October 2016: Meet Bob, who knows to expect the unexpected
The unexpected can come from many directions. Bob has experienced his share of the unexpected – from people in his life and realities he hadn't anticipated.
Bob, an engineer in our Clifton office, says his takeaway from those experiences have all provided a similar lesson: "Not everything is about me."
'Obvious that it was the right thing to do'
Bob and his wife, Lorraine, have two adult sons, a teenage daughter and a teenage son. The younger kids were unique life-changers: both were adopted internationally and are handicapped by missing limbs.
That's no small challenge, which Bob recognized in advance. But Paulina, his daughter and an avid dancer using prosthetic limbs from an early age, helped him understand that it was worth it.
"I was convinced it was a bad idea, but I didn't have the guts to say 'no,' " he says of the time in advance of adopting Paulina in Russia." And then here she came and she had this dogged determination and this love of dance."
That made the decision to adopt Marcel, their youngest son, six years later in Poland much easier.
Bob credits Lorraine and their two oldest sons, Shiloh and Wesley, with making their home welcoming for Paulina, now 17, and Marcel, now 16.
"Pretty soon it was obvious that it was the right thing to do," Bob says of adding special-needs kids to their family. "I hadn't wanted to be inconvenienced. But this has been a lesson that not everything is about me."
A positive outlook about a terrible thing
The family lost its home outside Clifton to a fire two years ago, a traumatic experience that also brought out the best in neighbors, colleagues and complete strangers. Assistance poured in via the Red Cross, local churches and anonymous cash donations by TNMP employees.
"How can you be negative about it?" Bob asks, noting that no one was hurt. "When it comes down to it, everything is still OK. When there's a real issue, people will rise up and take care of one another."
Another TNMP employee in Central Texas lost a home to a fire earlier this year. Bob said there was no doubt that it was his turn to contribute.
"I didn't hesitate to step up for the collection we had for him," Bob says. "Got to do it. Everybody did it for me. Everybody giving something adds up in a great way."
Is this job really that boring?
Bob's professional life as a distribution engineer for our Central Texas operations may seem a little slow in comparison with his home and family. Even he admits that people he meets often aren't interested in what he does for TNMP.
"I've only had one person who wanted to know what I really did," Bob says. "I started telling him about studies I was doing and he said never mind. It sounded boring."
In short, Bob supervises a team of designers who determine how to get new power lines or lines with greater capacity where they need to be to serve customers.
This recently included changing part of a system near Walnut Springs to enable a small solar facility to put its power onto the grid. Another project near Santo will require Bob's team to figure out how to completely relocate a line that currently sits in what soon will be a lake.
"I help get power from wherever it is to wherever people need it," he says. "Sometimes that's something simple. Sometimes it's more complicated."