GVEA Spotlight: Brooks Bailey

Working Together to Service the North Pole Area

By Rachel Kvapil

Brooks Bailey

Brooks Bailey, maintenance leadman for GVEA’s North Pole, Fairbanks, and Delta gas turbine power plants, says his job is as much about building teams as managing them. After working five years as an operator mechanic with GVEA, Brooks took on his current position a year and a half ago. While he says there are still aspects of the job to learn, he has a great team to ensure the gas units are functioning at his location.

“Members rely on us to keep the power plant going,” says Brooks. “We want people to know we’re here and people can rely on us.”

As maintenance leadman, he and his team support the gas units that run year-round at the North Pole Power Plant and the backup units in Fairbanks and Delta. The North Pole Power Plant plays a vital role in maintaining consistent power generation in the area along with a network of other plants, including the one in Healy, followed by the Eva Creek Wind Farm. He relies on rotating crews of operator mechanics with the necessary skills to keep things running.

“It’s a diverse group of people,” says Brooks. “We have machinists, welders, pipe fitters, mechanics and carpenters. A whole group of talented people who can fix or build just about anything. I trust them fully with whatever task is given to them.”

Brooks pairs up team members depending on the task to make the best use of individual talents. He likes to pair team members with established working relationships when possible. However, he will mix things up when onboarding new employees or whenever a new relief operation group arrives since team building is the backbone of their success.

The most significant change for Brooks since taking his new position is the amount of paperwork. His prior positions with GVEA and employment elsewhere required minimal paperwork. Learning to balance that with round-the-clock team management takes priority in his day. Yet, he says any challenges he faces in the day are worth what he receives in terms of company support from GVEA and the great group of people he works with at the power plant.

“You can accomplish anything you put your mind to,” says Brooks. “If you would have asked me if I ever imagined myself as the maintenance leadman for a power plant, I would have said ‘no way.’ But here I am.”

Brooks was born in Fairbanks and raised 81 miles south in Anderson. He says growing up in Alaska increases his dedication to ensuring electricity flows to members’ homes, particularly in the winter when temperatures drop dangerously low.

“I’ve experienced different types of weather growing up here,” he says. “If I get a call in the middle of the night, we have to make our way to fix the problem. It doesn’t matter if there are unplowed roads. Honestly, I’ll snow machine if I have to.”

He spends his free time with his wife and children snow machining in the winter, and fishing and riding ATVs in the summer. He also enjoys working on truck equipment at his indoor shop.