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Engineering the Future: Meet HG&E’s 2018 Cadet Engineers

September 06, 2018:

Holyoke High School graduates Antoine Rodriguez and Joseph Cavanaugh spent this summer preparing for college a little differently than some of their peers. In the office by 7 am, these aspiring engineers spent many hours shadowing HG&E staff, learning the utility business, and absorbing information that will help them succeed in college and in their careers. Rodriguez and Cavanaugh are the 2018 recipients of HG&E's Cornelius J. Moriarty, Jr. Scholarship for Cadet Engineers.

“This experience has given me an advantage,” said Cavanaugh. “When I get to school, I will arrive with practical, real examples of electrical engineering. I doubt many freshmen will come with this type of experience.”

Transformers, currents, wires, switchgear, vacuum switches, manholes, electric grid - these where all terms that didn't have a lot of meaning to Cavanaugh a few months ago. Today, working with HG&E Project Engineer Jonathan Zwirko and Cadet Engineer Alexander Glainville, Cavanaugh has a new perspective on these terms and the utility industry in general.

“One of the best days on the job was working out in the field with the electrical line crew,” said Cavanaugh. “I worked alongside linemen Angel Maldonado and Ken Atchison, it was interesting to see how everything is connected in the field and apply that to what we are working on in the office. We had a lot of laughs too.”

Cavanaugh is a life-long resident of Holyoke. In the fall, he will be attending University of Rhode Island (URI) with a major in Electrical Engineering. Cavanaugh is a graduate of Mater Dolorosa and Holyoke High School. He is looking forward to college and aspires to have a career in electrical engineering, either at home in Holyoke or in Rhode Island, his second home.

About an hour closer to home than URI, Cavanaugh's friend and colleague Antoine Rodriguez will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) this fall. Since he was very young, Rodriguez always loved to build things; he enjoyed math and science, and wanted to help solve challenging problems. In an effort to use his talents for good, he aspires to find an engineering career that makes a positive impact.

“Working in the hydro division at HG&E, I've seen a little of everything – civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering,” said Rodriguez. “Leaving for my first year in college, I have a better idea of the future possibilities and job opportunities.”

As freshman, WPI Engineering students are required to enter with an undeclared engineering major. While his current interest is in biomedical engineering, Rodriguez is happy to have some time to explore all the options. “Anything is possible,” said Rodriguez, “I am excited to see where the next four years take me.”

“My grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer while I was in High School,” said Rodriguez. “During that time, I would talk to him about his options and I wondered if there was some way I could build a career around helping people.”

Today, Rodriguez is thankful that his grandfather has made a full recovery. They are able to spend lots of time together fishing, hunting, and enjoying the outdoors.

Rodriguez is a graduate of Sullivan Elementary School and Holyoke High School. After college, he is planning to find a position in Massachusetts or New York. He has a bit of a travel bug and would like to study abroad for a semester.

The Cornelius J. Moriarty, Jr. Scholarship for Cadet Engineers is open to City of Holyoke residents who are graduating from a duly accredited senior secondary school and have been accepted into an accredited engineering program. For additional application criteria, please contact Holyoke Gas & Electric Manager's office at (413) 536-9313 or visit

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