John Riggleman’s 28-year career with OPPD has taken him all around the district.
From his beginning working as a security contractor fresh out of the U.S. Air Force to North Omaha Station and now ensuring OPPD’s peaking station at Cass County is running smoothly and ready to deliver power during peak demand.
With Riggleman’s background in electronics, his skills have been utilized in a wide variety of roles across the utility. After becoming a fulltime OPPD employee, Riggleman, combustion turbine operator at Cass County, moved from Fort Calhoun Station (FCS) to North Omaha Station (NOS), where he worked in Instrument & Control in Electrical Maintenance.
And wherever he’s been, Riggleman said the people have been what sets OPPD apart.
“The people here are just great,” he said. “They know their jobs, which makes my job much easier. We are all here to provide reliable, low-cost power.”
While at NOS, Riggleman was able to work on planned maintenance outages as well as FCS and even Nebraska City Station.
When the decision was made to build the Cass County station, which went operational in 2003, Riggleman transferred to the site to learn about gas turbines from the “ground up.”
The station is called on to generate electricity when peak demand is high around the Southwest Power Pool. And this summer, the station has been used plenty. In May, Cass County Station set a record for usage by generating a total of more than 22 gigawatt hours.
Peaking stations like Cass County play a vital role in OPPD’s generation mix.
“It would surprise people to know the amount of day-to-day work done at Cass County Station to ensure the gas turbines are ready to start when they are called up,” he said.
At the station, Riggleman makes routine equipment operation and maintenance decisions involving equipment operations, maintenance priorities, approve clearances and make personnel assignments, as well as maintains records for the station. There is also troubleshooting and performing occasional repairs that are needed. Safe and event-free operation of the station is of key importance.
Outside of work, Riggleman spends his time working on his dirt car that he owns. He used to dirt track race in Omaha, Greenwood and Eagle, Neb., and Shelby County Speedway in Iowa. Riggleman is hoping to get back behind the wheel and compete again. But until then, he’s content maintaining the car.
Whether it’s his race car or a peaking plant, Riggleman is the man that keeps things running smooth and safe.