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Black History Month: Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson, Senior Chemistry Technician at Plant Farley

How long have you been with the company and/or in this current role?

I started at Plant Farley Chemistry Department in August 2015.

Give us a brief description of your job duties.

Most of my scheduled daily tasks consist of obtaining samples and performing analyses, monitoring and responding to any adverse trends and chemical control. These tasks align to reserve asset protection and protect the health and safety of the public. 

What other roles have you had at Southern Nuclear?

I have been in Chemistry since I started with Southern Nuclear, but I have participated in other organizations such as Alabama Power Service Organization and the Plant Safety Committee.     

Why and when did you become interested in the nuclear industry?

I was not even aware of a Chemistry Department at Southern Nuclear's Plant Farley upon graduating from college! I thought only engineering and electrical science-related careers existed on plant site. I have a family member, Eddie Harris, Painter/Material Handler, who has worked at Plant Farley for over 20 years. He spoke of a Chemistry Department during one of our conversations. I started my research and instantly became fascinated. 

What do you think it takes to succeed in the nuclear industry?

Hard work, confidence and integrity will take you a long way in this industry. You can’t be afraid to speak up when you have concerns or innovative ideas that will help improve plant operations, safety or work life for employees. And if you work for a great company with excellent core values, like Southern Company, you will earn respect and people will see your value. 

What are some obstacles you’ve faced on your journey to success?

I remember my first day of initial training class. When I saw another female in the room, I instantly became elated! We both shared the same sentiments: We both thought we would be the only females around a large group of males. Being an African American female, it took some time to become acclimated being the only female (and/or minority) on multiple occasions and in different settings. I was afraid that I would be judged and ostracized for being who I am. Honestly, I did have some encounters where I felt unfairly judged and did not feel comfortably included in certain group settings, but I’m grateful that most of the people here at Plant Farley have been nothing but kind, intelligent and supportive. Now, I barely even notice if I am the only female and/or minority in any setting! 

What advice do you have for others who want to follow in your footsteps?

Whatever obstacles or adversity you encounter, do not give up. Be resilient and remain confident in your abilities, no matter what.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

It is a time to celebrate and recognize Black excellence and achievements. Additionally, it is a time to reflect and think about how far the African American community has come in America and all the African American leaders who fought to pave the way. 

Was there a particular Black mentor, trailblazer or historic figure whom you admired or who inspired you at some point in your life?

Every time I would see an African American female teacher, nurse, doctor, business owner or college professor, I was inspired. I was introduced to most of these women at the hair salon of my best friend’s mother, a place that played an integral role in my life. When I would encounter these successful African American women, I would engage and ask a multitude of questions. I never encountered one who did not leave an impression on me; I grew and learned from each experience.