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Former Birmingham Promise student learns from, bonds with mentor during Alabama Power internship

When he landed an internship at Alabama Power, Jarvis Prewitt had a two-fold mission – to have his skills and work ethic become assets to the company; and to learn and grow through the experience.

He realized both goals under the Power Delivery department’s internship program this summer.

“I would definitely say I had a lot to bring to the table, but they helped me develop more skills that I know I didn’t have,” Prewitt said. “My mentor helped me gain a lot more responsibility and other aspects that made me better.”

When he was a high school senior, Prewitt was one of the first students to intern as a Birmingham Promise student. Promise is a program that offers internships to Birmingham-area high school students and scholarships to college-bound seniors. Alabama Power is a committed supporter of Birmingham Promise.

Prewitt credits his internship at BBVA as a high school student with giving him the financial literacy that opened the door to pursue a college degree.

During his internship with Alabama Power, Alabama A&M junior Jarvis Prewitt created several work orders to serve new business customers. (contributed)

Now a mechanical engineering major at Alabama A&M, Prewitt recently wrapped up an engineering internship with Power Delivery Crew Headquarters in Trussville. Power Delivery is responsible for delivering power from a generating plant to the customer, particularly when it comes to maintaining power lines.

Rory Foster, the engineering supervisor in Trussville, explained that Prewitt spent time in the field and learned about serving customers and maintaining power lines. “He learned a lot about our work processes, construction specifications and guidelines that we follow,” Foster said. “Jarvis also spent time with other engineers and specialists in our workgroup learning about equipment and hardware, and how to identify potential reliability issues.”

The point of an internship in Power Delivery is to integrate a student into the workgroup and introduce them to what the team does.

“We give them hands-on training and experience handling normal engineering personnel duties, i.e., talking to customers, creating job sketches, creating estimates, handling maintenance issues, etc.,” Foster said.

Prewitt’s mentor during his 12-week internship was Roderick Parker, a distribution specialist in the Trussville engineering office.

“Roderick has been an outstanding mentor,” Prewitt said. “The very first day I got partnered with him, I started asking him questions. Even if it was a crazy question, he was able to answer the majority of all my questions.”

Prewitt, who graduated from Huffman High as salutatorian in 2019, said his mentor’s experience and knowledge rubbed off on him.

Alabama Power intern Jarvis Prewitt spent time in the field this summer and learned about serving customers, maintaining power lines and identifying reliability issues. (contributed)

“Since being with him, I’m now able to evaluate and analyze on the things he taught me to tell somebody who may not understand what’s going on or what they see,” he said. “I’m just really grateful for his mentoring and his guidance.”

During Prewitt’s internship, he created several different work orders to serve new business customers, improving reliability, installing lighting and replacing poles, according to Parker. “One of the significant projects that Jarvis worked on,” he said, “was a work order to install a transformer bank and serve underground, three-phase service to a new commercial customer in Trussville.”

Prewitt and Parker agreed that the mentoring relationship was more than just a professional connection.

“He told me about his family and how Alabama Power Company took them under its wings and developed him into who he is,” Prewitt said. “And now he’s mentoring me and developing me, so the relationship goes beyond just work.”

Parker said Prewitt did well as an intern.

“He had an open mind, took notes and asked questions. With continued training, he is a good future engineering candidate,” Parker said. “Personally, he is well-mannered and respectful. Professionally, he has the desire to learn more about the field and working for APCO.”

Prewitt landed his internship after attending a career fair at Alabama A&M, where Alabama Power was recruiting. He’s a junior at A&M this fall and hopes that a planned co-op next year with the power company will eventually lead to a full-time position.

“What I’ve experienced in the last three months has been incredible,” Prewitt said. “If there are any students interested in Southern Company or Alabama Power Company or the Power Delivery distribution aspect, it’s an amazing field with incredible people who are loving, caring and joyful, and who are definitely going to teach you, so I say definitely give it a shot.”