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A Day in the Life: Manager, Technical Skills and Process Optimization (Training and Organizational Development), American Electric Power

8:00–9:00 a.m.: Review my calendar to see what I have scheduled to complete for the day; check for e-mails and phone messages.

9:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.: I return phone calls and e-mails. It may take less time or more time to do this, depending on how many messages I have, but it averages about 30 minutes to complete this task.

9:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.: I use this time to prioritize the items on my "to-do" list. Doing this ensures that I am completing the most urgent tasks first. A task is urgent if its due date is that day or the next, my boss has asked for it to be done that day or the next, or someone is waiting for this piece of the project in order to complete their piece. Other projects are completed by due date and how important the task is to others.

10:00 a.m.–12:00 noon: I attend a weekly senior staff meeting that lasts approximately two hours to discuss safety and operational aspects of the business. Participants include vice presidents of the six regional entities, three managers and directors of support functions, and budget and finance staff. This meeting is used to develop responses to both internal and external factors impacting the business. While the major concern is employee safety, the discussions can also include the impact of regulatory requirements, competitive issues, and relationships with other business units.

12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.: I take an hour for lunch. I usually eat in the cafeteria. If I am pressed for time to complete a project I will eat while working at my desk.

1:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.: Biweekly staff meeting with process optimization staff to review projects and plans. Typically, we would have six to eight projects underway that support the organization’s business plan. Recent projects include knowledge management, human performance improvement, after-action review process and software application, and ongoing plant maintenance improvement projects. We receive updates on the status of each project, what needs to be done, any issues or questions that may have come up, and action steps and dates for follow up. This meeting can sometimes run longer than half an hour, lasting an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the projects that are discussed and whether there are any specific problems that need to be addressed.

2:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.: I have a monthly conference call with technical training and operations training supervisors. Typical projects to be discussed would include simulator equipment maintenance and purchase, development of instructor-led and online courses, and the execution of learning strategies. We problem solve any specific issues the supervisors may have, and I answer questions and ensure each supervisor has everything he or she needs to conduct the necessary training.

3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.: Usually during this time slot I have scheduled project meetings with IT project staff. Often we are working on major hardware and software replacement projects. Typically, we need at least two one-hour meetings each week. During these meetings, I am representing the interests and requirements of my business unit. These discussions would address scheduling and logistics requirements of the project. As the business unit representative, I would focus on communication between the project staff and the business unit staff impacted by the project to ensure that each staff has a complete understanding of the project and its requirements.

4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.: In addition, there is typically at least one other project I would be involved in that may have enterprise implications. These projects have addressed safety (mobile phone use while driving), performance management software adoption, and implementation of human performance improvement strategies, among other issues.

Note: American Electric Power maintains a strong presence in the Central Ohio community. Part of that is involvement with local and national not-for-profit organizations. Typically, we are involved in at least one project for one of these organizations at all times. Managers are expected to participate or lead those efforts. I have participated as a coordinator for projects with the American Heart Association and the Mid-Ohio Food bank.

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