CEC foreman awarded for outstanding engineering work

Cordova Electric Cooperative Production Foreman Nate Cain checks the company’s newly automated battery. (Dec. 5, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
Cordova Electric Cooperative Production Foreman Nate Cain received the Northwest Public Power Association’s 2020 Award for Excellence in Engineering or Operations. (Dec. 5, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Cordova Electric Cooperative Production Foreman Nate Cain was recognized by the Northwest Public Power Association for his professional achievements. Cain received the association’s Award for Excellence in Engineering or Operations for his technical and leadership contributions to the cooperative, according to an NWPPA release. The award was the first such professional honor Cain had received during his career, he said.

“I’m not really an ‘awards’ kind of person,” Cain said. “I was humbled, and maybe even a little embarrassed, to have the publicity.”

Cain distinguished himself by his achievements in research and design, according to the release. These included a state-funded project that Cain undertook shortly after joining CEC, designing a heat-recovery unit for a diesel generator. Cain was also recognized for design work on an experimental automated battery system that has allowed CEC to significantly diminish energy wastage.

Though Cain spends much of his time managing CEC’s production team and troubleshooting at the cooperative’s three plants, his favorite part of the job is designing systems for the future, he said.

“It is a pretty cool job that I do,” Cain said. “It’s funny — you’re just making electricity every day, and you’d think that might get boring. But there’s never two days the same, especially at CEC’s grid. There are lots of challenges, and that’s probably what I like the most about it.”

Cain emphasized the fact that, though his name is the only one appearing on the award, installing CEC’s automated battery was a team effort.

The NWPPA is a not-for-profit association of over 155 public groups in the Western U.S. and Canada. Cain will have to wait at least until 2021 to receive the token representing the award, which would normally have been given to him at the NWPPA’s 2020 annual Engineering and Operations Conference.