At BPU, all of our employees live in Wyandotte County. Our children go to the schools that participate in the emPOWER Education Program. We’re all a part of the community, and have a passion for making KCK a great place to live, work and raise a family.
BPU is always looking for dedicated, community-minded individuals to join our family. To view all BPU job openings, or to apply for a position, click here.
As the new science curriculum standards aim to create a greater interest in science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) career fields, BPU has included a career extension portion of the emPOWER Education Program to educate students on some of the STEM careers available.
Video resources are available below, highlighting some of the career paths in the energy and water fields within the utility. These videos feature BPU employees and serve as a learning tool in the classroom and at home.
Students interested in the types of activities covered in the emPOWER Education lesson plans are encouraged to explore these career options at BPU:
Chemists study the properties of matter and understand the behavior and interactions of molecules, electrons, and ions. A water sector chemist has a complicated subject of study, because water can dissolve almost every other substance on earth. Water also behaves differently in different conditions. Water’s chemistry can cause pipes to corrode or to become so full of scale that they clog shut. Water agencies employ chemists to study the characteristics of the raw and treated water and determine how likely the water is to dissolve dangerous metals and chemicals from soil and pipes. Chemists recommend ways to treat water to reduce risks, and correct or adjust any problems related to water chemistry. Chemists require a four-year or graduate degree in chemistry.
Every building project must be carefully planned and diagrammed before construction begins. Drafters convert the sketches and notes from engineers and designers to physical plans that builders can then follow. In the past, drafters worked with specialized drawing tools and blue print paper. Today, they work almost entirely on the computers. A drafter’s job includes preparing maps of the construction area showing distribution facilities of water systems. They also plot water lines for new subdivisions, annexations and main extensions. Drafters update plot books and prepares charts, graphs and design drawings for engineering departments. To become a drafter, employees need on-the-job training, or a two-year degree in drafting.
Engineers are critical in the world of energy. Engineers use scientific and mathematical knowledge to solve problems.
There are many types of engineers, and all require a four-year degree. You must select the type of engineering you want to specialize in when you enter college. Common engineering jobs in the utility industry include chemical, environmental, nuclear, industrial and civil engineers. Engineers are generally considered project managers, handling multiple projects simultaneously and having start-to-finish project oversight.
Chemical engineers understand how to use chemistry for practical applications, such as making industrial products like plastics and ceramics, and help find ways to make processes more environmentally friendly. They apply their knowledge of chemistry to work with the design, construction and operation of machines and plants that perform chemical reactions to solve practical problems.
Environmental engineers try to protect a natural ecosystem from damage caused by human-made projects. They use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They work to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health and water and air pollution control.
Electrical engineers study and apply the physics and mathematics of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism to both large and scale systems to process information and transmit energy. Electrical engineers design computers, electronic devices, communication systems, test equipment and improve systems through problem solving techniques.
Nuclear engineers research and develop processes, instruments and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. They research and plan future electrical energy systems, design power systems and help to determine ways to protect the environment. Nuclear engineers also supervise system operations within the nuclear plants.
Industrial engineers have flexibility to work in many different industries, and their main job is to identify efficiencies in processes, improving quality and productivity. These engineers ensure a safe, faster, easier and productive work environment for all utility employees.
Civil engineers design, construct, supervise, operate and maintain large construction projects and systems including the systems that distribute water and electricity throughout the community. These employees are also responsible for supervision of utility operation, maintenance, repair and construction.
At BPU, there are also engineering technicians who provide engineering support for each of its power and water plants, and conduct diagnostic tests and maintenance on equipment. Engineering technicians also plan maintenance support for scheduled outages. They handle day-to-day engineering activities related to providing new service for residential, commercial and industrial utility customers.
Laboratory technicians are trained in using chemical and biological tests and procedures. In the water-quality sector, laboratory technicians help the chemist, microbiologist, water quality specialists, and treatment-plant operators. They are responsible for measuring the level of microorganisms in source water and treated water and measuring other water quality conditions such as PH, turbidity and hardness. Lab techs also check the level of disinfectants at the treatment plant and throughout the distribution system. These employees report the results to chemists and other specialists. To become a lab technician, employees need to complete on-the-job training, or obtain a two- or four-year degree in laboratory science.
Line workers install and repair cables, wires and other critical transmission and distribution equipment that help power homes, businesses, hospitals, schools, etc. They construct and maintain networks and structures, such as power lines, that deliver electricity to the community. These workers climb utility poles or use truck-mounted buckets to reach the equipment. Line workers perform testing to identify defective devices such as fuses, switches and wires and safely troubleshoot any maintenance issues. Line workers are sometimes called line installers or line technicians.
Employees with careers in maintenance/operations keep our future intact. These are the people who unload, inspect and move new equipment into position. They determine the optimal placement of machines in a plant, assemble machinery, install machinery, repair machinery and perform preventive maintenance. They detect, diagnose and correct minor problems with machinery. They keep the structure of an establishment in good repair. They maintain the smooth operation of refineries, power plants, chemical plants and mills. Two job examples in maintenance operations include coal equipment operators and instrumentation and control technicians.
Coal equipment operators are generally employed at power generation plants where coal is used to generate electricity. They are responsible for proper equipment operation and handling systems designed to receive, store and move coal so that the plant is efficiently fueled.
Instrumentation and control technicians are responsible for maintaining instrumentation and controls within the utility industry, including troubleshooting, repair and installation of these devices and electronic equipment.
Power Plant Operator
Power plant operators operate and control the plant equipment that generates energy. The operators are responsible for generating energy in the most efficient manner possible while still meeting the energy demand. Generally these individuals work in a power plant control room, where the operator is responsible for monitoring operations, analyzing energy output and making tactical decisions to maximize energy production.
Pump Station Operator
Because water sector agencies move huge volumes of water, they try to place storage towers and treatment plants at a high location. That way, gravity creates the pressure to move the water downhill to most of the customers, or used water to the waste water treatment plant. But sometimes the water must be moved uphill, so the water sector agency has pumping stations that lift the water. The pumping station uses a pump, which is a huge motor with a blade that pushes the water to a higher level. Each pump station needs a pump station operator to check the operation of the pumps, flow of the water and the volume of water it is moving. In addition, the operators understand the characteristics of the movement of water, or hydraulics, and are experts in heavy machinery. To become a pump station operator, employees must complete on-the-job training, and be willing to travel to multiple locations during each shift to manage multiple pump stations.