Name: Allie Robbins Mace Title and work location: Director of Grid Modernization, BPA Business Transformation Office, Portland, Oregon
When people ask me what I do for work I tell them… I manage the Grid Modernization initiative, a program of more than 35 projects to move the Bonneville Power Administration forward on modernizing the infrastructure and other grid components, and to support preparations for joining the Western Energy Imbalance Market. On a day-to-day basis, this means spending a lot of time coordinating and connecting people and activities, troubleshooting project issues and generally clearing roadblocks.
I like working at BPA because: I am constantly learning about new things and meeting new people. Every day I am inspired by the passion and energy that my co-workers bring to their jobs and their willingness to share this passion in helping me learn. When I ask someone to explain something to me, or to help me understand their role at BPA, they are generous with their time and knowledge. I am also inspired by our public power customers and the ways in which they support the communities they serve.
The coolest or most surprising thing about my job is: I get to work with a lot of thoughtful, motivated people who think really creatively about how the world in which we operate is changing and how BPA modernizes to participate in that world. People sometimes think that utilities can’t foster creativity. It’s cool to see this disproven on a regular basis. Teams around the agency are doing a lot of impressive work on the Grid Modernization projects, which have moved from the define phase and are in the deliver or implement phase.
How does your work group or office support BPA’s mission and strategy? The Business Transformation Office, and my group in particular, is responsible for delivering on the Grid Modernization Key Strategic Initiative, our only KSI currently, which is directly tied to (BPA 2018-2023 Strategic Plan) Strategic Goal 2: Modernize Assets and System Operations.
My most memorable work-related story or safety lesson is: In my past positions in BPA’s Energy Efficiency organization I had the opportunity to visit many of our customers for annual customer roundtables. There were memorable visits to a number of towns throughout the region. One that stands out in particular was a visit to Big Bend Electric in Ritzville, Washington. In addition to the customer meeting, the staff at Big Bend had arranged for a visit to the historic train depot, which we toured and learned about the history of the town. It was once known as the greatest wheat shipping point in the world. It was fascinating to learn a little slice of history about a community that BPA serves.
Safety is a core value at BPA. How do you incorporate safe behavior into your practices and environment? One of the biggest lessons for me from safety trainings has been the importance of really paying attention to what I am doing, and the risks I create when I multi-task, move too quickly, or am not fully present. I try to incorporate this into my everyday actions, often in simple ways like paying attention when walking down stairs, being extra cautious when crossing the street, or being aware of pedestrians when I am driving or cycling. These days, I apply this safety lesson to making sure I maintain social distance when out of the house.
When I’m not working or sleeping, I like to: Try to keep up with my daughter, trail run, bike and hike.