Southwest Power Pool
Ricky Finkbeiner had a family tie, but his real attraction to Southwest Power Pool was electrical.
“I was always a math and science guy, intrigued by the nature of electricity, magnetism,” the 2011 graduate of the University of Arkansas said. That steered him toward a degree in mechanical engineering.
“My dad [Brad Finkbeiner] was already working for SPP, and he told me it was expanding.” SPP is the not-for-profit regional transmission organization that runs the grid and oversees power markets in 14 states.
At SPP, he’s a bridge between the real-time operations floor and back-office engineering support, solving problems to keep the power flowing. “He works harder than anybody else,” said Yasser Bahbaz, the company’s market forensics supervisor. “He pretty much runs the show in operations.”
Finkbeiner, who was born in Nebraska but raised in Perryville, said that work is his hobby. “The important thing is that I like my work. ... I work with a lot of smart people, 550 in no telling how many departments, and they’re amazing at every level.”
Finkbeiner, who has two children with his wife, Kristen, isn’t sure where his career will be in 20 years, but he envisions a highly evolved power grid. “There are going to be far more houses with solar panels and batteries and smart meters, moving the load around,” he said. “Managing all those moving parts will be the challenge.”
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