Insights > Entergy National Engineers Week Spotlight:Vermont Yankee’s Larry Doucette
Entergy National Engineers Week Spotlight:Vermont Yankee’s Larry Doucette
Larry Doucette is senior systems engineer at Vermont Yankee. He’s been an engineer for more than 19 years.
College inspired him to become an engineer
I worked in the Bangor, Maine area as a small engine mechanic for approximately seven years after graduating high school. I wanted to make a career change and learn more, so I enrolled in college at the University of Maine in Orono (non-traditional student starting later in life). My original intention with some continued education was to be a machinist because at that time the machinist’s ability for fabrication of detailed components was fascinating to me. After just one semester of college and working with professors and mechanical engineers, it became evident to me that engineering was what I would like to pursue and my mechanical background was my strength.
He didn’t start a career in the nuclear industry right away
Right after graduation, I worked as a sanitary engineer with the State of Connecticut in their drinking water division of the public health department. It was a great job with nice people and protecting the public was the main focus associated with drinking water regulations and associated engineering controls and enforcement. After working there 18 months, it became evident that I wanted something more “mechanical” in my career choice. So in 1996, I accepted the job that I still love, working at Vermont Yankee as an engineer starting off in the mechanical maintenance department. I am sincerely grateful for my VY job offer and have been happy with my career choice decision.
Engineering is vital to safe, secure and efficient operation of nuclear facilities
It is my opinion that all technical disciplines and all areas of expertise (crafts, operations and engineering) are vital to safely and successfully operating a nuclear power plant. Engineering has an important role associated with research, design, construction, testing, operational recommendations and maintenance decision making for nuclear power plants.
My current role in systems engineering is to apply the knowledge gathered through component monitoring and system trending to help make good decisions regarding the correct maintenance at the correct time so repair work can be time scheduled as “time based” maintenance and not corrective or reactive maintenance. If all work and maintenance can be planned and scheduled prior to a failure but when the system needs repairs and resources and materials allow, then the respective teams (maintenance, materials, engineering, etc.) are all doing a great job.
He values teamwork in engineeringIn my job I am never alone. There has never been an equipment condition or a problem encountered at Vermont Yankee that was ever labelled as the “Doucette problem.” Rather than point fingers, my coworkers join forces. I love this job because if there is ever an issue identified where I work, the issue is promptly raised to appropriate level as necessary and, if needed, becomes a joint effort for a resolution. That pride and team spirit of my fellow employees helps a person seek the best resolution for issues. I have truly learned the value of engineering as a team.
He is inspired by the innovation of VY’s technical craft workers
I am inspired by the innovation of the technical craft workers at Vermont Yankee (electricians, mechanics, Instrument and controls, Rad protection, Security, and contractors, etc.). That innovation of our craft has shaped me into an engineer that listens closely to all parties that should be part of the solution. While it is important to include input from the person that identified a problem, (what did you find, how did it fail, etc.); it is equally important to have the input from the frequent user and the maintainer when you are making a change to solve a problem.