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 Bonilla Networks His Way to a Leadership Role at Georgia Power

For Luis Bonilla III, maintenance manager, Georgia Power Plant Scherer, sending his colleagues home to their families at the end of each day is a day well done.
“I have the opportunity to influence people’s careers and personal development. Some days are long days, but as long as we all get to go home to our families safely, it’s a rewarding day,” he point out.
In fact, safety is priority number one for Bonilla and his team. “I lead an amazing group of individuals that execute Georgia Power plant maintenance activities to ensure the generation of safe, reliable and affordable energy for our customers and owners.”
That team consists of 10 leaders and 100-plus maintenance employees who keep one of the largest power plants in the nation humming.
“Team members include instrumentation and control technicians, maintenance specialists, condition-base maintenance specialists, contract coordinators and IBEW union employees (mechanics and electricians),” details Bonilla.
“We have a great team, and we were honored to have our plant awarded the 2017 Powder River Basin Coal Users’ Group Plant of the Year.”
However, once upon a time not that long ago, this entrusted leader was a nervous new hire.
“I’ll never forget my transition from a working college student in Puerto Rico to a Georgia Power employee in Cartersville, GA. During Winter 2005, with no family, I relocated to a location an hour away from metro Atlanta, GA. It was hard, challenging and scary,” he recalls.
So what steadied Bonilla? “The maturity I gained in the military, the warm welcome I received from the Georgia Power family, the amazing welcome of the AMIGOS (Georgia Power’s Hispanic employee resource group), and the unconditional support of my wife and family through the years made it all less difficult,” he answers.
Bonilla urges you, too, to build your support networks: “In all aspects of life, personal and professional, it’s important to build a strong support system you can trust that will help you navigate those inevitable challenging times.”
You can further follow Bonilla’s lead and embrace challenges.
“I love the always challenging, forever-changing, day-to-day operations. When that combines with the company’s employee-oriented culture, and always having a customer-driven attitude, it makes this one of the best companies to work for,” asserts Bonilla.
Georgia Power’s internal networks also make it a great place to work. “Thanks to the employee resource groups, I’ve gotten to know amazing people in other business units (power delivery, sales, marketing, environmental affairs),” he notes.
If you want to work alongside Bonilla and are still in school, then get busy.
“This is not a sector to try and see if it works. Use the available technology to research the industry, including what’s happening with current legislation/regulation around the energy sector, [and] seek internships and co-op opportunities,” Bonilla urges.
“Be a member of at least three student organizations (ASME, IEEE, PES and SHPE, for me), and work to attend their national conferences and school events.”
And don’t simply settle for a job, Bonilla adds.
“Don’t be on the lookout for a job; seek a career. Start early on, go to job fairs and conferences offered by student organizations. If you’re truly interested, then you’ll find companies (or fields of work) you’re passionate about. This will help jump-start a successful career.”
Georgia Power is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Learn more through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Surf careers at georgiapower.com/company/careers.html.
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