Tony Keough, PE, PMP
“Determination has been the key to my professional success. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”
Tony Keough is powering up the possibilities at Gannett Fleming. Having worked as a project manager in the power engineering industry since 2000, he knows a thing or two about substations and transmission and distribution systems, AND how to successfully lead a multidisciplinary team of engineers to complete a design that surpasses client expectations.
Tony was a member of the team at Laramore, Douglass and Popham, Inc. (LDP) for eight years before Gannett Fleming acquired LDP in 2017. He now serves as a senior project manager, providing integrated power delivery and generation services while taking the occasional break to hike with his family and enjoy the outdoors.
We asked Tony a few questions to get to know him:
What do you see for the next generation of engineers at Gannett Fleming?
I think that future engineers will see a more distributed workforce as they collaborate virtually with engineers from other offices, disciplines, and regions. Regardless, it will always be important to get out to the field and see the work in action.
What are you excited about for 2022?
I’m excited about our new framework agreement with Avangrid. This is just in time to assist Avangrid on their upcoming projects to update their infrastructure and improve resiliency in the Northeast. My team has provided substation design services for more than a dozen Avangrid substations over the last decade, and we’re all looking forward to continuing our partnership with them.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
Never stop learning and attempting to acquire new skills. Challenge yourself to grow.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on at Gannett Fleming?
The most interesting project I’ve had a part in was the Meadows Maintenance Complex Supply Switching Station project that ended earlier this year. This was a multi-million-dollar engineering effort with multiple stakeholders, operational constraints, and a tight schedule. It included work for both PSE&G and New Jersey Transit and involved the efforts of engineers from multiple disciplines, such as civil, electrical, environmental, and structural. For this project, we replaced an aging 230/55kV substation damaged in Super Storm Sandy with a modern GIS substation, demolishing the existing station and replacing it with new equipment in stages to keep it operational. The new station is storm-hardened and includes the latest IEC-61850 communications protocols.
What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your professional success to?
Determination has been the key to my professional success. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
What’s one professional achievement you’re especially proud of?
Taking and passing my first Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. I was in the Navy at the time and moving constantly, so studying and scheduling the date and the state where I took the test were challenging.
What could you give a 30-minute presentation about with no preparation?
Either building a substation from the ground up or planning for a backpacking trip.
You mentioned backpacking. Is that one of your hobbies?
Hiking and backpacking are my favorite hobbies. I used to venture out with my children, and now it’s just me and my wife, Jean, since our kids are grown. In the past few years, we’ve hiked in Glacier National Park and across the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This year, we hiked the Narrows at Zion National Park.
Let’s talk family!
I have been married to my beautiful wife for almost 38 years. We have three adult children – a lawyer, a commodities trader, and a high school teacher. And last year, we welcomed our first grandchild!
What’s the best piece of personal advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
Most people that I work with now don’t know that I started my career in the Navy serving on submarines as a nuclear submarine officer. Some people are surprised to learn this because I’m over six feet tall – hard to fit in a submarine!
If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be?
Playing the piano. I come from a musical family, but I have no musical talent of my own.
Who’s someone you really admire and why?
My wife, Jean. I’m not sure how she puts up with me year after year, but she does, and I’m grateful for her.
What do you do to turn things around when you’re having a bad day?
I pick a task that requires me to concentrate, and I focus on it until I get it done. Then, at least, I have one thing off my plate. If that doesn’t turn things around, I pick another one. I get a lot accomplished on bad days.
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
I enjoy walks around our neighborhood or on one of the park trails near our home.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would you choose and why?
William Shatner on the day he got to ride into space on the Blue Origin spaceship!
If you could live in any city, where would it be and why?
I’d stay right where I am in St. Louis. I chose it once, and I’d choose it again. I like the Midwest and the seasons here.
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
How Great Thou Art. It helps me keep my life in perspective.