Shawn Hafen

Excelsior College

Operations Corporate Functional Area Manager, Xcel Energy, Monticello Nuclear Power Plant

Shawn Hafen has shown time and time again he takes initiative to make the next step in his career.  After starting out in the nuclear Navy, he took a position at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in the Operations department.  He started as a Non-Licensed Operator (NLO) and then earned his Reactor Operator (RO) and Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) License, working his way up to Shift Manager.


He then moved to Xcel Energy’s Monticello Nuclear Plant as Nuclear Oversight Manager.  “I’d gone as high as I could without a degree,” Shawn noted.   He applied to and was hired into the Operations Corporate Functional Area Manager position at Xcel’s corporate offices, where he’s responsible for the governance and oversight of operations and Xcel’s two nuclear plants Monticello and Prairie Island.  The promotion came with a caveat though: he had to earn an ABET-accredited Bachelor’s degree within two years of accepting the position. 


Shawn learned about Excelsior College’s ABET-accredited online Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology program through one of the Trainers at Xcel Energy.  His past Navy experience, work experience, and RO and SRO licenses satisfied nearly all his nuclear-specific courses in the program, allowing him to start off half-way done with the program.  Shawn completed his remaining credits, mostly general education courses, in a year and half.


Shawn appreciates the knowledge he gained from the business management courses in the program, noting, “Not only did it positively impact my writing skills, but helped me better understand how to deal with people and communicate with people; all valuable skills in a management role.”  Shawn also understands the impact his degree has on expanding his career options with Xcel Energy: “My company requires an ABET-accredited degree for several roles, including senior-level manager roles.” Shawn said, adding, “This is another stepping stone for me and my career.”