hen he graduated from Ferris’ College of Business in
1987, Scott Frederick was looking to start his career
as an accountant. Headed to an interview at Wolverine
Power Cooperative arranged for him by what would
later become the Office of Career Services, Frederick did not yet
know that it would be only the first step in a tremendously exciting
series of opportunities with the Michigan energy provider.
“When I was first hired, the accounting department at Wolverine
Power Cooperative had seven people, and four of them were Ferris
grads. I was called for an interview for the position at Wolverine by
Ferris’ Placement Office,” says Frederick. “The Placement Office
was a great tool. I interviewed and got the job.”
Frederick eventually rose to his current position as CFO of
Wolverine Power Marketing Cooperative — one of Wolverine
Power Cooperative’s seven members and an alternative electric
supplier in the state. He is active in the university’s Alumni
Association and credits his Ferris experience with his preparedness
for the challenges of his rewarding career.
“College courses at Ferris make you a well-rounded person — not
just ‘book smart.’ My studies helped me learn to work with people
and interact,” Frederick says. Wolverine’s practice of hiring Ferris
graduates continues today. The co-op has brought on two Ferris
graduates in the past year, alone.
“We’ve noticed, in hiring Ferris grads, that they’re ready to go in the
workforce,” Frederick adds.
In 2000, the Michigan state legislature passed the Customer Choice
and Electricity Reliability Act, allowing electricity customers to
choose a power supplier. Wolverine Power Marketing Cooperative
was launched to participate in the choice market.
In 2008, Michigan legislators enacted the Renewable Energy
Standard, which requires that all electrical utilities supply power
derived from a minimum of 10 percent renewable resources by 2015.
Wolverine Power Cooperative had already taken the lead on renewable
energy in the state, purchasing the total output of the Harvest Wind
Farm, Michigan’s first commercial-scale wind project, prior to the
renewable energy requirement.
Both laws brought change to the electric industry — change that
required the talent of Ferris graduates.
“As cooperatives, we look for innovative ways to provide reliable
power to our members at a competitive price,” Frederick says.
Ferris’ College of Engineering Technology students are set to play
a major role in the development of alternative energy in Michigan.
The first class of students in Ferris’ new Energy Systems Engineering
Program will graduate in May 2014 but is already gaining excellent job
preparation and making great professional strides.
There is significant demand in the job market for engineers with
training and expertise in transmission and distribution of electricity,
electrical grid control and alternative energy applications such
as wind, biofuels and fuel cells, and energy efficiency-related
technologies and products. Michigan power suppliers who are
readying for the activation of the 10 percent requirement in 2015
will employ graduates and interns such as those from Ferris’ ESEN
program to help implement new alternative energy technologies.
One of them is student Zach Totten, a senior in the ESEN program
who is set to graduate in May 2014. In summer 2013, he interned
at Cascade Engineering. He also works at Ferris’ Michigan Energy
Center, which provides consumer energy audits for commercial
and residential buildings and conducts various studies on energy
Alumnus Scott Frederick finds success in Michigan’s changing energy industry; senior Zach Totten looks to the future of alternative energy.
By Anne Hogenson and Jeremy Mishler
continued on page 31