Hometown:Dekalb
Age:26
High School:Kemper Academy
Training:Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Degree:Associate of Applied Science in Process Operation Technology
Employer:Mississippi Power in Gulfport
Title:Assistant Operator

Power Plant Operator

HEATHER HIGGINBOTHAM

Heather Higginbotham was in her senior year of high school when she learned about a scholarship focused on career and technical opportunities. She was immediately interested.

By the time she finished her associate degree at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, she already had two summer internships under her belt. When the Assistant Operator job became available at Mississippi Power, she jumped at the opportunity.

Based on her education and skill set, Heather has options to progress in her career to become an operations manager, plant manager or move into a different area of the business. Her advice to students considering a technical career is to research your options. “Do not think you have to go to college for several years just to have a career,” she says. “There will always be a need for skilled trades.”

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WHAT DOES A POWER PLANT OPERATOR DO?


That's Heather on the cover.

Power plant operators control, operate and maintain machinery to generate electricity. They use control boards to distribute power among generators and regulate the output of generators. They also monitor instruments to maintain voltage and electricity flow from the plant to meet customer demand throughout the day.

Responsibilities:

  • Control power-generating equipment, which may use coal, nuclear power or natural gas.
  • Read charts, meters and gauges to monitor voltage and electricity flows.
  • Check equipment for any operational problems.
  • Adjust controls to regulate the flow of power.
  • Start or stop generators, turbines and other equipment.