A Piece of the Puzzle
TRI-STATE GENERATION AND TRANSMISSION ASSOCIATION, INC.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is a wholesale electric power supplier owned by the 44 electric cooperatives that it serves. Tri-State generates and transmits electricity to its member systems throughout a 200,000- square-mile service territory across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Association headquarters are in Westminster, Colorado.
Tri-State was established in 1952 by its founding member electric cooperatives. The members serve about 1.5 million consumers. Tri-State and its subsidiaries employ about 1,500 people throughout the four-state service area.
Tri-State's gets its power through a combination of:
- owned baseload and peaking power plants that use coal and natural gas as their primary fuels
- purchased power
- federal hydroelectricity allocations
- renewable resource technologies
Tri-State delivers power to its members through a transmission system that includes substation facilities, telecommunications sites, and more than 5,300 miles of high voltage transmission lines. The association has recruited military veterans throughout its history, and today veterans account for about 10 percent of the current work force. The technical training offered in the military and the military’s focus on quality and professionalism are a good fit for the technical, trade, and professional positions in an electric utility.
A VETERAN SUCCESS | DON BISHOP
Don Bishop, who retired as a chief petty officer after 22 years in the United States Navy, is a substation construction electrical foreman at Tri-State. His responsibilities in the Navy included the maintenance, repair, and operation of electrical power generation and distribution equipment onboard ships. At Tri-State, he manages and supervises a team responsible for conducting periodic preventative maintenance and repairs of substation power, control, and protective equipment.
Bishop joined Tri-State in 2012 and advanced quickly, moving from substation apprentice to foreman in less than three years. He has adapted his training and experience to reach his current position, a role in which he combines hands-on work, scheduling, and meeting timelines with an ongoing commitment to sharing knowledge and training the apprentices on his team.
Bishop found his first job opportunity outside the military as a result of recruitment efforts at his military transition class. Rybovich, a yacht refit company in Florida, hired Bishop to do maintenance work. The versatility he learned in the Navy enabled him to transition easily from fixing a motor in the morning to working on a stove in the galley in the afternoon.
When offering advice to individuals currently in the military, Bishop emphasizes the importance of taking training seriously. “Don’t overlook the training offered,” he said. “Take advantage of it – any given part of it may turn out to be a piece that fits into a puzzle later in your career.”
In the military, Bishop built his skills from a combination of technical training, hands-on training, and practice. This effort made him effective at troubleshooting – getting to the root of the problem when things were not working as designed. This skill has proved invaluable in his current role: Every day, he and his team identify and prevent potential problems, and diagnose and fix existing problems at electrical substations.
Bishop also developed an attitude of professionalism, motivation, and personal drive that helps him succeed in his work. Just as he could see the importance of his role in the Navy, he can also see the valuable contributions made by the teams who help keep the power flowing.
According to Bishop, Tri-State is a great place for veterans because “it is a company that greatly welcomes, supports, and appreciates a talented resource.” He emphasizes that the work is all about quality and accuracy; and Tri-State supports its employees by providing the training, proper equipment, and the focus on safety that helps them do their jobs effectively.