News

Management Council & Core Peer Team Leads meet

December 18th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The USA Management Council and Core Peer Team Leaders met in early December to review fleet progress this past year and goals for 2014.“Looking back on the past year, USA has made significant progress across the fleet,” said USA CEO Carl Parry. “Our behavior initiative has led to increased engagement and a commitment to drive...
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Successful Supplier Fairs held at PSEG and PPL

December 18th, 2013
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
Earlier this month, USA Supplier Fairs were held at two USA member station locations; Salem and Hope Creek and PPL Susquehanna. Both fairs were a success, with strong turn-outs and many connections made.“Attendees at PPL Susquehanna indicated that they were pleasantly surprised that the USA suppliers provided such a large array of parts and services,”...
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USA Gives Back for the Holidays

December 17th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
Across the USA fleet, member companies and their employees are giving back for the holidays to help those in need. “This time of year has a different focus for all of us,” said USA Board Chairman Tom Joyce of PSEG Nuclear. “We tend to take more opportunities to give thanks for what we have, socialize...
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Guide Dog Named in Honor of PPL Susquehanna Employee

December 16th, 2013
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
Last April, when PPL Susquehanna employee Michael ‘Mickey’ Franczak passed away his faithful guide dog Archer was by his side. Mickey had been employed at USA fleet member PPL Susquehanna for 30 years in the Health Physics department in various capacities.“Mickey was loved by many of us here and he has certainly been missed as...
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Dynamic Learning Activities Focus on Engineering Fundamentals

December 16th, 2013
Author: Stephen Tait, DTE Energy
At USA fleet member Fermi 2, engineers Nicholas Taba, Craig Shepherd and Richard Glosup sat at a table, staring down at the incomplete construction of a toy car.A procedure — with many of its steps circled and slashed — sat nearby, providing less-than-perfect instructions.“Where is the supervisor for this job?” Taba called out, seeking help...
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STP to Join USA in 2014

November 19th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) formally announced today that STP Nuclear Operating Company which operates the South Texas Project (STP) Electric Generating Station will join the fleet of independent nuclear plant operators as a full member effective January 1, 2014. “We are pleased to welcome back STP to the USA fleet,” said USA President and...
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The USA Fleet Wraps up the Fall Outage Season

November 18th, 2013
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
In mid-November, USA fleet members Cook Unit 2 and Hope Creek successfully completed their scheduled refueling outages. As these two plants returned to service, Prairie Island continued its major project to replace its steam generators during its refueling outage.As part of its refueling outage, Cook completed more than 12,600 maintenance, inspection and equipment modification job...
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10 Million Hours of Safe Work

November 15th, 2013
Author: Angela Walz, Columbia Generating Station
USA fleet member Energy Northwest and its Columbia Generating Station reached a significant milestone November 12 for industrial safety – 10 million hours without a lost-time injury.The achievement comes just over a month after Columbia, in September, surpassed its highest measurable performance levels in the 28-year history of the facility.“My sincerest thanks to all of...
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Let the Savings Begin: Rolls-Royce’s Comprehensive PIERSS Program Begins to See Success

November 14th, 2013
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
The flagship Proactive Integrated Equipment Reliability and Strategic Sourcing (PIERSS) program offered by three-time USA Services Supplier of the Year PKMJ (who was acquired by Rolls-Royce in 2013) is starting to gain traction among USA members. The Rolls-Royce PIERSS program, finalized in USA Agreement No. 2013-03-00, is a proactive and integrated approach to improving equipment...
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Xcel Energy leadership changes at Monticello and Prairie Island plants

November 14th, 2013
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
The Xcel Energy Monticello and Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plants have recently announced new leaders at the helm. Most recently, Kevin Davison was named site vice president at Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant. Karen Fili was announced the site vice president of the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant in late August. “Karen and Kevin have each...
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Employee’s Wedding Ring Found After 21 Years

November 6th, 2013
Author: Kelly Rae, Columbia Generating Station
It’s a hopeless feeling when a special item goes missing, but every now and then, items get found and returned to their rightful owner and hope restored. Such is the case with Steven Hafner, a painter at Columbia Generating Station, who was recently reunited with the wedding ring he lost 21 years ago. “My co-worker...
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Pioneer Woman Retires from Cook

October 23rd, 2013
Author: Bill Downey, Cook Nuclear Plant
As the first female IBEW member at Cook, Sally Barber retires leaving a lasting impression on craft co-workers “Pioneer Woman” may be the last thing long-time IBEW craft member Sally Barber would call herself. In fact, she’d probably bristle at the phrase. But to the many friends and co-workers she has met over the years,...
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USA Chief Nuclear Officers Visit Japan

October 17th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear and Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
In early September, the chief nuclear officers (CNOs) from the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) and the rest of the industry visited Japan to learn more about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear event. The CNOs saw firsthand the damage at Fukushima Daiichi and Daini and discussed with their Japanese counterparts actions taken at the plants during and...
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USA Supporting Emergency Response Efforts

October 16th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
With the increasing role of social media and the 24 hour news cycle, the need to communicate in a timely and accurate manner in response to a plant event continues to be a major challenge. Within a matter of seconds, photos can be taken with the latest cell phone and posted to social media sites...
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USA Cyber Security Efforts Recognized

October 15th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
USA Cyber Security Project Team Member Jim Shank from PSEG Nuclear was recently recognized as a finalist for the prestigious Americas Information Security Leadership Award in the category of Senior Information Security Professional. (ISC)-2, the world’s largest information security professional body, recognized Shank for creating an industry-standard, cyber security control implementation strategy to help nuclear...
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USA Welcomes Sarah Vandermast to the Team

September 20th, 2013
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
On September 1, 2013 Sarah Vandermast was named the USA Manager—Supply Chain. Sarah is taking over the role formerly held by Jim Kitchens, who is now the USA Director – Supply Chain, and will be reporting to Jim. In this role, Sarah is responsible for management and administration of the portfolio of USA agreements, development...
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Fermi 2 First Responders Save Man’s Life

September 20th, 2013
Author: Stephen Tait, Fermi 2
At USA fleet member Fermi 2, when employee Harry Giles heard the station was going to offer first responder training, it piqued his interest. Giles works in the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation building, about as far from the site nurse as possible within the Protected Area.“I told my boss that we are so far...
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USA Fleet Benefits from Personnel Sharing

September 17th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
Each spring and fall, nuclear plants across the country bring in thousands of additional workers to their site as part of their refueling outages. For the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) fleet, it is also a time for supporting each other as members share key personnel in maintenance, radiation protection and other positions. “One of the...
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USA Congratulates Steve Willrett on Retirement, Jim Kitchens on Promotion

September 16th, 2013
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
On September 1st, Steve Willrett, USA Vice President- Supply Chain, officially retired after 16 years of service to USA. Steve joined USA in May of 1997, on loan from OPPD in what was initially dubbed a temporary assignment. “I have joked throughout the last 16 + years about my ‘temporary’ assignment,” states Steve. “But it...
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USA Fleet Members Save Money, Time with Fastenal Vending Machines

September 15th, 2013
Author: Kelly Rae, Columbia Generating Station
Vending machines stocked with gloves, lanyards and safety glasses are popping up at several of the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) fleet members as part of an initiative to help drive down the cost of supplies. At Columbia Generating Station, 10 Fastenal vending machines were installed last month, each stocked with commonly used personal protective equipment...
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Fall Refueling Outages Underway

September 12th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
With the fall season comes the beginning of another refueling outage season for Utilities Service Alliance (USA) fleet members. This fall, Prairie Island Unit 2, Cook Unit 2 and Hope Creek will begin refueling outages and look to capitalize on the lessons learned from this past spring’s refueling outages that were captured by the USA...
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Training Core Peer Team Supports Efforts for Accreditation Renewal

August 20th, 2013
Author: Kelly Rae, Columbia Generating Station
For training programs in the nuclear industry, receiving accreditation renewal is a major accomplishment, and it’s one that the Utilities Service Alliance Training Core Peer Team is currently focused on. Receiving accreditation renewal for operator, maintenance and technical training programs ensures that training for station personnel continues to meet and exceed industry standards. USA’s Training...
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USA Ops Core Peer Team Reinvigorates ‘Rapid Benchmarking’ Process

August 14th, 2013
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
Issues identified, questions answered, problems solved in a timely manner During the course of this year, USA’s Operations Core Peer Team has begun making consistent and successful use of Rapid Benchmarking – sending out requests for information on behaviors, standards or actions - and receiving quick responses from peer teams across the country sharing their experiences...
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USA Helps Train New Emergency Preparedness Managers

August 14th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Emergency Preparedness (EP) Core Peer Team recently helped train 19 new emergency preparedness managers at an Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) seminar. USA was represented by EP Team Leader David Burgin who served as one of three industry mentors.“The goal of the program was to help these new managers...
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PSEG Nuclear Announces New Vice President – Operations Support

August 6th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
Industry leader Chris Schwarz has joined PSEG Nuclear as Vice President – Operations Support.  Schwarz most recently served as the site vice president of Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO). Prior to ANO, Chris served as the site vice president of Palisades Power Plant. Before coming to Palisades, Chris was vice president of operations support for Entergy...
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USA’s Christensen Elected to Vice President

July 9th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) recently announced the election of John Christensen to Vice President – Operational Performance effective September 1, 2013. In his new position, he will become an officer of the company with fiduciary responsibilities and provide additional support to USA CEO Carl Parry with financial reviews and budgeting. “John has been a true...
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USA now on Twitter

July 8th, 2013
Want to learn more about the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) fleet? We’re now on Twitter and you can follow us @USA_Fleet. More and more nuclear plants across the country are using Twitter and other social media platforms to keep key stakeholders informed. In addition, several members are actively participating in the Nuclear Energy Institute’s (NEI) Social...
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USA names Ebright Fukushima Response Director

June 19th, 2013
Author: Bill Schalk, American Electric Power (Cook)
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) has named Randy Ebright as the fleet’s Fukushima Response Director. He replaces Scott Northard who returns to Xcel Energy as a General Manager of Fleet Operations. In addition to his new role, Ebright will remain as DC Cook’s USA Management Council Representative and provide support to the USA Training and...
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USA Executive Summit a Success

June 12th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) recently concluded its 19th Annual Nuclear Generator and Supplier Executive Summit in Hot Springs, Virginia. Close to 500 conference attendees and their guests from over 125 different companies attended this leading industry event. This year’s theme was Engagement and Accountability: the Keys to Unlocking Excellence. Speakers included several chief nuclear officers,...
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USA Member AEP Wins TIP Award

June 10th, 2013
Presented at the Nuclear Energy Institute's annual conference, NEI's Top Industry Practice Awards honor accomplishments that help the industry improve safety, streamline processes, increase efficiency and reduce customer costs. In a special series of online features, NEI is highlighting in greater detail the challenges and successes of five TIP winners. Each award segment includes a...
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USA Raises Money for the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project

June 10th, 2013
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
Through the combination of corporate donations and a charity casino night held at this year’s Executive Summit, $20,000 was raised for the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project. This worthy organization provides comfort and relief items for military members who become sick, injured, or wounded from service in the Middle East. You can learn more about this...
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DTE Energy wins USA Optimizer Award for fifth time

June 6th, 2013
Author: Robin Thompson, DTE Energy
With $4.7 million in savings and avoided costs, DTE Energy and the Fermi Nuclear Power Plant won the coveted Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Optimizer Award for the fifth time. The company’s savings represent an impressive return of $39.65 on each dollar of their fleet membership investment. “This award represents the tangible and intangible benefits utilities have...
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USA Announces the Suppliers of the Year

June 6th, 2013
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
The votes are in!! The 2012 Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Suppliers of the Year are AP Services, Material Suppler of the Year, and PKMJ Technical Services, Services Supplier of the Year. The winners were announced today at USA’s 19th Annual Executive Summit being held in Hot Springs, Virginia. “These two honorees reinforce and exhibit a commitment...
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PPL's Tim Rausch Reappointed USA Board Vice Chair

June 4th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Board of Directors announced the reappointment today of Tim Rausch as the board vice chairman. Rausch will serve a second two year term for the fleet. “It is an honor to be reappointed and continue in a key leadership role with the USA fleet,” said Rausch. “Working with the other...
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USA Supply Chain News: USA Supplier Crane Nuclear, PPL Susquehanna Strengthen Relationship

May 8th, 2013
Author: Susan Downs & Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
Coming together and getting it done during U2 16RIO: PPL Susquehanna, Crane Nuclear valve team demonstrate how
Last outage, any member of the Valve Team might tell you that the work experience between PPL Susquehanna and main valve contractor Crane Nuclear was less than perfect.  Members of the team would say, “far less than perfect.”  “Looking...
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USA Board Meets with INPO

May 1st, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Board of Directors recently met with representatives from the Institute of Nuclear of Power Operations (INPO) to discuss our fleet’s performance.  The discussion focused on the USA management model and the important role each USA team plays in the fleet’s success. “INPO recognizes USA has made significant progress the past few...
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Member News: PSEG Nuclear Announces Leadership Changes

April 30th, 2013
PSEG Nuclear recently announced a series of leadership changes impacting its Salem and Hope Creek Generating Stations. Effective dates will vary to allow for proper transitions. Current Salem Vice President Carl Fricker will be joining PSEG Energy Resources & Trading (ER&T) as the new vice president of trading support and operations. In his new role, Carl...
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Standard KPIs Encourage Fleet Behavior

April 29th, 2013
The Utilities Services Alliance (USA) has developed a standardized list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that provides a common platform for measuring and trending performance of the stations in the USA fleet. Working together, members of USA reviewed each station’s KPIs to develop a comprehensive list of 200 indicators to measure performance in 11 functional...
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USA Security Team Reminds Everyone to be Vigilant

April 17th, 2013
We are all aware of the tragic events that occurred at the Boston Marathon. Our hearts go out to the people of Boston and those impacted. As is always the case in the nuclear industry, we try to learn from any situation and look for ways to improve our processes and prevent similar occurrences. Nuclear...
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Spring Refueling Outages Underway

April 16th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
Spring means more than April showers and May flowers for the nuclear industry. For the members of the Utilities Service Alliance (USA), it means spring refueling outage season. This spring, six USA members have spring refueling outages with many already underway. Wolf Creek started their refueling outage in February with Monticello and Cook Unit 1...
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Behavior Initiative driving USA Performance

April 12th, 2013
Author: Joe Delmar, PSEG Nuclear
Through the first quarter of 2013, the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) performance has continued to improve thanks to the fleet’s behavior initiative. The two tiered initiative has improved engagement amongst members and led to a better recognition of risk to help drive performance towards excellence. “Across USA, the core peer teams (CPTs) have really stepped...
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USA Sites Work Together to Improve Force-on-Force Exercises

April 11th, 2013
Author: Dave Lefor, Cook Nuclear Plant
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) Security Core Peer Team (CPT) is working together to improve performance on Force-on-Force exercises throughout our fleet. A Force-on-Force inspection is conducted over several days in two separate visits by an inspection team at the licensee's site. This inspection is on a three-year cycle. What is a Force-on-Force exercise? Below...
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Member News: PPL Susquehanna Welcomes Jon Franke, Site Vice President

April 9th, 2013
Author: Chip Palazzo, PPL Susquehanna
PPL Susquehanna recently appointed an industry veteran with nearly 30 years of military and commercial nuclear power experience as its new site vice president for the Susquehanna nuclear power station.  Jon A. Franke joins PPL on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, from the Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida, where he served as site vice president...
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Three Generation Records Broken as Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1 Begins Refueling Outage Wednesday

March 26th, 2013
Author: Bill Schalk, Cook Nuclear Plant
BRIDGMAN, Mich. – Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1 will break its previous records for total generation, capacity factor and days online when it begins its 24th refueling outage Wednesday. Power was reduced to 70 percent Sunday afternoon for equipment testing and the unit will be taken offline Tuesday at midnight.The 518 consecutive...
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Monticello Gains Valuable Expertise through USA Connection

March 26th, 2013
Author: Patrick L. Thompson, Xcel Energy
The Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant sends a big salute to the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) connection through which Fermi 2 ALARA engineering technician Tony Pezzino is spending 45 days assisting in RFO26. Pezzino, who has benchmarked and/or worked at 15 utilities as part of his Fermi career, assisted Monticello with oversight of a Torus diving project...
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New USA Manager – Supply Chain

March 13th, 2013
Author: Lynne Hilton, Utilities Service Alliance
Recently Jim Kitchens, Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM), was named the USA Manager-Supply Chain. Jim is taking over the role formerly held by Daniel Dale, who is now the Supply Chain Manager at Energy Northwest’s Columbia station. Jim reports to Steve Willrett, Vice President-Supply Chain Business Unit. In this role, Jim is responsible for management and...
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Northard assists with INPO Plant Review Visit: Fukushima Response Efforts Assessed

March 11th, 2013
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
Scott Northard, Utilities Services Alliance (USA) project director for Fukushima response, recently participated on the INPO Emergency Response Review Visit (ERRV) at Entergy's Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO) in Russellville, Ark. Northard served as an industry peer on the seven-member INPO ERRV team which reviewed the status of the utility's response to the recommendations from the four...
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Two-Year Fukushima Anniversary: USA Implements Fukushima Lessons Learned

March 11th, 2013
Author: Lisa Kuehl, Xcel Energy
March 11 marks the two-year anniversary of the largest natural disaster that Japan has ever experienced. The earthquake and tsunami tidal waves caused considerable damage to the Japanese coast, most notably damaging the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. “Following the events at Fukushima Daiichi, the U.S. nuclear energy facilities immediately began taking steps to make...
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Member News: Xcel Energy Names Chief Nuclear Officer

February 21st, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS – Xcel Energy’s board of directors today named Tim O’Connor senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. O'Connor has been serving as acting CNO since September, when he succeeded former CNO Dennis Koehl. O’Connor, who has more than 30 years of experience in the nuclear industry, joined Xcel Energy in 2007 as site vice president...
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Letter from the President: 2013 Look Ahead

February 19th, 2013
Author: Carl Parry, President & CEO, USA Inc.
As we continue into 2013, I wanted to take a moment and recognize the success of the Utilities Service Alliance (USA) last year and our plans to continue moving forward towards Excellence. USA has entered a new era of accountability and engagement. Our members are working more closely together than ever before. Our main focus...
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