D.J. Potter & University College: An Interview
May 03, 2011
With days left to complete his Wind Energy Management Graduate Certificate, D.J. Potter corresponded with University College (UC) to talk about the circumstances that brought him to University College and wind energy, the status of his graduate certificate and his future in the industry. Read what follows for an insight into the hectic but rewarding life of a wind energy graduate student.
UC: How did you hear about University College's graduate certificate in wind energy?
Potter: I am currently finishing up the Wind Energy Management Certificate this semester. I heard about the Certificate while searching the internet for Wind Energy programs. I was pleased to find that TTU offered a certificate in this field of study. There are many associates programs, but TTU is the only university I found that offered a graduate level program.
UC: Why Texas Tech?
Potter: I chose TTU because it was the only school I found that offered an online education wind energy management graduate certificate. Also, I wanted to study at school with a great reputation and excellent credentials.
UC: What was your motivation?
Potter: I was motivated to earn the certificate because I have a strong desire to support, work and eventually become a leader within the wind industry. I believe part of our country’s future energy mix will and should come from wind. When it comes to energy, our nation and the world is at pivotal moment in history. I think TTU has positioned itself very well to lead the wind industry in generating highly qualified and technically savvy leaders.
UC: Did you enjoy your online coursework? Harder or easier than expected?
Potter: I enjoyed my time studying at TTU. The professors I had were knowledgeable, approachable and friendly. The work was challenging yet very rewarding. Being an online student added its own dynamic to my studies. Fortunately, the professors understood this and made the process flow more easily.
UC: Did the professors do anything that stands out to you?
Potter: Dr. Farris and Dr. Swift were very helpful in answering any questions and directing me during my studies in the Graduate certificate.
UC: Where did you earn your undergraduate degree?
Potter: I received my BS in Construction Management from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.
UC: What is your professional background?
Potter: My background is in construction and heavy equipment manufacturing. I was a Project Manager prior to this new position. I believe this wind energy graduate certificate helped me obtain the current position I am in.
UC: Any favorite courses?
Potter: My favorite courses where the core courses: Advanced Managerial Wind Energy taught by Dr. Swift and Dr. Farris. I also enjoyed Dr. Sutton’s Wind Energy Law course and Dr. Giesselmann’s Power System Analysis course.
UC: So you got a new job in the field. What is it like?
Potter: I am the Technical Manager of eleven wind sites near Twin Falls, Idaho. The eleven sites consist of a total of 122 1.5MW General Electric ESS XLE turbines. At full capacity the eleven sites are able to generate 183 MW. My day to day responsibilities include managing GE field Service technicians and the Balance of Plant contractors. My geographical area spans 80 miles.
UC: Did the certificate play a role in landing your new job?
Potter: I believe the graduate certificate played a large role in getting me in the position I am in now.
UC: What was the balance like between your work, your family, and your education?
Potter: I am married with two kids. I would work all day then study during the evening after my kids went to bed. It was challenging yet rewarding. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you are truly passionate about something. In this case wind energy.
UC: So what next?
Potter: My goal is to have a long, meaningful and successful career within the wind industry.