Mississippi Power Refinery Technician Marcus Jackson says working at the Kemper County energy facility is his ultimate win-win situation, considering he’s a third-generation Southern Company employee that doesn’t live too far from home.
The Forkland, Ala., native grew up in the shadow of the Greene County Electric Generating Plant and always hoped he could one day carry on his family’s legacy of working in the Southern Company system.
“My dad works at the Greene County plant, and so did both of my grandfathers” said Jackson. “My dad, Milton Jackson, is still working there, while my mom’s father Talmus Williams and my father’s dad Milton Jackson (He’s not Milton Sr. because he and his son have different middle names) both worked at Greene County and eventually retired from there. I also have a few uncles who worked there. I feel like I’ve been molded into the culture my whole life, and at the end of the day I’m happy to be here because I always wanted to keep the family legacy alive.”
For Jackson, the journey began in high school when Eric Phillips, Alabama Power Human Resources consultant, spoke to him and other students at a career day event.
“I remember everything about it,” he said. “They weren’t recruiting, they were just helping us get ready for what to expect in the real world. Eight years later, I ran into Eric Phillips, the same person I had met at the career day, and he remembered me from high school. After working at two other jobs, Phillips helped me get a job at the Red Hills Plant.”
From there, Jackson says a transfer to Plant Sweatt presented his first win-win opportunity because it got him closer to home and fully integrated into Mississippi Power and the Southern Company system.
“Working at Plant Sweatt was important because it gave me the experience I needed and it was also historic because we helped with the plant de-commissioning process,” Jackson added. “When the chance to work at Kemper came up for me, it was my ultimate win-win scenario. I was closer to home and had the opportunity to work on a revolutionary project.”
Jackson’s main responsibility at Kemper revolves around the operation of the combined cycle plant, which has been producing safe, reliable electricity for customers since 2014.
“Getting the chance to operate the combustion turbine at Plant Sweatt gave me the experience I needed to work at Kemper,” he said. “The system at Kemper took a while to learn, but our team has made the process smoother by working together.”
Jackson also works as a troubleshooter for whatever challenges come up at the plant, in addition to his role as a safety representative for his area.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this project, and I firmly believe our core values have played a key role in the process,” Jackson said. “Projects change and plans change, but our core values stay the same. I feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself.”
Off-site, Jackson is also busy with making wedding plans after his recent engagement. He says whatever he’s doing away from work always involves family.
“As for my family, we have a big group, so I like to get involved with whatever they’re doing. We ride ATV’s, hunt, fish and anything else we can do together. I live in Meridian, and when the job is done, I can jump right on I-20/59 and head back home.”