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Southern Company Operator Qualification Program Administrator in Naperville, Illinois

Operator Qualification Program Administrator


The Program Administrator – Operator Qualification (OQ) Standards is accountable for the management of Southern Company Gas’ Operator Qualification Program, with primary focus on the Nicor Gas Company. The Program Administrator will coordinate/develop strategic direction for Southern Company Gas’ OQ program to address compliance with DOT and state pipeline safety regulations, develop and implement new initiatives regarding enterprise-wide field operator qualification standards. This will include, but is not limited to, the development of qualifications for each affected field operations discipline. The Program Analyst/Manager will also serve as first-level liaison with state pipeline safety regulatory agencies during regulatory inspections and to address OQ compliance issues. The position is accountable for operator qualification for employees, contractors and some non-regulated asset support. The Program Analyst provides backup coverage for the OQ Program Manager and OQ Analyst positions.

Functional Expertise:

  • Develops and maintains qualification standards by coordinating with the Program Manager, monitoring federal, state, and municipal regulations, codes, laws as well as industry best practices for operations field work performed by employees and contractors.

  • Updates and maintains existing Operator Qualification (OQ) written plan including determining covered task and evaluation criteria to ensure compliance with OQ regulations, including performing annual plan review for effectiveness for both Company and contractor employees.

  • Maintains the OQ qualification database and communicates issues to operations and contractor business owner leadership across the enterprise.

  • Supports development of training material and user aids for the OQ qualification database and communicates with internal and external individuals and groups across the enterprise to enhance their understanding of system processes and capabilities.

  • Supports required Operations Qualification Program activities following merger and acquisition activity.

  • Facilitates project teams including acquiring and aligning cross-functional resources and subject matter experts.

  • Provide data to assist with development of the departmental budget. Conduct necessary activities to monitor project pace vs. budget and update budget projections throughout year.

Business Acumen:

  • Provides forward thinking supported by quantitative analyses to achieve compliance and optimal business results while striving for an overall safe, reliable and cost effective gas distribution system.

  • Partner with respective field operations leadership to develop and improve qualification standards including service, distribution, cathodic protection, asset protection, measurement, pressure regulation, control room, construction, etc.

  • Supports Company OQ interest in dealings with the Virginia State Corporation Commission and fellow gas operators working to create an OQ program common across all operators and contractors in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  • Assist with tasks to ensure proper interpretation, application and implementation of new federal, state and local codes and guidelines.

  • Assists and partners with Human Resources, Operations, and Training to support initiatives to address changes in workforce requirements.


  • Partner with Operations & Technical Standards to ensure OQ evaluation materials and requirements are aligned with Company standards and procedures. Ensure OQ evaluation materials effectively measure employees’ and contractors’ knowledge and skills to perform covered tasks.

  • Partner with Technical Training to ensure qualification standards are consistent and effective and OQ testing is conducted on schedule as needed. Partner with Field Operations to ensure compliance with OQ program requirements.

  • Assists in determining if employees or contractors should be suspended or disqualified under the OQ program.

  • Reviews incident investigations and suggest qualification criteria improvements based on findings.

  • Support team members representing Company on external industry committees to influence the direction of OQ regulations.

  • Serve as liaison with Information Technology teams during projects to enhance and maintain the OQ tracking database. Partner with cross-functional teams to develop technological solutions to improve OQ qualification program performance.

  • Meet with Operations leadership and supports development of new qualification standards as new field initiatives are introduced.

  • Prepare reports for Senior Management regarding the state of the compliance program

Driving Results:

  • Review and/or conduct analysis of OQ evaluation failure rates, performance audits, and incident investigations to determine if qualification program is providing expected results and makes recommendations for changes.

  • Conduct performance audits of field operations employees and contractors.

  • Review documents such as audit results and analyze performance trends to identify and address opportunities for improvement. Also review documents written by other departments for accuracy prior to publication.

  • Ensure OQ and qualifications compliance by producing reports indicating compliance with covered tasks and standards.

Education, Certifications/Licenses:


· Associate degree in business, finance, human resources, engineering or recognized discipline. OR Equivalent academic education and operations experience.


· Bachelor’s degree in engineering, business, finance, human resources, or recognized discipline. OR Equivalent academic education and operations experience.

Related Work Experience:


· 5 years experience in employee development, engineering, or operations experience in a gas utility, pipeline transmission, or other energy/utility related field

· 2 years of supervisory/management experience

· OR, equivalent combination of academic education, gas pipeline construction, operations, and maintenance experience including supervisory or pipeline inspection / audit experience


  • 5 years experience in field operations knowledge and experience including service, distribution, measurement, system pressure, emergency response, etc.

  • 4 years experience in personnel development in a gas distribution utility, transmission pipeline, or other energy/utility related field.

  • PHMSA regulation knowledge and experience including 49 CFR Parts 192/193/195

  • Broad knowledge of natural gas pipeline construction, operation, and maintenance processes

  • Previous experience maintaining an Operator Qualification program, or carrying out similar regulatory-based programs

  • Experience developing knowledge and skill tests for a technical or industrial setting

  • Previous experience developing and / or delivering technical training content

  • Previous experience working with a Learning Management System

  • Previous experience developing technical procedures

Applicant may possess a combination of equivalent education and work experience.

Specific Skills & Knowledge:


· Solid understanding of Company, State, and Federal regulations governing the qualification of pipeline personnel

· Excellent verbal and written communications skills

· Thorough understanding of company policies, procedures and operating & maintenance manuals.

· Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with business unit owners

· Analytical problem solving

· Ability to influence others through the use of data and presentations

· Facilitation

· MS Office Suite – advanced proficiency

· Intermediate proficiency in databases

· Business process re-engineering

· Standards development

· Strong teamwork and interpersonal skills at all management levels

· Leadership

Working Conditions/Physical Requirements:

  • The incumbent primarily works in an office environment.

  • The incumbent may work near or with moving mechanical parts.

  • The incumbent may be exposed to fumes, airborne, particles, or chemicals.

  • The incumbent may be exposed to varying outdoor weather conditions.

  • The incumbent may be exposed to excessive noise.

  • The incumbent may be exposed to construction related activities.

  • This position occasionally requires prolonged standing or walking.

  • This position occasionally requires the incumbent to reach above shoulder-level.

  • This position occasionally requires the incumbent to bend, kneel, crouch, or crawl.

  • This position requires the ability to lift up to 25 pounds.

  • Occasional overnight travel.

  • Keyboarding required in approximately 50% - 70% of daily tasks.

Disclaimer: This information describes the general nature and level of work performed by employees in this job. The description is not designed to be a comprehensive inventory of duties, responsibilities and qualifications required in the job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to qualified disabled individuals for performance of essential duties and responsibilities.

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is America's premier energy company, with 44,000 megawatts of generating capacity and 1,500 billion cubic feet of combined natural gas consumption and throughput volume serving 9 million electric and gas utility customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric utilities in four states, natural gas distribution utilities in seven states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America and a national recognized provider of customized energy solutions, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices that are below the national average. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, Southern Company and its subsidiaries are inventing America's energy future by developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, and creating new products and services for the benefit of customers. Southern Company has been named by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer, recognized among the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc, listed by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity and designated a Top Employer for Hispanics by Hispanic Network. The company has earned a National Award of Nuclear Science and History from the National Atomic Museum Foundation for its leadership and commitment to nuclear development and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings.

Southern Company is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.

Job Field: Engineering

Job Type: Standard

Primary Location: Illinois-Metro Chicago-Naperville

Operating Company: Southern Company Gas

Job Type: Standard

Travel (Up to...): Yes, 25 % of the Time

Work Location(s):

G O Naperville - 1844 W Ferry Rd. (1844NapervilleCODE)

1844 W Ferry Rd.

Naperville, 60536

Req ID: GAS2002088

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