Forging a Hydroelectric Future


[music] Dorothy Harris: Machining, welding, pipefitting, cleaning, oiling. A hydromechanic is everything but electrical. We balance. We rotate. We take apart. We put together. And that’s just the beginning. [music] In the United States Navy, I spent 16 years as an aviation metal smith. Heavy structures was my specialty. I got out, wandered the globe, got my FAA A&P license and worked for Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Sikorsky, and I just got tired of moving around. [water roaring] What better place to work than at a national monument like Grand Coulee? We have a variety of places that hydromechanics work at Grand Coulee Dam. You can go anywhere. If a generator goes down on the right and they need us over there, that’s where we’re going to be. [music] Every single day there’s a challenge. You come in, there’s an outage so you have to think on your feet and you have to move fast. You have to be able to change hats, as they say, and go from aligning shivs to welding pipes. I enjoy doing this. It’s not your everyday thing to do. It’s something you can go home absolutely dirty and sweaty and smelly, and still fall on your brand new couch and go, “What a day.” [laughs] Man on camera: “You go down to the pumps…” Dorothy: Challenges. Every single day challenges. Grand Coulee was built in the 1930s and 1940s. We’re working with a lot of antiquated equipment, and as long as it keeps working we’re going to keep working with. And that’s a majority of the reason why it still works is because of the people who are taking care of the equipment. We’re good at what we do. [music] I enjoy working here at the left powerhouse. The people I work with are very professional, but they’re very easy to get along with because we’re all on the same level. [roaring rapids] There are so many reasons to come here. A lot of people come to Grand Coulee because of the other than work things like the fishing, the boating, the hiking, the hunting. I came to Grand Coulee because, one, I wanted to come back home, and two, I wanted to work at a national monument. [music]

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1 thought on “Forging a Hydroelectric Future”

  1. Jason C. says:

    Would love to work here. Too bad getting a job here is like getting a winning lotto ticket. Sure it could happen but most likely won't.

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