Women In Nuclear Conference Held In Chattanooga

Friday, February 10, 2017
Conference vendor Jay Frankhouser of C&D Technologies, Inc., left, discusses product innovations with student Jenny Baglio and TVA’s Brady Queen-Peden
Conference vendor Jay Frankhouser of C&D Technologies, Inc., left, discusses product innovations with student Jenny Baglio and TVA’s Brady Queen-Peden

The maze of pipes and valves of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Nuclear plant is a world away from an airplane cabin where Brady Queen-Peden started her professional career as a flight attendant in the 1980s. But her amazing career trajectory took her from helping air travelers to ensuring the safety and soundness of nuclear energy equipment that helps generate electricity for millions of people in the Tennessee Valley.

Success stories like Ms. Peden’s circulate faster than cooling water in a reactor at the 2017 Region II Southeast Regional Women in Nuclear Conference, hosted by TVA this year in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“It's an interesting ride to reinvent yourself,” said Ms. Peden, who held a career in marketing before returning to college and landing at TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in 2003.

Safety lessons learned at 35,000 feet apply directly to Ms. Peden’s current position as one of two nuclear surveillance [equipment test] coordinators at Browns Ferry. She helps ensure the plant’s equipment is continually tested and that it always operates as designed. Missing even one test on the day and time is "unacceptable," Ms. Peden said.

As a chairperson for Browns Ferry's Women in Nuclear (WIN) chapter, Ms. Peden’s mission is outreach. “When people hear the word nuclear they seem to panic,” she said. She changes that mindset by working with hundreds of young women to educate them about careers in the nuclear industry. She helps them to realize that all careers at TVA Nuclear and the nuclear industry in general are open to women—and that positions include administration, communications, engineering, finance, IT, medical, maintenance, plant operators, technical trades and more.

“Maintaining a willingness to learn is key,” Ms. Peden said. “There are jobs for women in all applications of nuclear science and technology.”

The nuclear industry employees about 100,000 people in the United States; however, a very small percentage of them are women. WIN wants to increase awareness among women that the nuclear career door is open to them. This year the WIN conference is bringing together over 250 female nuclear industry employees and nuclear engineering students from around the southeast who want recruit new “sisters” into their nuclear family.  

Jenny Baglio, a nuclear engineering major at North Carolina State University and first time WIN attendee, wants to network and meet the women who in a few short months will become her peers.

“I don’t think it has fully hit yet,” said Ms. Baglio, who is a senior. “I’m going to be around these people for the rest of my career.”

Ms. Baglio, who grew up in Houston, recently accepted a nuclear engineering position at GE-Hitachi, in Wilmington N.C. She chose an engineering career because “I really wanted to do something for the world. I could not see a major that was as active in everyone’s lives as engineering. I think it is the easiest way to touch on multiple lives in a positive way.”

Ms. Baglio is just the type of woman WIN wants to attract into the industry. “I would like to be in the forefront of nuclear technologies. I want to be part of the first economic simplified boiling water reactor that is going to go online in the future. I’m very hopeful that it will happen in my lifetime.”

At WIN conferences around the county participants learn about just such new industry trends, network with each other and share their experiences to with the hope to achieve “critical mass” by inspiring young ladies to choose STEM careers that may lead directly to the nuclear industry.

“TVA is proud to be a part of this conference,” said Beth Jenkins, TVA Watts Bar director, Plant Support. “TVA fully supports WIN’s mission to inspire young women to choose STEM careers and break all barriers before them.”


HHM Expands To Memphis, Merges With Brundige Payne & Company

Chattanooga based certified public accounting firm,    Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough, PLLC begins implementing its growth plan by announcing the merger with Brundige Payne & Company, PC effective Aug.   1. The combined company will operate as HHM Memphis and will move ... (click for more)

Textile Corporation Of America To Create 1,000 New Jobs In Pikeville

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe, and Textile Corporation of America Inc. officials on Monday announced the company will locate its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Pikeville.  Textile Corporation of America will invest approximately $27.1 million and create 1,000 new jobs in Bledsoe ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Considering Property Tax Increase Of Just Under 10 Cents

Soddy Daisy officials are considering a property tax increase of just under 10 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.   A possible vote on the increase is set for the next meeting of the Soddy Daisy Commission on Aug. 3 at 7 p.m.   The current tax rate is 1.3524, but the new certified rate after the recent reappraisal is 1.2559.   ... (click for more)

Police Find Large Cache Of Meth, $23,134 Cash On Hensley At Motel Near Hamilton Place; Police Say He Was Supplier To Rossville Man Who Died In June 29 Overdose

Chattanooga Police said they found Michael Wade Hensley with a large cache of meth, a loaded handgun and $23,134 cash after being summoned to a motel near Hamilton Place Mall last Wednesday. Police said they believe that Hensley, 41, was the supplier for a 36-year-old Rossville man who died of an overdose on June 29. Hensley is now facing federal charges of possession of meth ... (click for more)

Dr. Livesay Should Step Down From Bryan College Leadership - And Response (3)

I am writing in response to the July 25th article, "Online Petition Seeks Removal of Bryan College President, Board Chair".  As a graduate of Bryan College (1984), I am saddened by the response of Dr. Stephen Livesay and the Board of Trustees regarding the online petition.  The purpose of the petition really has little to do with the school’s “clarification” of its ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chik-fil-A Commits To East Ridge And Camp Jordan Development

In less than three weeks after a plan that could enhance Camp Jordan in East Ridge was announced, it has been learned that a Chik-fil-A restaurant will break ground at Jordan Crossing this fall. While developers John Healy, Matt Woods and Ethan Woods cannot make a public comment, the news is every bit as profound as James Earl Jones saying, “If you build it, they will come,” in ... (click for more)