From commission to demolition: OPG’s Dennis Randall has seen it all
There are few people who can say they have been with a company for more than 50 years.
One of those lucky few is Dennis Randall, who joined OPG’s predecessor company way back in 1965.
Randall started at the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario as a student painter in Peterborough. He would go on to work at the Lakeview Generating Station, which was a coal-fired plant in Mississauga, as an Auxiliary Plant Operator in Training in 1967.
That role was just the beginning of many varied titles over his career with OPG, which have included Senior Plant Officer, Project Lead, and even Editor of a weekly Nanticoke newsletter.
But one of his most meaningful positions has been his current role as Project Site Manager for OPG’s Nanticoke property. Most recently, he helped lead the demolition of the decommissioned Nanticoke Generating Station, a plant that Randall helped bring into service more than 40 years ago.
In 1971, Randall transferred to the Nanticoke station, formerly the largest coal-fired plant in North America, to assist the commissioning team. He was responsible for learning the inner workings and operations of the new site and its equipment, including operating the auxiliary heating boiler.
Randall left Nanticoke in 2007 after a 36-year career in multiple departments at the station, but was called back in 2015 to help support decommissioning and, as he says, put the station “to bed properly”. That role transitioned to the demolition team, culminating in the successful implosion of the station’s powerhouse in the summer of 2019.
Nanticoke’s closure was part of OPG’s phase-out of its entire coal generation fleet, completed in 2014. It remains the world’s single largest action to combat climate change to date.
“It was a bit disheartening to decommission the units,” Randall acknowledged. “Emotionally, it was a little difficult.”
Having been part of Nanticoke’s life from cradle to grave, Randall says he is grateful for the experience. Through it all, he has seen many devoted employees pass through the site, embraced numerous mentorship and training opportunities, and banked a lot of fond memories.
“I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to do what I’ve done,” he said.
Now, he proudly looks forward to the site’s clean energy future. The area is home to OPG’s first solar facility, the 44-megawatt Nanticoke Solar, which went into service in March 2019 and generates clean electricity for the province through 192,431 solar panels. The site is also home to a five-acre wetland that continues to play a vital role for the environment and biodiversity in southwestern Ontario.
When Randall is not helping to write the final chapter in the Nanticoke story, he spends a lot of time with his family, which includes five siblings, three sons, and 10 grandchildren. He also enjoys exploring and photographing the beaches of Long Point Bay.