A nine year commute took Kris Honomichl clear across the country and back before she took a job just 15 miles from where she grew up.
She graduated in 1996 from Burke County High School, where she’d played tuba in the band, acted out skits with the thespian society and had serious thoughts of becoming a teacher after being inspired by a number of her own in high school.
But instead of heading to college right away, Kris enlisted in the U.S. Navy, which sent her first to Illinois and then to Washington State where she would become an electronics technician aboard the USS Camden. Her next assignment took her back East to Mayport, Fla. where she worked as a leadership facilitator for the Navy.
It wasn’t until after she finished her enlisted service and headed back to her family’s home in the Big Ben area of northern Burke County that she began looking into career options here. She had earned her degree in education while in the service, but a suggestion from a friend led Kris to apply at Plant Vogtle. After landing an entry level position, her background in electronics helped her move up as an instrumentation and control technician. Now, as a supervisor, she’s among the Southern Nuclear staff for Units 3 and 4, helping pioneer a new generation of nuclear power plants by developing procedures and training material for those who will work in her department there.
As she watches the progress unfold, Kris is still in awe to be a part of something so big, so close to home.
“I think the opportunities here are endless,” she says, ticking off a range of professions there. “Some people drive two hours to come to work here every day but this place is in our backyard.”
Those opportunities, along with their proximity to his family, are also what brought Michael Griffin, a 1993 BCHS grad, back to Burke County. As an engineering student at Georgia Tech, he’d co-oped for several terms at Plant Vogtle. Because his dad had worked there when Units 1 and 2 were being built, he knew full well what Plant Vogtle had to offer.
So after college graduation, the nuclear plant was an option that could bring him and his wife Kristi, also an engineer, back home. Aside from location, Michael says the choice was just as smart for his career, referencing job security in the power industry and the promise of a welldefined professional path.
Now, Michael works at Plant Vogtle as a shift supervisor and senior reactor operator in the control room, where he oversees the reactor’s operation during his shift. He’s continually training for his job, which he says requires a level of commitment and motivation he likely wouldn’t have experienced in other industries.
And all the while, he and his wife are raising their children, Jackson, 6, and Aubrey, 1, within minutes of the grandparents.
“To have a good, rewarding career close to where I grew up is a big benefit,” he says. “We are very fortunate to have Plant Vogtle in this community for many reasons.”
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