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April 12, 2017

Sheila Holden, Pacific Power Regional Business Manager

The power to rock a girl’s world

By Christina Kruger
Regional Business Manager

It is not easy to stand in front of a roomful of young women, all under 13, and explain how electricity works – and how the job market works. But it helps if you have a hard hat, a tool belt and years of experience wiring buildings.

That’s what Tina Garvin did a few weeks ago at Girls Rock, a fun-filled event for girls ages 9-13, who spent the day exploring the fields of science, math and technology at Grants Pass High School in late February. Over 200 girls attended workshops with names like Computer Coding, Zentangles, Mighty Microbots, Flash Mob, Self-Defense, Bugs-R-Us, Engineer-Who, Me?, Power Your World, Italian Soda Product Testing, and more.

Sponsored by the Grants Pass University Women’s Charitable Fund in collaboration with AAUW Grants Pass Branch, Soroptimist International of River Valley, and Zonta Club of Grants Pass, this annual event, now in its 10th year, is always fun and inspiring.

I played my own small role, telling the girls about my own career track at Pacific Power. They listened politely as I told them I joined Pacific Power in 2001, before any of them were born. Over the course of my 14-year career I have held approximately seven different positions including customer service rep, customer service manager, outage management analyst, workforce planning analyst, transmission and distribution operations work planning, field services manager, corporate account manager.

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It’s been fun, but I know I was far less interesting than Tina, a licensed electrician who serves as a development systems manager for the City of Medford. To demonstrate safety procedures in a hands on way, she set up the wood framing you would find inside a house and started doing the wiring just as you would in real life.

How does electricity get to the house? How does a meter work? How do you stay safe at all times even if you are working with something that could cause harm you if handled improperly? Then there is actual work of running wires, installing switches. It was great to watch girls learn about something that goes on behind the walls of their homes and schools, something essential that you mostly take for granted.

We heard that the wiring demo was pretty popular, but in overall popularity we lost out to Bugs-R-Us. As one 10-year-old put it, “I got to pet a tarantula.” No thanks.

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