Heroes Highlight: Elissa

BELLEVUE, Wash. (10/28/2019) We’re celebrating veterans in our workforce with a Heroes Highlight on Elissa, an Operating Support Specialist at the Goldendale Generating Station.

Photo of Elissa

What branch of the military did you serve and what was your ending/final etc. (pick one) rank/position?
I currently serve in the Air Force Reserve as a Tech Sergeant. My AFSC is a 4N071, which is an Aerospace Medical Technician.

How long did you serve?
Nov. 11 is my Enlistment date, and this Veteran’s Day will mark my 10-year anniversary. I have already re-enlisted for six more years and hope to make it past 20.

What was your most memorable experience in the military?
During a field training exercise, we had to do MOPP drills. This is where we have to quickly put on and take off our chemical gear (gas masks included). This exercise was a week long, and we did not know when the alarm would sound to put on our chemical gear. Naturally, while I was in the porta-potty, the alarm went off. I was stuck in the porta-potty, trying to get my chemical gear on, and had to stay put until they told us it was all clear.

What was your favorite location that you served at?
Keesler AFB, Biloxi Mississippi. It was a short walk from the base to the gulf, the base had nice facilities (minus the copious amount of mold in my bathroom), and the Hard Rock Casino that was nearby had pool parties every Sunday. It was a blast.

Do you have relatives that have served?
My stepdad was an officer in the Air Force Reserve. He was the first one to read my oath of enlistment.

What do you do at PSE, and how long have you been here?
I am an Operating Support Specialist at the Goldendale Generating Station, and have been in this position a little over two years.

Why did you want to work here?
My grandfather was on the construction crew to build the Goldendale combined cycle plant. Our area has a lack of jobs, and I was driving 75 miles one way to Yakima for work. I was extremely excited for this job opportunity, because of PSE’s reputation and the fact that the power plant is 1.3 miles from my house.

What’s the best or favorite part about your job?
I love knowing everything that is operationally happening at the plant: what projects are planned, how much they cost, when things don’t go as planned.

What one thing do you need to know really well to do your job?
How much food they eat here. Also, Excel. I use excel constantly.

What’s most challenging about your job?
Outages. Tracking our expenses during plant outages can be a challenge.

What are you most proud of PSE for?
Our work with our community. We do a lot of donating to our service areas, including Klickitat County.

What’s one of your most memorable moments while working here?
Any of our outages! Normal operations can be dull, but the outages are always exciting and packed with things to do.

What safety tip applies to your daily work?
Watch out for those computer cables.

How does your role or work support our TOGETHER/carbon reduction campaign?
Instead of driving, I do daily walks to the post office to check our mail for the plant. We have even started doing this daily as a group to get some exercise.

Of PSE’s values, which resonates most with you and why?
We have each other’s back. I have always felt supported in my role. Even when I make mistakes, I know my manager will support my continued training and education.

If you could do any job in the world for one day, what would it be?
I would love to work in a big cat sanctuary.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
You SHOULD care what people think about you (from my step dad during my angsty teenage stage.)

What do you like to do outside of work? Any interesting hobbies or community service activities?
I love taking my daughter to the pool, or kayaking with her at lakes. During the winter I can be found under a blanket on my couch, making balloon animals.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Cassandra Peterson.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?
To sing in any voice.

Tell us a little something about your family.
It’s just my daughter and I. She is a hilarious, intelligent and morbid 8-year-old. She has had to learn young that when mom goes to base she might not be home for a while. The military life balanced with civilian life has been a struggle for our family, but we wouldn’t change it for the world.

Elissa in uniform