NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 29, 2022) – The senior operator at Cordell Hull Dam Powerplant is the Nashville District Employee of the Month for May 2022 for actions taken to avert power outages in several rural communities in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Dale Hollow Dam Powerplant became separated from Tennessee Valley Authority’s electrical switchyard April 25 due to a capacitor bank causing an over-voltage issue, resulting in complete loss of feeds and disconnection from the electrical grid.
While operating Dale Hollow Dam Powerplant remotely, Andrew J. Brimm devised a plan to run power through a seldomly-used line that connects with the switchyard in Livingston, Tennessee, until TVA could restore the main connection to the switchyard in Summer Shade, Kentucky.
Lt. Col. Joseph Sahl, Nashville District commander, announced Brimm’s selection as employee of the month and recognized his actions that ensured Dale Hollow’s electrical system provided uninterrupted service to customers.
“Andy maintained control, kept frequency and voltage well within tolerances until TVA could adjust,” Sahl said. “Andy’s swift actions displayed that he had the forethought to think through a problem and give attention to the needs of our customers.”
Brimm said he received several abnormal alarms that alerted him to the capacitor bank failure that resulted in Dale Hollow Powerplant being separated from TVA’s Bulk Electric System, putting the powerplant in an “island” situation.
“After TVA looked my plan over and agreed it would work, the transmission operator and I executed the plan to return the system to normal without interruptions and without any issues,” Brimm said.
Wesley T. Butler, Cordell Hull Power Plant superintendent, supervises Brimm and praised him for his actions while operating the Dale Hollow Dam Powerplant remotely.
“His actions were impressive in that he received instructions from TVA, and knowing the system as well as he does, developed a plan of alternative action to maintain power to Celina and Moss in Tennessee, and Fountain Run, Tompkinsville, and Edmonton in Kentucky,” Butler said.
As a senior operator, Brimm is responsible for operation, observation, and inspection of electrical and mechanical equipment in the powerplant, dam and switchyard. He directs operation of the sluice gates and spillway gates when instructed by the Nashville District Water Management Section and is charged with safeguarding all employees in the powerplant. He also maintains daily communication with the TVA system dispatcher and follows requests for operation of the powerplant as part of an interconnected power system.
Brimm has an associate degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Nashville Community College, formally known as Nashville State Technical Institute. He attended the Nashville District’s Hydropower Training Program in 1999. He served as senior operator at Cordell Hull Dam and Dale Hollow Dam from 2003 to 2012. He became the superintendent at Cordell Hull in 2012 and returned to his senior operator position in 2016.
The Riddleton, Tennessee, native has been married to his wife Angie for 22 years and they have a 6-year-old daughter named Hadley. He works rotating shifts and credits his wife for her support and patience in support of his career. He said his best hobby is spending time with his family.
As for his selection as employee of the month, Brimm said he is “honored and surprised” to be recognized for a job he finds rewarding in itself. He said he enjoys his job and appreciates every opportunity to gain knowledge in electrical transmission.
“I work with an outstanding group of people in the mid-Cumberland area that make my job easier,” he added.
Stanley Carter, Dale Hollow Dam Powerplant superintendent, said Brimm used his extensive knowledge of the Bulk Electrical System and how it operates to return the system to normal.
“He is one of the finest operators that I have ever worked with,” Carter said. “He is one of the operators that people will go to seek advice and to just get sound information on any problem that may arise.”
Carter credits Brimm’s experience and knowledge and suggested workaround for averting a power outage.
“We were carrying all of the load associated with the line that we were supplying,” Carter explained. “His knowledge and understanding of the grid and Dale Hollow’s system allowed him to come up with his plan so no one would lose power.”
Butler added that he is happy to see Brimm recognized as employee of the month because of his technical expertise, hard work, and leadership qualities that support the day-to-day operations at the Cordell Hull Powerplant.
“Andy’s work ethic and attention to detail is what makes him a great operator as well as an asset to not only Cordell Hull, but also to the district as a whole,” Butler said. “He performs his job at a high level and continually looks for ways to improve our processes.”
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)