James Earl Dorsey
Dorsey, Level II quality control (QC) inspector and supervisor of the QC department at Hydro, shares what working in the industry has meant to him.
Hydro Inc.

James Earl Dorsey hasn’t just built a career; he’s built a community. Dorsey, 65, has worked with Hydro for 38 years, beginning at Hydro’s shop on Kostner Street in Chicago, Illinois, and then moving to Hydro’s nuclear facility, HydroAire. He says the best part of his job has been having coworkers he now calls family. 

Dorsey began as a janitor and then was trained as an inspector. “I am very proud of my personal growth within the company. I went from janitor to an inspector, within five years becoming lead inspector.” Dorsey is now a Level II quality control (QC) inspector and supervisor of the QC department.

 James earl dorsey

Before beginning his career at Hydro, Dorsey joined the Marine Corps, postponing college in favor of military service. Dorsey jokes, “When I joined the Marine Corps, I figured I wasn’t ready to go to college yet, but when I got into the military, I had to go to school anyway.” After his military service, he earned an associate’s degree at Devry Technical Institute. Dorsey also benefitted from on-the-job training at HydroAire—magnetic inspection, liquid penetrant and magnetic particle training—and ultrasound inspection training at Krautkramer Branson.

When asked about the challenges the industry is currently facing, he mentioned the loss of good inspectors and machinists. “It’s hard to find new people to work the machines now.” Dorsey thinks the new generation of engineers and operators need hands-on experience to be successful. “They need to know what’s the tight tolerances, what is the critical size…everything critical. They need to see how it goes together before they go into the office.”

Dorsey said the key to getting the job completed correctly and on time is making sure you’re doing your due diligence. “We do a lot of procedures where we have to go through the process control procedures and make sure everything is correct. So, follow procedures.”

In his nomination, the Hydro Board described Dorsey, “Rarely seen without a smile on his face, he is a dedicated family man and a tremendous asset to his community beyond the pump industry.”

Outside of the office, Dorsey enjoys working on cars, traveling with his family and exploring cultures abroad.

How have things changed over the course of your career?  

Oh, a lot has changed. The technology; using computers. We used to handwrite everything, all the reports. Now we’re using computers more, and you can implement everything with the computers. 

What has working in the industry meant to you? 

In 38 years in this industry, I have gained a lot of knowledge about pumps and how to repair them and have been able to provide for my family.