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South Texas Projct receives U.S. nuclear energy industry top honor

May 23, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.
Updated May 24, 2012 at 12:24 a.m.


STP Nuclear Operating Company (STP) was awarded the U.S. nuclear energy industry's top honor for innovation Tuesday, May 22, during the Nuclear Energy Institute's annual conference in Charlotte, N.C. STP received a Top Industry Practice (TIP) award for its highly successful and creative Knowledge Transfer and Diversity Recruiting initiatives.

NEI is the nuclear energy industry's policy organization; its TIP award program recognizes industry employees in 14 categories for innovation to improve safety, efficiency and plant performance. STP received its award in the Vision and Leadership category. It was among approximately 150 entries submitted by nuclear energy facilities across the United States. This is the eighth time that STP has been recognized with an industry TIP award, more than any other U.S. nuclear facility.

"We are proud of these innovative and industry leading programs developed by our employees," said Kevin Richards, STP President and CEO. "This recognition highlights the talent and leadership we have at STP. Knowledge Transfer and Diversity Recruitment are critical needs for our company and industry. Sustaining performance requires that we aggressively share and capture knowledge throughout the organization. And that we work to attract and develop a qualified workforce pipeline in the local communities."

During the next five years, 40 percent - 400-500 employees - of the company's workforce will be eligible to retire. These employees have, on average, more than 17 years experience with the company. In 2011, STP lost more than 1,200 years of experience to retirements and attrition. To sustain performance, STP launched an integrated Knowledge Transfer and Retention program in October 2010. The program is designed to leverage diverse processes and technologies to maximize the sharing of knowledge and experience throughout the organization.

STP's Knowledge Transfer platform focuses on: mentoring employees by sharing experiences and knowledge; identifying and preparing for planned departures of critical knowledge; utilizing technology to capture and share knowledge - establishing an internal Wikipedia and YouTube network; and integrating Knowledge Transfer into the company's culture and everyday work processes.

The Diversity Recruiting program, part of the company's workforce development efforts, is designed to attract, educate and retain a local, diverse and qualified pipeline of candidates that more closely reflects the local communities. The program focuses on grassroots initiatives at the community level and partnerships with local high schools, communities and universities throughout the state. The company's Educational Incentive Program pays educational expenses for qualified candidates and prepares students for careers at STP or in the nuclear industry. As a result of the diversity recruiting efforts, enrollment of minority students in the program has more than doubled. Enrollment of African-American students is up 600 percent. In addition, 95 percent of the applicants to the program are local residents.

"The innovation and creativity of these programs help us to develop smarter, safer and better ways of doing business," said Tony Pietrangelo, NEI's senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. "The TIP award winners exemplify the best of those practitioners."

Project managers James Mertink and Clarence Fenner led the initiatives. Knowledge Transfer team members included Rick Gangluff, Kevin Smith, Chris Meemken and Larry Crews. Diversity Recruitment team members included Shawn Flaherty, Larry Taylor, Larry Rainosek, Laura Brieden and Tina Shelton.

STP is managed by STP Nuclear Operating Company and owned by Austin Energy, CPS Energy and NRG Energy. STP's two units produce 2,700 megawatts of carbon-free energy and power more than two million homes throughout Texas. To learn more about STP, visit www.stpnoc.com.

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