FERC Fives – Natasha Deschene
Natasha Deschene began her career with National Grid eight years ago. She spent the first few years in the Transmission Engineering group designing projects. She was later assigned the role of National Grid engineer assigned to work with one of our consultants managing their projects. Eventually she became the manager for Transmission Engineering in New England. In January of this year, she had the opportunity to work for seven months with the construction group in Transmission Line Services. She recently was named acting director of Transmission Engineering, leading a team of approximately 45 people that are currently working on a variety of projects including replacing underground cables in Providence, and overhead projects and programs like the conductor clearance refurbishment program.
What drew you to National Grid?
I did an internship for a small utility company in northern Maine, where I am from, for a couple of years. Even after doing that I thought what I really wanted to do was design buildings. I attended WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and when I was a senior I worked on a year-long project designing a building. By the end of the project, I decided that designing buildings seemed pretty repetitive and not as exciting as utility work. I still feel that way; every transmission line project seems completely different from the previous one. It’s never the same thing every day, which is one of the things I love about working at a utility.
What matters most to you about your job?
Putting out a good quality work product is very important to me. Customers benefit from it as do our internal stakeholders, such as the construction group, since quality engineering better enables them to do their work.
How do you contribute to the FERC Jurisdiction achieving its goals?
A lot of the FERC projects we are working on are aimed at improving reliability so that is our focus. We also work hard to create efficiencies within the group. Our department has a PEx hub through which we’re always working on ways to continuously improve our group and make our processes more streamlined and efficient. Safety is always our first consideration. We do a lot with safety by design, which means safety is built in early into the process and hazards are eliminated before the construction phase of a project.
What are your passions outside of work?
Spending time with friends and family is a priority but I’m also passionate about sports. I played basketball in college and I still play in a league once a week. In addition to that I play in a golf league with a group of current and retired National Grid engineers. Who would be your perfect foursome in golf? Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and Jordan Spieth, because they could give me lots of lessons. My two brothers and my dad also play, so I always love the opportunity to golf as a family, too.
What advice do you have for our newer employees?
Be curious. Ask questions. Take advantage of your opportunities to learn. Even if you’re not in your ideal role, take advantage of learning all there is to learn from your current job and get as much experience out of it as you can. That way, when you do find your dream job, you’ll have a lot to bring to it. There are a lot of very experienced people in the company. Always ask why and dig in to get more information. That’s the best thing you can do here.