Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Ron W. Shipe, June 23, 2016

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Being hired at TVA

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Partial Transcript: The following is an oral history interview conducted as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirees Association Oral History pilot project.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe recalls how he was hired at the TVA.

Keywords: College recruitment programs; Master's degrees; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Subjects: Administration; Alexandria (Va.); Bluefield College (Bluefield, Va.); Carson-Newman College; Education; Teachers; Tennessee; Tennessee Technological University; Tennessee Valley Authority; Washington (D.C.)

00:02:04 - Career overview

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Partial Transcript: Give me an overview of your career at TVA.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe provides an overview of his career at the TVA, including the various positions that he held throughout his career.

Keywords: Assessment; Career training; Community College Networks; Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA); Curriculum; Director of Personnel; Distribution; Document retrieval; Documents; Environmental Compliance Training; Federal programs; Files; Incubation center; Industry training; K-12 Education; Learning; MED System; Microfilm; National Education Association (NEA); No state funding; Organizations; Standardization; Temporary jobs; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); The School of the Future; Training guides; Video communication; Work experience; Workforce

Subjects: Adult education; Books; Budget; Careers; Communities; Community colleges; Computers; Demonstrations; Economic development; Engineering; Index; Industries; Job creation; Learning; Library of Congress; Management; Programs; Research; State governments; Successful; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; Unemployment; Vanderbilt University

00:07:33 - Work in microfilming documents / Hierarchy of TVA

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's begin with your first--uh--assignment.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe reflects upon his work in creating a microfilm document retrieval system of TVA files, mainly in nuclear power plant facilities. Shipe details some of the challenges of the work. Shipe also mentions the strict nature of the TVA hierarchy, e.g., memo protocol.

Keywords: Accepted; Achieved; Allowed; Blurry; Checkpoint; Clear document; Construction; Direct; Document retrieval; Documents; Emails; Facilities; Files; Fuzzy; Hard copy; Important; Improved document quality; Initials; Instructors; Large; Microfiche; Microfilm; New; Nuclear Plant Manager; Nuclear documents; Objective; On file; Power facilities; Presentation; Problems; Reprimanded; Responsibilities; Slides; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Unclear

Subjects: Atlanta (Ga.); Building; Construction workers; Employees; Hierarchy; Humor; Memo; Nuclear power plants; Secretaries; Successful; Supervisors; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Travel; Trust

00:13:58 - CETA program

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Partial Transcript: And I saw this other opportunity to--uh--take the CETA program.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe details his work in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). How he was hired and the dynamics of the office are also examined.

Keywords: Applied; Assistant Director of Personnel; Career counseling; Career training; Clean-up; Clerical assistance; Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA); Courses; Documentation; Employable; Employment Training Act; File clerks; Free; Government program cuts; Help; Hired; Hiring curve; Interests; Job board; Labor unions; Laborers; Objectives; Personnel Office; PhDs; Politics; Program managers; Richard Nixon; Tax incentives; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Vocational assessment; Work experience

Subjects: Budget; Community colleges; Economics; Managers; Numbers; Opportunity; Rivers; Staff; State governments; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Time; Unemployment; Vocations; Waterways

00:19:51 - Work in industrial training / Testing educational technologies

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--and then--uh--after that--uh--you went into an indus--industrial training.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe describes the industrial training program that he helped manage. Shipe then talks of TVA's education technology program designed to increase the educational opportunities of rural students. Both initiatives are found to be within the economic development realm of the TVA.

Keywords: Customize; Emphasis; Existing industries; Expansion; Gaps; Industrial training; Inside; Interactive; Local employees; Network; Niche; Outside; Personnel Office; Phone line; Politics; Public education; Recruiting; Remote classes; School of the Future; Skill level; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Subjects: Change; Community colleges; Economic development; Education; Experience; Fiber optics; Industries; Job creation; LaserDisc Corporation; Pioneers; State governments; Teacher; Technology; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Testing; Training

00:24:32 - TVA and economic development

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back to industrial training and--and TVA.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe considers how TVA's involvement in economic development has evolved from more infrastructural projects to an emphasis on hands-on job training.

Keywords: Agency; Articulate; Concept; Curriculum; Emphasis; Evolved; Expertise; Finances; Generating power; Industrial training; Job market; Linked; Local employees; Niche; Private sector; Recruiting; Resource sharing; Services; Skills development; State permission; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Subjects: Building; Community colleges; Criticism; Dams; Economic development; Flood control; History; Hydraulics; Industries; Mississippi; Partnership; People; Soil erosion; State governments; Statistics; Tennessee; Tennessee River; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training

00:29:24 - TVA and state governments and job training

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Partial Transcript: What--uh--was the nature of--uh--say, industrial training at the state level in the 1980s?

Segment Synopsis: Shipe illustrates the level of cooperation between state governments and the TVA in implementing industry training programs.

Keywords: Assembly lines; Documents; Factory workers; Local employees; Negotiations; Opening; Prepared; Processes; Production; Productivity; Relocation; Roles; Task-specific training; Tasks; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Videos

Subjects: California; Community colleges; Cooperation; Economic development; Industries; Knowledge; State governments; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; Travel

00:32:57 - Industrial expansion indicators / Worker preparation activities

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--how did you know that an industry was going to expand?

Segment Synopsis: Shipe explains what sort of indicators the TVA used to determine which local industries were expanding.

Keywords: Catalyst; Curriculum development; Effort; Expansion; Field staff; Finances; Human resources; Resources; State training; Technical schools; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Subjects: Community colleges; Community development; Cost; Economic development; Engineers; Industries; Newspapers; State governments; Technical assistance; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; Work

00:35:52 - New techniques and technologies for learning

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Partial Transcript: And then as you were doing this, as you mentioned before, you were--uh--learning about some new techniques and new technologies...

Segment Synopsis: Shipe lists some of the key technologies the TVA used to equalize the resources that rural students received, and therefore improved their educational opportunities. The innovative nature of the program in terms of technology for the era (1980s) is emphasized.

Keywords: Bulky; Computer training; Contracts; Decisions; Distribution; Equalize resources; Forerunner; Heavy; Influence; Interactive learning; Learning curve; Locations; Objectives; Policy; Presentations; Processes; Record players; Skill level; TI lines; Techniques; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Video instruction

Subjects: Adult education; Demonstrations; Distance education; Economic development; Education; Industries; Kentucky; LaserDisc Corporation; Learning; Mathematics; North Carolina; Nuclear power plants; Pioneers; Research; Rural; Science; Students; Study; Television; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; Vanderbilt University

00:41:23 - The School of the Future

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Partial Transcript: Are we talking about the School of the Future yet?

Segment Synopsis: Shipe characterizes the dynamics behind the School of the Future, a TVA program for increased technology in the classroom in an elementary school in Athens, Tennessee. The types of technology used are described. Shipe explains where the funding came from for this project.

Keywords: Appearance; Catalysts; Computer labs; Concepts; Documentation; Federal agencies; Historical events; Industrial technology; Innovative; Learning approach; Martin Luther King Jr.; National Education Association (NEA); New; Private industry; Ronald Reagan; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); The School of the Future; Wright brothers

Subjects: Athens (Tenn.); Change; Computers; Education; Educational technology; Elementary schools; LaserDisc Corporation; Partners in Education; Speeches; Teachers; Technology; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; University of Tennessee; Words

00:44:26 - Middle school career film

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Partial Transcript: They were looking for an ideal--ideal--uh--partnership.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe recalls a program in which TVA partnered with Nintendo and Hanna-Barbera Cartoons to create a movie for middle school students about career training. Shipe details the level of recognition and praise that the movie received.

Keywords: Agreement; Awards; Bill Willis; Career training; Creative; Curriculum; Dislike; Distribution; Excited; Funding; Letters; Mario Brothers (Fictitious characters); Middle schools; Nintendo; Out there; Recognition; Rights; Ronald Reagan; TVA General Manager; Tennessee Valley; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Young people

Subjects: Career education; Careers; Committee; Donkey Kong (Game); Education; Hanna-Barbera Cartoons; Los Angeles (Calif.); Movie; Partners in Education; Pitch; Seattle (Wash.); Students; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; Washington (D.C.)

00:47:28 - Recognition for the School of the Future

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Partial Transcript: The--uh--back when you were talking about the Athens project, you mentioned that the NEA, the National Education Association, was involved.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe discusses the recognition that the school of the future received. The interest and support from universities and educational associations is also mentioned.

Keywords: Feedback; Focus; Impact on learning; Incubation center; Industrial training; Leverage; National Education Association (NEA); New concepts; No problems; Products; Public education; School systems; Side emphasis; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); The School of the Future; Willing

Subjects: Alabama; Athens (Tenn.); Brochures; Demonstrations; Education; Elementary schools; Innovations; Interest; Kentucky; Money; Purchasing; Research; Rural; Technology; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; University of Tennessee

00:50:33 - Switching to environmental compliance training

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--then--uh--we're moving on toward the end of your TVA career where you said you were involved in training dealing with environmental--uh--compliance.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe highlights the circumstances that led him to transfer over to environmental compliance training from industrial training and educational technology.

Keywords: Chairman Crowell; Changes; Congressional appropriations; Context; Environmental compliance; Environmental training; Evaluated; Evaluations; Federal agency; Frustrating; Marvin Runyon; New; New management; Objective; Reorganization; Riffed; Scrutinized; Shifted; Skills development; Standard coursework; Standard curriculum; Stay; Take-over; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Transfer

Subjects: Compliance; Economic development; Education; Leadership; Management; People; Programs; Staff; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training

00:54:29 - Specifics and development of environmental compliance training

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Partial Transcript: But there was no standardization of curriculum and there was no standardization of delivery, that was the objective of this new staff.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe provides an overview of the specifics of environmental compliance training and his role in the program, as well as his colleagues' roles.

Keywords: Accommodating needs; Clean Air Act; Clean Water Act; Colleagues; Comprehensive; Computer records; Coordination; Courses; Curriculum delivery; Deadlines; Documents; Environmental Impact Statements; Environmental compliance training; Flood plain management; Hazardous materials; Hazardous waste clean-up; Instructional books; Instructional outline; Job functions; National Environmental Policy Act; Nuclear program; Organization; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; Response; Schools; Scripts; Tennessee Valley; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Subjects: Books; Community colleges; Compliance; Employees; Endangered species; Engineers; Environmental issues; Historical preservation; Materials; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training

00:59:31 - Accomplishments at TVA / Recognition of work outside of Tennessee Valley

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Partial Transcript: Well, you have had a--uh--very rich and--uh--kind of diverse career at TVA.

Segment Synopsis: Shipe reveals what he views his most important accomplishment to be. Shipe also discusses the recognition the programs he worked on received outside of the Tennessee Valley.

Keywords: Articulate; Budget management; Capabilities; Clear; Commonplace; Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA); Conservation; Constituents; Documents; Educational institutions; Educational journals; Employment; Experiments; Flood plain management; Future; Important; Letters; Matured; National Education Association; National conferences; Personnel; Recognition; Rewarding; Roles; Satisfied; Systems; Tennessee Valley; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Thinking; Visibility; Zero-base budgets

Subjects: Budget; California; Career; Change; Children; Demonstrations; Economic development; Education; Interest; Leadership; Learning; Legacy; Memo; Mississippi State University; Programs; Retirement; Schools; Soil; Teacher; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; West Virginia; Writing