Vivian Rodriguez left her home in Puerto Rico three years ago in search of job opportunities in the land of opportunity, a journey that brought her to Mississippi Power as a Transmission Protection and Control engineer.
Rodriguez has returned home to join in the massive restoration effort on the island after Hurricane Maria effectively wiped out the country’s electric grid in September.
“This opportunity to work for my home country means a lot to me because I can make a positive impact to the community where I grew up,” said Rodriguez, who arrived back on March 24 and is scheduled to work until mid-May on a two-month assignment. “Three years after I left home, I’m giving back to my country all that Mississippi Power has taught me. I really do appreciate that the company let me be a part of this important mission for my family and my birth country.”
Her primary work location is Fort Allen Military Base in Juana Diaz, which is only about 10 miles away from her home in Villalba.
“I was lucky that the base camp in the Ponce region had an open position,” Rodriguez said. “I am able to visit my family almost every day after long hours of work.”
Rodriguez said her family is doing well. Her immediate family – her father, sister and grandmother – had power restored in late December, but she has relatives still without electric service.
She works seven days a week as crews continue to bring the remaining customers without power back online.
“Since I am a native of the Ponce region, I can support my team with my knowledge of the area, and identify and develop the logistics of how to get materials and people up the mountains,” said Rodriguez. “For example, I have to coordinate jobs where to set a pole and run wire from one structure to another if a helicopter is required.
“Because I am bilingual, I can help a lot with the communication between the Puerto Rico Energy Power Authority and other contractors.”
Rodriguez added she spends about 85 percent of her time in the office and about 15 percent in the field.
Mississippi Power has sent two 10-man teams and several other employees to assist with the Puerto Rico restoration effort.
The second 10-man team returned home on Saturday.
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. With nearly 160 megawatts of approved solar energy capacity, Mississippi Power is the largest partner in providing renewable energy in the state of Mississippi. Visit our websites at www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.