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A Conversation with Palisades Nuclear Plant’s Mike Pyne

Published: 09/19/2016

Mike Pyne is an electrical superintendent at Palisades Nuclear Plant. He joined Entergy nine years ago, starting as a repairman. He lives in Kalamazoo with his wife, Heidi, and their two sons, 16-year-old Brad and 14-year-old Nick. Heidi is a destination wedding planner and recently went to Jamaica for “work” to check out multiple venues. To relax, Mike enjoys spending time outside doing yard work. An interesting tidbit--their family has a Chinchilla named Chilly.

His power principle
My power principle is perseverance; if you keep at something long enough, you’ll achieve it. I’ve lived my life by this philosophy, and it applies to working in the nuclear industry. Due to all of the processes and procedures at a nuclear power plant, each task can take a long time to complete. So you have to persevere and stay focused to successfully complete the job safely and error free.

His proudest moment
One of my proudest moments was graduating from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, while working full time and caring for a family. After high school, I joined the U.S. Navy and served six years in the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program. After I was honorably discharged, I enrolled at Western Michigan University. I attended college for 10 years while working as an electrician in different industrial settings. I always tell my 16-year-old son, Brad, he should do fine in college because he’s already been. I remember bringing Brad to class with me. He would sit in his car seat, while I attended lectures. In 2000, I graduated with a degree in electrical engineering at the age of 36.

The best work-related advice he received
My dad always said, “Do any job to the best of your ability.” My late father, Bob Pyne, was a field technician for National Cash Registers. He repaired cash registers and eventually, as time evolved, became a computer repairman. When I was a kid, he had two jobs. If he wasn’t working his full time job, he was working his side job; he was always working to take care of his family. I definitely learned my work ethic from him.

When he first learned about Entergy
I learned about Entergy when they bought Palisades. My mother-in -law called me to tell me “this company called Entergy” had bought Palisades, and they were looking for engineers. My dad called me the next morning with the same information and brought me the newspaper article. I applied and then interviewed for three different positions--an engineer, instrumentation and controls supervisor and electrical repairman. Steve Bach, who I happened to know from the U.S. Navy, offered me the job as electrical repairman. Steve and I served together on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, based in Norfolk, Virginia.

His hometown
I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and grew up in the 1970s. Even as a kid, I was always working with my hands. I remember building a metal detector after finding the directions in a Popular Mechanics magazine. I also built a crystal radio. I had to run an antenna from my bedroom window to a tree 100 feet away. It didn’t have a speaker so I had to listen to it with headphones. It wasn’t all that practical. I also remember listening to my older sister’s rock records, specifically Peter Frampton and Bob Seger.

 

Corporate Editorial Team