Local Success Stories

We achieve success together with our community.

The summer internship program includes tours of all Holland BPW facilities. 2019 Summer Interns are pictured at the top of the cooling tower at Holland Energy Park. From left to right – Kerry Pangan: Information Technology Intern, Edward Watson: Information Technology Intern, Julie DeCook (employee), Naomi Sluiter: Engineering Intern (HEP), Jenna Braschler: Finance Intern, Emma Wingard: Engineering Intern (WRF), Lauren Brown: Safety Intern, Liz Thompson (employee).

Meaningful Internships

Internships have been part of the culture at Holland Board of Public Works for over 30 years. Each summer, HBPW brings on an average of eight interns to support various departments in all of our facilities. Areas of opportunity include information technology, accounting, water treatment, water reclamation, power production, water distribution, wastewater collection, electric distribution, engineering, safety and communications.

“The internship program has truly proven to be a win-win,” said Becky Lehman, technology director.

“We give our interns meaningful work that they can use in their careers,” explained Amy Denham, human resources specialist. “We have hired excellent employees through the internship program.”

Jeffery Koelsch is the safety coordinator at HBPW. He started his career as a Safety and Health Intern. “The experience you gain in an internship is invaluable. No amount of school can replace what I learned from hands-on work and being able to shadow professionals that have a wealth of knowledge in their fields.”

“We’re really able to sling-shot progress on large projects because of the extra help,” said Lehman.

“Interacting with interns gives our staff a chance to develop their leadership skills,” remarked Jim Van De Wege, water treatment plant superintendent.

Lehman enjoys the “fresh perspective and new ways to think about things” that interns bring to HBPW. “The internship program makes our organization adaptive to new ideas; we embrace a culture of learning from each other. Their questions make us explore, leading to growth for everyone.”

Prospective interns follow the same hiring process as employees. HBPW’s internship program is marketed at various college job fairs and online. Summer internship opportunities are posted on hollandbpw.com and Indeed.com at the beginning of March.

Our internships provide on the job training. Many stay with HBPW after graduation.

Our internships fuel the workforce with skilled professionals.

Interns give us the needed manpower to accomplish projected goals.

Interns bring fresh ideas and new perspective to the HBPW.

Holland Board of Public Works Engineers

The Holland Board of Public Works employs twelve different types of engineers with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. Their varied experiences allow us to provide Holland with the best planning and development possible.

Holland Board of Public Works Engineers

The Holland Board of Public Works employs twelve different types of engineers with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. Their varied experiences allow us to provide Holland with the best planning and development possible.

The class series “Energy Education Crash Course” focused on increasing the energy literacy of our community, consisting of four classes detailing different aspects of energy and electricity: Intro to Energy & Holland BPW, Electric Production, Electric Distribution and Energy Efficiency.

The inaugural Lighting Up Holland Energy Park brought 125 people together to watch the holiday lights go on while enjoying hot cocoa & cookies and snowshoeing the trail, November 2018.

Outdoor Discover Center partnered with Holland BPW to lead a Snowmelt Hike through Window on the Waterfront and Downtown Holland’s snowmelt for a winter urban-nature experience, December 2018.

K-12 Educator Open House brought 26 educators together to learn about educational offerings and field trips at Holland Energy Park, January 2019.

Our Community Art Contest received submissions from K-12 students. The artwork explored the theme “Energy in Nature”. A celebratory reception was held at HEP to unveil the gallery, February 2019.

Spring Break at HEP provided five days of public programming focused on energy & the environment for students on spring break, April 2019.

In honor of Earth Day, we planted 20 trees at HEP with OAISD CTC NRM students, installed a rain garden on site and offered tours, April 2019.

A nature hike along the Holland Energy Park trail was led by an Outdoor Discovery Center Naturalist and animal ambassadors, June 2019.

Black River Public School 3-5th grade students put on a play called “Weaving a Community”. An act was dedicated to Holland Energy Park, November 2018.

Lakewood Elementary 4th grade SAIL students embarked on a year-long research, writing, and development project where they designed educational games and materials about Holland Energy Park. Their work included a narrative poem titled “A Trip to the Holland Energy Park” and a collaborative story titled “Look on the Bright Side!” HBPW reviewed the results during two visits to the school. 

West Ottawa Public School biology students worked on sustainability projects with the help of Holland BPW. HBPW participated in a forum at West Ottawa high school and Macatawa Bay middle school, where a day was dedicated to listening to students pitch their sustainability projects.

Holland Energy Park Education Programs & Events

Holland Board of Public Works is dedicated to maximizing the value of Holland Energy Park (HEP) for our community. After all, HEP was created to be a resource, a destination and a gateway. Over the course of the 2019 fiscal year, HEP welcomed 2,836 visitors who attended group tours, open hours, special events and educational programs.

Hannah Mico, education and visitor programs specialist, spearheads education and engagement at Holland Energy Park. “Holland Energy Park is a unique asset for this community,” she said. “We leverage the space to educate students and adults about the resources they depend upon every day. We’re building meaningful programs with intention around topics that affect Holland and West Michigan.”

A broad array of activities keep Holland Energy Park bustling. In addition to periodic open hours and tours, HEP hosted an educational series, eight community events and programs in partnership with local schools.

Progress on JDY
& Waterfront Holland

The fate of James DeYoung Power Plant (JDY) is on the community’s mind. Holland Board of Public Works staff continue to monitor the building and grounds daily to ensure the area remains safe and secure. Continuous progress has been made to dismantle the retired coal plant. With an environmental conscience, HBPW recycles and repurposes JDY property as much as possible to avoid excess waste.

The future of JDY hinges on the outcomes of Waterfront Holland. The retirement of JDY inspired a partnership with the City of Holland to create Waterfront Holland, a community engagement initiative designed to develop a shared vision for the future waterfront. The collaboration is ongoing with a decision of whether to repurpose or dismantle JDY expected in 2020.

Decommissioning Work at JDY

• Remediation of the coal yard and ash pond was completed.

Decommissioning work inside the plant involved emptying the building and removing tools, equipment and materials from the site. Tools and inventory were repurposed internally. Some of the stock and parts were auctioned in summer 2019. Oil and chemical tanks were drained and the contents were recycled or properly disposed as waste. Electronics that were no longer usable were recycled. Large coal moving equipment was auctioned.

• The JDY substation was dismantled and the equipment was either sold or recycled. All distribution circuits from the plant and substation have been transferred to the new Pine Ave. substation.

• Property documentation, surveys and assessments were completed to prepare for the eventual sale of the property.