OPG’s Amanda Jacobs living her dream at R.H. Saunders GS
At OPG’s R.H. Saunders Generating Station (GS), Amanda Jacobs is living her dream.
Hailing from the nearby Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne, Jacobs always had her sights set on working at the sprawling hydro station on the St. Lawrence River in Cornwall.
In 2017, that dream began to take shape when she took on a summer placement at the plant while completing a two-year Welding and Fabrication Technician course at St. Lawrence College. She learned a lot that summer while working with a crew of experienced mechanical technicians.
After completing the program in 2018, she fulfilled her goal as she was hired on at R.H. Saunders GS as a Service Trades Maintainer, a job that involves working with a crew of mechanical technicians to take care of station equipment and components.
Since taking on the role, she hasn’t been content to stand still. Jacobs is taking every opportunity to continue expanding her skills and knowledge through her many duties, which include supporting maintenance outages at the station’s generating units and taking care of the plant’s eel ladder, which supports the migration of American eels in the river.
She also operates the large cranes at the station, which is used to lift gates at the station, and applies her welding skills when necessary to repair machinery.
“I’m gaining a lot of experience,” Jacobs said. “Not everyone gets to see the work that goes into putting a unit down, taking it apart, and putting it back together. There’s so much to one unit, it’s overwhelming.”
For Jacobs, “overwhelming” isn’t a negative word – it just means there’s more to learn.
“The crew I work with has a lot of experience – they really know what they're doing,” she said. “So if there’s something I don’t know, I just ask. It helps me become a more experienced and well-rounded employee.”
With her successful experience in the trades, Jacobs loves to share her passion with others. This February, she volunteered at OPG’s second annual Women in Science event in the Ottawa and Cornwall regions, where she engaged with more than 300 Grade 9 and 10 students, encouraging them to explore careers in STEM fields and the trades.
Her advice to others is simple: “If you have an opportunity to experience trades through a summer program or trades program, give it a try.”