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Behind the Mask: Merrick Murphy, Hatch Maintenance Lead Instructor

Editor’s note: “Behind the mask” is a series to help you get to know some of the Southern Nuclear team.

Name: Merrick Murphy
Job title: Maintenance Lead Instructor
Department: Training
Site: Hatch

How long have you been with the company and/or in this current role? I have been with Southern Nuclear for seven years. I’ve been in my current position since February 2020.


Give us a brief description of your job duties. I am responsible for keeping the line and training within the systematic approach to training (SAT) process and providing training conscience during incumbent work activities.  


What is your favorite part about your job? I enjoy seeing new trainees have the “aha moments” during training, when things begin to click, and they become successful in performing their jobs independently without errors. 


What do you want to do next (job, role, team, department, special assignment, etc.)? I want to gain more proficiency in the job that I am currently holding, eventually making the transfer to Operations Training or back to Chemistry as a supervisor/superintendent. 


Why do you like working in the nuclear industry? I enjoy working in the nuclear industry because it is a profession that not many people understand. I enjoy being able to explain my role in the organization and describe what type of work we perform and how safety of the public is most important. 


What misconception about nuclear power do you most want people to understand? I want people to stop asking me if I glow in the dark!


If you wear a special mask, why did you choose the one in the picture? I don’t wear a special mask, but I do wear a mask for a special reason. I wear a mask for my mother. She has Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) that requires her to have medication continuously administered directly into her heart. This very rare disease is not curable, but it is treatable if care is taken. She is considered at a very high risk should she become infected with coronavirus (COVID-19), and I want to prevent coming into contact with the disease for her. 


What have you learned as a result of or gained from the pandemic and resulting safety precautions? Personally, I have learned that people are not always aware of personal space. Professionally, I have learned that our classrooms were not equipped to hold the appropriate amount of trainees while maintaining appropriate social distance. 

One thing I will take away from the pandemic is to never take experiences for granted. We never know when the world will stop again and prevent us from doing things that we enjoy or have planned to do in the future, such as traveling, or going to special events, or even visiting our parents/grandparents. 


What has been the hardest part for you about it? The hardest part is the continual cognizance we must have in order to maintain 6-feet distance, especially in the laboratory setting or in a training classroom. 


What are your hobbies or favorite past times? My favorite thing to do is travel and see new places. I also like to read and watch Netflix in my spare time. 


Do you collect anything? Cats 


What is your favorite book, movie or music? Favorite Movies: “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Mean Girls,” “Dirty Dancing.”