It's Engineers Week and we're celebrating the thinkers, doers, problem-solvers, and dreamers! Here is one of our own. Meet Kyle Baggett.
Years at the co-op:
18 years here, 3 years at Pee Dee Electric Cooperative in Darlington South Carolina, 3 Years at Electrical Consulting Engineers, Inc. in Charlotte North Carolina, 6 semesters as a Co-Op Student at Duke Power’s Catawba Nuclear Station in Clover South Carolina
Describe your job at the co-op:
My responsibilities include oversight of Engineering, Operations, Technical Services, Field Services and Dispatch/Call Center departments. Our collective goal and objective is to design, operate and maintain our electrical distribution system in such a way that it is capable of delivering safe and reliable service to the members of the cooperative at an economical price.
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering—BSEE with a minor in mathematics
School: University of North Carolina / Charlotte
Certifications, Affiliations, and/or Accreditations: Registered Professional Engineer (PE) in Alabama and South Carolina
When you were a kid, did you take things apart to see how they worked?
If so, did you put them back together or abandon them? I had some interest in how things worked when I was younger—mainly bikes and motorcycles. Probably no more than anyone else.
Did you have an “ah-ha” moment when you knew you wanted to be an engineer?
Probably about three semesters into getting my student loans and knowing I would have to start paying them back within 6 months of leaving school whether I graduated or not. I figured the only way I was going to be able to repay the loan was with a well-paying job so I just decided that I was not going to let anything stop me from finishing my degree.
My father, uncle, and grandfather all had degrees in Oil and Gas Accounting from Texas A&M but I really didn’t want to pursue accounting. My stepfather is a Civil Engineer and we never missed a meal so I thought engineering would have to do since I really couldn’t decide on anything else. I chose electrical after meeting with the dean of the engineering college. The conversation went sort of like this:
Dean Snyder: “What discipline would you like to pursue?”
Me: “What are my choices?”
Dean Snyder: “Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, Nuclear, Computer, Aerospace, etc”
Me “Which one is hardest?”
Dean Snyder: “We have more attrition in electrical than the others”
Me “I’ll do that one then?”
What is it about engineering that you like?
I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of it and the analytics.
What do you think is the future of engineering?
Who knows. They come out with something new every day. If I was guessing automation will continue to play a big role and artificial intelligence is really growing. As far as the utility industry goes, we will likely continue to see advances in “self-healing networks”.
Throughout school, what was your favorite subject and why?
In high school, my favorite subject was football and girls but I was always pretty good at math when I applied myself. In college, I enjoyed all of my math and physics classes as well as circuits and Engineering Economics.
Did you ever “invent” something?
Sort of. For our senior project me and a school buddy “invented” a device that would mute your TV or Stereo when the phone rang. This was before the days of cell phones and when the very first programmable remotes were being sold. We basically took the guts out of the programmable remote and added some simple circuitry to trigger the device when it saw the -48 volt DC ringing signal from Ma Bell and put all of that in a black plastic box with a keypad that you could set in your house or apartment. When the phone rang, it muted whatever was on so that you could take the call on the landline without getting up to turn the volume down or find the remote if you had one. It was a very simple senior project compared to what some others did but we received an A because it was practical and useful.
What advice would you give to young people who are thinking about engineering as a career?
You have to be able to weather the early storm. Attrition in engineering majors is probably higher than any other major. In the engineering curriculum, they will have classes your freshmen and sophomore years meant to weed those out that won’t put in the effort or don’t have the skills to finish. If you don’t like or are not good at math and science, take another route. I had freshmen engineering classes with over 100 people in them. By the time I was a junior and senior, I seldom had a class with more than 15 or 20 and had some with as few as 6.
Be sure to join us for Dream Big: Engineering our World, an IMAX movie, on Thursday, February 22 at 5:30 pm at our Eva Rd office. LEARN MORE