Arnold Granger, P.E., CEM, Class of 1971
Even as a young boy growing up in Southwest Louisiana, Arnold Granger was always interested in technical things. He was greatly influenced by his supportive parents, especially his father, who without formal education beyond the third grade, could build or fix just about anything. Some of his early projects included crystal radios which then lead him to obtaining his Novice Amateur Radio Operator’s License and building his first HAM radio. By the time he was a junior at Grand Lake High School he had upgraded his FCC license to the General Class (WA5LWX call sign) and had a full fledged radio station operating out of a small room his parents had built in the attic. With his high school diploma and an academic scholarship in hand, it was a fairly logical step to enroll at McNeese in the engineering discipline.
Arnold graduated from McNeese in 1971 (cum laude) with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering. Back then, classes were small with the math and physics taught at the Main Campus and the engineering classes taught at Chennault Field. He went on to attend Texas A&M University (TAMU) to obtain the Master of Engineering degree in Nuclear Engineering in 1973.
Upon graduation from TAMU, he began his career with Houston Lighting & Power (HL&P) which went on for 31 years. Based upon his sound engineering background from McNeese and TAMU, he was able to progress from Engineer to Project Engineering Manager for the construction of the South Texas Nuclear Project located near Bay City, Texas. This project consisted of two 1250 megawatt pressurized water reactor power plants with a final cost of approximately $7 billion. Next, he spent eleven years supporting the power company’s efforts in engineering and building several large fossil power plant projects and several smaller retrofit and plant improvement projects. In 1992, he returned to the South Texas Nuclear Plant to serve as the Engineering Administrator in support of the plant during normal power operation, maintenance and refueling. He then spent the final 7 years of his career with what was then called Center Point Energy as Director, Engineering and Construction for the development, engineering, design, construction and operation of a large district energy chilled water production and distribution facility serving downtown Houston including Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros. As the power company evolved, so did Arnold, using his sound engineering background to learn about 4 distinct areas of technical applications over the 31 year period.
In 2004, the power business had entered de-regulation and again evolved to the point of shrinking back to a local power distribution company divesting itself of power production plants and the district energy business. For the first time in 31 years, Arnold was looking for a new place of employment. He knew that healthcare and medical research were growth areas of the economy and he lived within a few miles of one of the largest medical centers in the world located in Houston. Within 2 months, he had accepted a position within the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Facilities Management Division as Managing Engineer. Within 2 years he was promoted to the position of Director, Lab Design & Construction for the Research & Education Facilities Department, a position he still holds today. He currently directs the work activities of a 30 member group through two direct report managers. He is responsible for identifying the solutions to facility system and infrastructure issues, oversight review of engineering and design for major construction projects, the performance of selected in-house design projects and the direct project management of approved projects less than $2 million in total project cost. He also participates in the selection of outside engineering consultants and construction firms for major capital projects. The new and existing M. D. Anderson facilities encompass approximately 5 million square feet of research laboratories and research animal housing (vivariums) located in the Texas Medical Center and two remote locations in Smithville and Bastrop, Texas.
M.D. Anderson’s medical research facilities are fairly unique with complicated HVAC, controls, emergency power and reliability requirements. Research animals such as mice, rats, monkeys and larger animals are used in very controlled research applications under the auspices of strict government regulations and oversight. Environmental conditions need to be maintained within strict limits during various normal and emergency conditions to insure research results are not affected and are repeatable. This is another example of where, without direct previous experience, Arnold was able to adapt his past experiences and solid engineering basics to a totally different set of technical applications.
Arnold is a licensed professional engineer in Texas and has certifications through examinations as a Certified Quality Auditor, Certified Energy Manager and a Certified Plant Engineer. He has held memberships in numerous professional associations including, Association of Energy Engineers, American Nuclear Society, ASHRAE, American Association of Quality and the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He has also published and presented papers at two national conferences on district energy applications.
Arnold has fond memories of the spring crawfish boils with the Engineering Society at McNeese and also taking those engineering stress analysis and mechanics exams using a slide rule. The former was much more enjoyable than the latter. He also remembers how Professor Rolufs said that any electrical engineer worth his salt should always carry a good pocket knife. Next class session, every student had a brand new pocket knife for cleaning finger nails.
Arnold is married to his childhood sweetheart, the former Brenda Gayle Corry of Lake Charles and they have one daughter, Allison LaRae Gibson and one grandson, Jason Todd Gibson, both of Lake Jackson, Texas. In his spare time, Arnold likes to spend time with his family and relaxing at his small place in the country near Moulton, Texas. In the past, Arnold has been a competitive rifleman earning classification as a High Master with the high power rifle and as a Distinguished Rifleman with the service rifle. He still enjoys hunting with the rifle and shotgun.
Arnold wishes to thank McNeese’s Engineering Department for the challenging courses which required him to push himself to learn, adapt and persevere, attributes that have helped him through his whole working life.