By Libby O’Connell
If you’ve ever hesitated before putting yourself out there, Veronica Gibson’s path to PG&E should be inspiring. Gibson, who has been featured in a series of print and online ads as part of PG&E’s latest advertising campaign, had a somewhat unusual start to her PG&E career.
Faced with supporting a child on her own at a young age, Gibson began doing shift work at an oil refinery to earn a good and steady living for her family. After 13 years on the job, she decided she wanted something more. She completed a two-year online course learning power plant technology and landed a three-week internship with the Delta Energy Center in Pittsburg, Calif.
After the three weeks were up, she kept at it, working unpaid shifts from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily to increase her shot at getting a permanent position. “I was learning so much from the team there,” she said. “And I really appreciated what they did for me. But after a few more weeks, it became clear I wasn’t going to get hired any time soon and I got a little discouraged.”
One of her former co-workers at the Delta Energy Center suggested she see about a job at PG&E’s Gateway Generating Station in Antioch. On the day Gibson left her unpaid internship, she drove to Gateway seeking employment, but still felt a little intimidated. She drove past the site but on an impulse turned back.
“Something said to me to turn around and just go check it out and look. I drove up there and sat in my car … and thought, I don’t even know who to ask or how to get in there.”
Gibson suddenly noticed someone sitting in a utility cart outside the gates eating lunch, and mustered the courage to approach. “I asked him about the plant, told him about my background and my education and that I was interested in getting into the industry.” The man, who was a contractor working on the site, gave her a PG&E contact name and she followed up; within a month she was interviewing for a power plant technician position at the Colusa Generating Station. She’s held that job since the plant opened four years ago.
“That stranger helped me. Now I’m here with this wonderful group of people. I consider it a blessing,” she says. “I’m where I belong.”
When asked about the challenges of being one of a handful of women at the site in what is considered a non-traditional position, Gibson says such challenges are nonexistent. “I come from a big family and I can get along with anyone,” she says. “We all work together all the time—sometimes you’re here on holidays, so this is now my work family. We look after each other. This is a pretty cool plant and the best one I’ve ever been at.”
Gibson’s new goal is to work toward being a control room operator, a role would entail much more coursework and training. Still, Gibson is highly motivated, saying that she wants to make her fiancé and two grown daughters proud
“You just need a go-get-it attitude.” That’s something Gibson has plenty of.
To learn more about working at PG&E, visit www.pge.com/careers.
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