The People of Santee Cooper Part 3
Do you ever wonder about what it takes to make the lights turn on? For over 2 million people in South Carolina, Santee Cooper is the power source behind those lights. We have more than 1,600 employees who work together statewide to make sure you have reliable and affordable electricity and clean drinking water. Santee Cooper prides itself on protecting the environment near our electric generation stations to ensure the land and water are safe for the public.
Meet Aubree Decoteau, an environmental engineer who is responsible for permitting and compliance at Santee Cooper’s Cross Generating Station and Winyah Generating Station landfills as well as environmental support for the ash pond closures and other coal combustion residuals requirements.
Q: What led you to your current career?
A: I have a degree in environmental engineering, but I also interned for Santee Cooper prior to working full time. My other job responsibilities before moving into this role included engineering design for municipal water and wastewater systems as well as solid and hazardous waste management.
Q: What type of education, training, technical knowledge or experience is necessary for this kind of work?
A: I have a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University. I have learned that having a technical degree helps you speak the language, but there is no substitute for work experience.
Q: What type of interests, abilities and skills would help a person to be successful in your occupation?
A: Problem solving, enjoy working outside, and having a desire to do the right thing for the environment are particularly key for this job. However, many successful career women and men are self-motivated and have strong organization skills.
Q: What advice would you give a student interested in this career?
A: Take advantage of every opportunity to learn outside the classroom. Whether that is in the form of a summer internship, a co-op position, a research position at your school, or even shadowing a mentor in your desired field, exposure to multiple opportunities help you figure out what you are looking for (or not looking for) in a particular career path so you can find the best fit for you.
Q: What part-time jobs, internships or extracurricular activities would best prepare you for this occupation?
A: Anything that exposes you to environmental work. Look for something that involves field work, working in a laboratory setting analyzing environmental samples, or engineering design. There are many types of jobs or internships available such as working for a government organization (DHEC, EPA, Corps of Engineers), utilities (power, water), environmental consulting firms, manufacturing, or research/laboratory.
Explore the wide variety of rewarding career opportunities Santee Cooper has to offer at www.santeecooper.com/careers.