Steve Sando is a Project Control Analyst that works with TerraPower’s engineering teams to develop and maintain the project schedules for the TWR Program.
On a typical day at TerraPower:
On a typical day, I coordinate with engineers to maintain schedule integrity and accuracy. Schedules can be very dynamic; organizational goals and priorities change, so there’s a heavy focus on keeping existing schedules updated and current, as well as continually developing new work packages into the schedule as the project moves forward.
On how he got involved with project controls and scheduling:
Getting involved with project control, and specifically scheduling, was almost by accident for me. I was working as a project manager in construction when I decided I needed a change of pace. A similar position opened in aerospace, so I applied and was hired! It ended up being a great decision. I worked as a scheduler in project controls, which allowed me to move over to a brand-new airplane program. This meant moving out of the established, somewhat “cookie cutter”, processes and into a position where I could develop new processes and tools. That’s what intrigued me the most. My project management background provided the foundation to jump in and coordinate with the engineers, and in time I learned the necessary scheduling tools.
On why he applied to TerraPower:
While working as a scheduler for a large utility, I saw an open position posted for TerraPower. The company was still very young at the time and did not have a Project Management Organization (PMO). With the chance to be a scheduling “team” of one, the idea of having flexibility and the ability to think creatively was intriguing and exciting.
On his first time working in the nuclear industry:
This is my first time working in nuclear! I was apprehensive at first, since the work scope was very different from anything I had done. My background was in the construction and aerospace industries where things are very tangible. It was a change switching over to the nuclear industry, specifically to a company developing such a unique technology. But it’s been a fascinating industry to work in and I have really grown to love it. I’ve been able to learn a lot about nuclear energy in general, as well the technical work that I plan and schedule.
On the best part of his job:
There are two things which keep me motivated and excited to work at TerraPower. I enjoy being part of a PMO that is counted on and expected to perform in a dynamic environment. I also truly enjoy the people I work with each day. People here are passionate about what they do and it comes across in every aspect of the what we do here at TerraPower.
On how he applies his prior experiences to his role at TerraPower:
Having experience in different industries has helped me take standard, cross-industry principles and techniques and tailor them to my current environment and customers in more efficient and effective ways.
On advice for those looking to pursue a similar career path with TerraPower:
I’ve been fortunate over the years to have been given opportunities in areas where I did not have extensive background. In those situations, I committed myself to being dependable in my role and a teachable student. Don’t shy away from taking some risk and going for opportunities that might be out of your comfort zone. Yes, there are principles and techniques one must learn, but effective scheduling is not rocket science. It is important to be able to work as a team, bridging and building solid relationships with your customers, which often requires the ability deal with different personalities and communication styles.