Insights > A Conversation With...Grand Gulf's Debbie Barrett

A Conversation With...Grand Gulf's Debbie Barrett


Photo courtesy of Mississippi Braves
Photo courtesy of Mississippi Braves

Debbie Barrett is an outage scheduler at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station and has worked at the plant for almost 32 years. She resides in Claiborne County with her husband Larry. They have been married 30 years and have two children - Hannah, who is preparing for her third year of medical school, and Nicholas, a ninth grader who keeps both Larry and Debbie young.

Her hometown
Baytown, Texas is my hometown, but we moved to Mississippi when I was young and have lived here for 40 years. I guess you could say it has my heart. We don’t have many of the modern conveniences in rural Claiborne County that most people enjoy such as cell phone service, internet or cable, but you get used to it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The first time she saw Grand Gulf
I visited Grand Gulf for the first time back in 1976 while on a field trip with my 10th grade class at Chamberlain Hunt Academy. It was amazing to see the construction site with a huge hole in the ground and a large volume of workers building the unit. 

Little did I know at the time that one day that hole in the ground would be the biggest single-unit nuclear power plant in United States (and fifth largest in the world), or that I would spend 31 plus years working at my 10th grade field trip location.

Her proudest moment at Grand Gulf
Although many wonderful things have happened over the years, my proudest moment is the extended power uprate we completed during a refueling outage in 2012. I have never seen anything like it, and I believe our site pulled together to successfully execute a tremendous amount of work.

The best work-related advice she received
My father, who worked for several years at Grand Gulf during construction, gave me the best work-related advice to date. We rode to and from work together for many years, and I learned my work ethic from him. His advice was very simple… work hard at everything you do and always do your best.

How she celebrated Grand Gulf’s 30th Anniversary
The entire site was invited to a Mississippi Braves baseball game for our 30th anniversary celebration. Prior to the game, it was announced that an employee would be selected to throw the first pitch. I thought it would be a pretty cool opportunity and knew I could throw a ball 60 feet, 6 inches.

Our general manager (Vin Fallacara) made it clear that you had to be able to throw it the distance. We had try-outs and I passed the first test of throwing the distance. Several of my co-workers tried out, and the entire site had a chance to vote for who they wanted to see throw out the first pitch. I felt like I was in junior high running for class secretary again.

When I first went out on the field, I was very nervous. The only thing I could think about was if I didn’t throw a good pitch, I’d have to explain myself to Vin!