Creativity in Engineering: Senior Engineer Chellie Jensen

Female employee with a hard hat and the text, "What I love about my job is that I'm able to work with both my left and right brain. I get to be creative, and I'm encouraged to think outside the box."

Senior Engineer Chellie Jensen is not only whip smart and logical, she’s also creative and community minded — all qualities she gets to bring to work at Idaho Power every day.

Chellie grew up with parents and teachers who recognized her abilities in math and science. Later, she went to Montana Tech, a STEM-focused university, to get a degree in engineering.

After being recruited at a career fair on campus, Chellie started her first engineering job at Idaho National Laboratory, trying her hand at all different types of engineering. Like many female engineers, Chellie found herself the only female in her group, a situation that didn’t change after she moved to Boise and joined an engineering consulting firm.

In 2006, she secured a position as a mechanical engineer in Micron’s facilities department. She loved her work and team there, but knew the stability of working at a utility would benefit her growing family, so she looked to Idaho Power. “I saw an opening in the Energy Efficiency department and applied. Ten years later, I’m in the same job, but no two days are the same! I get to work with all three of my past employers and teammates in my role at Idaho Power,” she said.

Chellie is a tremendous advocate for the Idaho Power culture that attracted her in the first place, especially a culture so inclusive of intelligent, talented women. “Idaho Power looks to women to lead, and we’re welcomed and valued,” she said.

Chellie specializes in helping city governments manage the efficiency of their water conveyance and wastewater treatment plants. She says the best part of her job is working with people, creating community and seeing the opportunities that making energy-efficient changes provides for city governments’ job growth. She set up Idaho Power’s first Water and Wastewater Cohort program to help cities and plant operators make energy-efficient facility and behavioral changes, and to learn from one another.

“I love and believe in what I do. I see results, and I see people’s lives change when the energy-savings light bulb clicks for them. They are winning regional and national awards with their efforts. Supporting that speaks to my personal core values of helping and encouraging. That’s been huge for me.”

Outside of how much she loves the work she gets to do, Chellie loves the time Idaho Power invests in our communities, including by asking employees to volunteer in classrooms across our service area.

“The volunteer opportunities, such as the Partners in Education at Monroe Elementary, the High School Science Bowl, and Rake up Boise, help fill my bucket. Nationally, I am a mentor in a program called Women for Energy Efficiency. It feels good to give back and support other women in this field. I also get to volunteer in my kids’ preschool and elementary school classes to teach them about energy efficiency.”

The culture and the community make it more than just a job to Chellie. “The reason I came here was the stability, but I stay because this is a family. It’s woven into every thread of the company. When people work at a company for 30 to 40 years, that says something. You don’t see that anywhere else. People are genuinely happy to be here.”