the tremendous effort he puts into work with others and the valuable training he provides to the younger guys.”
Murphy said as if that weren't enough, Cole provided direct on-the-job training for the trainees, one key aspect of the District's challenging and highly acclaimed hydropower training program.
Cole said he is glad he has the chance to work at Old Hickory and J. Percy Priest because of their unique mission, area, location and importance to the Cumberland River system.
“I like to think that every day that I come to work, I work hard and make a difference,” said Cole. “So that’s what kind of drives me.”
Cole said training and preventive maintenance are key elements to a smooth running power house. He believes that preparation and attentiveness to the equipment helps eliminate problems.
“Training is very important because if you train your people well… once they become journeymen, they can do the maintenance,” said Cole.
Cole is a native of Michigan. After a few years in the Army, he entered the district’s Hydropower Trainee program as an intern and has served 17 years with the Corps.
“Larry’s an expert in this field and his work is respected and recognized by all his peers,” said Nick Pilcher, an electrician trainee at the Old Hickory power plant. “He is an excellent human being and sets the tone for the team here.”
Cole said he enjoys spending time with his family, working on his new barn, tinkering with his toys and hunting.
His hobbies include rebuilding his 1972 GMC pickup truck, working on his dirt bike, and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Cole and his wife Melissa have three daughters, Payge, Megan and Tyler. He also has two grandchildren, Carson and Avery.
Murphy said Cole’s professionalism, initiative, leadership, and tenacity are the ingredients that go into making these old power plants run like clockwork.
“I like to stay busy and get the work done,” said Cole. “Anytime there’s work to do, I’m pretty happy.”
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