Photo: Angie Rucker, center, receiving the Roberta Bowman Award
There’s a figure at Harris Nuclear Plant that casts a long shadow across the site. No, it’s not the 523 foot tall cooling tower on a sunny day. This one stands barely five feet tall – but the positive effect that this influential figure has on the site, the nuclear fleet and the company is far-reaching.
It’s no wonder she’s also an award winner.
Angie Rucker is Maintenance Training Supervisor at Harris. She is a trusted and respected leader, a go-to advisor for difficult training and accreditation issues and a motivator that inspires teams to accomplish great things.
Angie was recently awarded the Roberta Bowman Award, a prestigious honor sponsored by the Business Women’s Network. The award recognizes individuals for supporting Duke Energy's commitment to promoting an inclusive workplace by providing opportunities for professional development, personal enrichment and information sharing. Her commitment to her team, knowledge of processes and procedures, high standards in instruction and striving for continuous improvement are recurring themes that are highlighted throughout her award nomination.
The Bowman Award places a special emphasis on the unique challenges facing working women, so it’s even more fitting for Angie to receive this honor – she is the first female to hold the position of maintenance training supervisor in the history of Duke Energy Nuclear Generation. And this is just one of the ways she ‘breaks the mold.’
Some might be surprised to learn that this leader at the Harris Plant and trailblazer in nuclear generation comes from a non-nuclear background. She is a former middle school science teacher who – not surprisingly – worked her way up the ranks to become principal of a middle school in Ohio. Never one to shy away from a challenge – and more importantly, an opportunity to help those in need – she took the helm of the lowest performing school in the urban district. Under her leadership, in just two years, it became the highest performing school in the entire district.
You won’t find too many similarities in the work environment at a nuclear plant and Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market – you don't throw things in a nuclear plant – but Angie’s work philosophy originated at the famous open air market: “There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself.” According to Angie, no matter what tasks you face – routine or unexpected – you have to own them, problems and all. Even on the most frustrating days, it’s how you look at the task at hand and decide how you’re going to influence it and how you’re going to be your best. Angie embodies this attitude, and instills it in her team.
Angie’s positive influence on teams’ knowledge, skills, performance and morale is not just felt in Nuclear Training, but across the entire plant. In fact, her reputation for excellence reaches far outside Harris’ secure fences. Other work units within Duke Energy have expressed an interest in tapping into her expertise and having her help develop their teams and lead train the trainer classes in their areas.
Angie has touched many lives personally and professionally throughout her diverse career, and whatever she undertakes, it is not long before she has the entire team looking up to her.