Insights > Grand Gulf Team Member Thrives on Teamwork to Lead Young Generation of Nuclear Professionals
Grand Gulf Team Member Thrives on Teamwork to Lead Young Generation of Nuclear Professionals
Teamwork allows brainstorming opportunities for co-workers to exchange ideas, build collaborations and come up with solutions to overcome obstacles. Elizabeth Smith, an administrative specialist II in the design engineering department at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, consistently recognizes the value of teamwork at the site and across the nuclear fleet. Due to this passion, Smith received one of Entergy Nuclear Spotlight recognitions this month.
The Entergy Nuclear Employee Spotlight recognizes team members exhibiting a safe working culture, passion for teamwork, an always learning attitude, upholding integrity, and being respectful.
“The most important aspect of teamwork is to treat everyone with dignity and respect. When people feel valued, that makes them more willing to participate,” said Smith.
Smith’s enthusiasm led her to become the Grand Gulf chapter president of North American Young Generation in Nuclear. The organization, referred to as NAYGN, helps develop future leaders in the nuclear industry. It equips the young generation of nuclear enthusiasts with leadership training, creates connections, engages and informs the public on the nuclear industry and inspires today’s nuclear technology professionals to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Smith organizes and leads NAYGN volunteers to participate in various events such as supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at schools and community service projects.
“NAGYN members have become a cohesive group where we share ideas, help the community and develop our skills as nuclear professionals,” added Smith.
She joined Entergy in December 2016 as a contractor, then as an employee in September 2017. In her current role, she supports the engineering department.
“I review engineer documents, prepare meeting agendas, track budgets, do records keeping and any other work needed to support the department,” explained Smith.
Smith cites several mentors at Grand Gulf who have been examples of teamwork, including Bob Franssen, Grand Gulf site vice president, and Greg Hawkins, who recently retired as the regulatory assurance and performance improvement director. Her supervisor, Michael (Brandon) Taylor, design engineering manager, “understands everybody has strengths and weaknesses. He sees professional development opportunities. That makes us a stronger organization,” said Smith.
“Elizabeth is a key member of the design engineering team. She ensures that we recognize team members for their accomplishments, which fosters a culture of appreciation and motivation,” Taylor said.
Upon starting her career at Grand Gulf, the nuclear industry and the concept of teamwork came naturally to Smith. She was part of a big family – five sisters and three brothers.
“I’m number five among my siblings. To achieve anything with excellence, you have to be able to work with other people. If not, only one person carries the weight. Being part of a large family taught me that,” she added.
Smith grew up in the world of nuclear power, as her father served in the nuclear navy and eventually became the senior Nuclear Regulatory Commission resident inspector at Grand Gulf until 2014. That’s what brought the family to Mississippi. Now, Smith has made Vicksburg, Mississippi here home.
“I knew of the importance of nuclear as a baseload energy source and a safe form of producing power,” she said. “Yet, I’m always learning. As part of my development plan, I recently audited a systems’ training class to gain more knowledge and understanding on how power plants work.”
Photo: The NAYGN team includes, left to right, Elizabeth Smith, Linda Davis, Tasha Parker and Alexander Roaldsand.