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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Hanson lifting big load in transmission projects

February 25, 2019 | Jason Kuiper | OPPD at work, OPPD employees
OPPD engineer

Shane Hanson always had his eye on OPPD. When he started college at the University of Nebraska Omaha, he thought the utility was the most logical choice.

But when he graduated as an engineer, OPPD wasn’t hiring. He kept checking on employment and it eventually paid off for Hanson, OPPD and the utility’s customers.

Big award

The OPPD Society of Engineers (OSE) named Hanson the 2018 Engineer of the Year at a their annual meeting. Nominators called Hanson, a lead engineer in Transmission Engineering, a strong leader, effective communicator and “cornerstone of success on his projects and teams.”

Hanson is responsible for leading and managing all consulting, material and construction contracts, ensuring high standards, consistency and cost-effectiveness.

Dannie Buelt, manager of Transmission Engineering, and Hanson’s supervisor, said Hanson’s role on transmission projects has increased in complexity. Hanson handles challenges like a rapid pace, ever-evolving requirements and increased customer interface on economic development opportunities.

Hanson, who has been at OPPD for seven years, played a major role in the work done for the new Facebook data center in Sarpy County. It was one of the most interesting projects he has worked on, he said, and he enjoyed the fast pace.

“Shane has a well-earned reputation of being responsive and supportive while also providing the technical expertise to address any challenge,” Buelt said.

never the same

Hanson likes the variety his job offers.

OPPD at Work_Shane Hanson_Wizard team
Hanson, right, meets with others on a special project team.

“There are a lot different issues and complications with our projects,” Hanson said. “There is always something new to keep you on your toes. My days can vary wildly. I might spend weeks at a time buried in line modeling and design. Or I might spend half a day in the field helping a contractor troubleshoot an issue.”

He works on many projects that are under shorter deadlines to meet aggressive in-service dates. In some instances, those project completion times are half the time for traditional transmission projects.

Hanson said his work in Transmission Engineering helps bring a recent increase in renewable energy to customers, something in which he takes pride.

in the community

Hanson, who is also involved in the local American Society of Civil Engineers, was surprised to win the prestigious award.

“I was truly honored just to be included as a finalist for Engineer of the Year,” Hanson said. “Actually, being selected as the winner is very humbling and one of the coolest achievements of my career.”

OPPD at Work_Shane Hanson_family
Hanson with his wife, Jess, and daughter, Chloe.

He played soccer, baseball and basketball growing up. He was a wrestler, too. But in 2010, he tore his ACL, ending competitive sports. Or so he thought.

During recovery, he got into weightlifting with some guys he met at the gym. That turned into powerlifting, and Hanson went on to set state records in the squat and bench press for his weight class.

He joked that being short has its advantages when it comes to powerlifting. But the powerlifting days came to end in 2015 when he tore his quadriceps.

Now the power he focuses on is OPPD’s.

He and his wife, Jess, and their daughter, Chloe, stay active and healthy.

The family loves hanging out at lakes. One of their favorite activities is walking and biking around Omaha’s Standing Bear Lake.

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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

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