Sean Grier sees Gonzaga Transmission & Distribution Engineering program as a mentoring opportunity

Sean Grier ('14)

June 21, 2021

Sean Grier (’14) sees a deepening concern in the power industry regarding the training of new engineers. He says the lack of opportunity to “attend training classes and technical seminars, and no more allotment of field and office mentoring by senior engineers” is the biggest obstacle young engineers face.

“When I started in Jan 2002, we were told that you would be working with a senior engineer for a few years before you would be able to run your own projects; work without supervision,” he says. Now, he worries, “the young engineer is hired to either fill a retiring position or an open position with no real mentoring opportunities other than if you hit a roadblock then reach out to someone for help, which isn’t the same as mentoring.”

Sean is currently Director of Duke Energy’s Renewable Engineering Group and oversees a team of engineers maintaining Duke’s wind and solar generation facilities. The lack of mentoring opportunities is one reason why Sean recommends the engineers on his team complete Gonzaga’s T&D certificate or master’s degree.

Sean credits the program’s faculty with helping students understand how to succeed in their jobs and providing some of that technical mentoring. Many of his assignments from the program have been helpful in his current engineering work. Sean says, “I use many things I learned since we are a growing group, always building new wind and solar farms and operating the existing ones.”

Sean explains, “I perform short circuit studies, capacitor bank studies, load flow studies and relay and protection studies as well as project management daily.”

He feels so strongly about Gonzaga’s T&D program that he recently agreed to serve on the T&D Industry Advisory Board, helping ensure the program maintains that strong connection to the power industry. That Board is made up of representatives from utilities and companies within the power industry and provides feedback on curriculum, marketing, and planning to the program.

Sean hopes the program can continue providing some of that much-needed mentoring and design experience to future power engineers.

For more information about Sean and his team click here: (Army veteran Sean Grier expects the best