Skip to content

Sloat Announces Management Team Changes

09222022 thumb2

American Electric Power is making several executive leadership changes to better support the company’s strategic priorities. As part of these changes, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) position is being eliminated, and business units that are part of this organization are being reassigned.

Peggy Simmons has been named executive vice president, Utilities, effective immediately. Simmons will report to Julie Sloat, president and chief financial officer. Reporting to Simmons will be:

  • Steve Baker, president and COO of Indiana Michigan Power
  • Stacey Gabbard, vice president, Customer Support
  • Brett Mattison, president and COO of Kentucky Power
  • Marc Reitter, president and COO of AEP Ohio
  • Malcolm Smoak, president and COO of Southwestern Electric Power Company
  • Leigh Anne Strahler, who is being promoted to president and COO of Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO)
  • Judith Talavera, president and COO of AEP Texas
  • Aaron Walker, who is being promoted to president and COO of Appalachian Power Company (APCO)

“Aligning the customer support organization with the operating companies will help ensure that our centralized customer service functions are evolving with the changing needs of our business to support new services and options for our customers,” Sloat said.

“Under Peggy’s leadership, the PSO team achieved the highest customer satisfaction scores in PSO history in 2021 for both residential and commercial customers. They also obtained regulatory approval for PSO’s share of the transformational 1,484 megawatt North Central Energy Facilities wind projects. Peggy’s collaborative leadership style and deep industry knowledge will contribute to our ongoing success as we focus on providing more reliable, cleaner energy and innovative technology solutions to benefit our customers.”

Simmons has been president and COO of PSO since 2018. Previously, she was managing director of transmission asset strategy for AEP, manager of regulatory commodity sourcing for AEP Ohio, and manager of renewable energy in AEP’s competitive business. She joined AEP in 1999 as an energy trading scheduler in commercial operations.

Strahler has been vice president of Regulatory and Finance for AEP Texas since 2018. Previously, she was director of Business Operations Support for APCO. She joined AEP in 2006 as a senior cost control analyst in Generation Engineering Projects & Field Services and has served in a variety of roles including manager of Business Planning & Support Services and project manager/change agent for AEP’s Operations and Performance Transformation group.

Walker has been vice president of Distribution Operations for APCO since 2020. He previously served as plant manager of AEP’s Rockport Plant in Indiana. Walker joined AEP in 2005 as a process engineer and has served in a variety of roles including project & field engineering, project management, generation performance improvement and generation energy production superintendent.

Chris Beam has been named executive vice president, Energy Services, effective immediately. He will report to Sloat. Reporting to Beam will be:

  • Paul Chodak, executive vice president, Generation
  • Mike Granata, vice president, Safety & Health
  • Shane Lies, senior vice president and Chief Nuclear Officer
  • Craig Rhoades, vice president, Supply Chain, Procurement & Fleet Operations
  • Toby Thomas, senior vice president, Energy Delivery

“Chris has extensive experience and proven success transforming organizations for the benefit of our customers. Under his leadership, the Appalachian Power team brought sustainable energy resources to West Virginia and Virginia to support economic development and bring new jobs, including the Nucor steel mill. They also spearheaded legislation to help deliver critical high-speed internet service to rural areas in both states,” Sloat said. “His commitment and success in helping our teams generate and deliver power as safely, efficiently and effectively as possible will benefit our customers as we continue to transform our generation fleet and modernize our transmission and distribution infrastructure.”

Beam has been president and COO of APCO since 2017. Previously, he served as vice president of Projects, Controls & Construction for Generation. He was managing director – Projects & Construction, from November 2010 to January 2013.

Greg Hall has been named executive vice president and chief commercial officer, effective immediately. Hall will continue reporting to Nick Akins, chair and chief executive officer, until Jan. 1, 2023, when he will report to Sloat. Reporting to Hall will be:

  • Joel Jansen, senior vice president, Regulated Commercial Operations
  • Tom Myers, senior vice president, Competitive Commercial Operations
  • Scott Slisher, senior vice president, Competitive Customer Solutions
  • Antonio Smyth, senior vice president, Grid Solutions
  • Open position, Energy Assets

“Greg and his team have been delivering custom energy solutions in the competitive space, including renewable and distributed generation, while our grid solutions team has focused on developing critical infrastructure innovations and clean energy projects to benefit customers served by our regulated operating companies. Aligning these organizations under Greg will help us better leverage the experience and expertise across the company to advance new customer solutions and expand our energy offerings in all the states where we operate,” Sloat said.

Operations and Performance Transformation, led by Ashley Weaver, and Business Operations Performance Assurance, led by Dan Groff, will now report to Therace Risch, executive vice president and chief information & technology officer.

“Realigning these organizations under Therace’s leadership will put AEP’s organizational effectiveness initiatives within one organization to enhance efficiency and facilitate sharing of best practices, process improvements and effectiveness across the organization,” Sloat said.

The executive vice president and COO position is being eliminated. Lisa Barton will remain at AEP with transitional responsibilities, reporting to Nick Akins, until Nov. 1.

“On behalf of the Board and myself, I want to thank Lisa for her important contributions and leadership during her time at AEP. She brought a high level of energy and engagement to help transform strategic areas of our company, including our transmission business and renewable energy investments, and demonstrated a deep commitment to improving our culture and to serving our customers. Lisa’s efforts have enhanced our ability to provide safe, reliable and clean energy to power communities and build value for shareholders. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” Akins said.

AEP’s Iron Man

iron man champ thumb

Dirk Pauley is 53 years old and a grandfather. He’s worked for AEP since 1987. He has bad knees and while he played some sports in his youth, he says he’s an average athlete at best, and was “not a runner.”

So, of course, on Sept. 30 Pauley leaves for Hawaii to participate in the 2022 Ironman World Championship where he will swim 2.4 miles in the open ocean, bike 112 miles, then run a full marathon: 26.2 miles.

At some point in the past decade or so Pauley, a constructability lead for Energy Delivery in Ft. Wayne, Ind., transformed himself from a suburban dad who huffed and puffed just carrying laundry upstairs into one of the best triathletes in his age range thanks to unflagging tenacity and a well of grit deep enough to let him push through miles of pain.

“I’m blessed with something I don’t understand,” Pauley said, “but I never thought I would qualify for the Ironman World Championship.”

Pauley doesn’t expect to win in Hawaii, that’s not even really what he’s aiming for, but he admits that he’s very competitive by nature.

“I’m going to finish,” he said. “That’s goal number one.”

Pauley’s other goal is to raise awareness of and money for Pinky Swear, a foundation that supports families with children being treated for cancer. Pinky Swear helps families across the country by paying bills, buying groceries, and other means of financial support for families in need. He’s dedicated his race in Hawaii to two kids battling cancer, Autumn and Max.

Pauley credits his association with Pinky Swear for getting his results to the next level. There is a point in every Ironman competition, Pauley said, when quitting is the sane, rational thing to do.

“After a while on the bike (112 miles) you start questioning your life decisions and all you want to do is get off that bike,” Pauley said. “And when you do, all you have to do is then run a marathon. That’s when the mental game really starts. Once you hit that wall, you have to figure out how to finish.

“Those kids (the ones Pinky Swear supports) don’t get to quit, so I don’t quit. I can’t leave it undone.”

The Ironman World Championship is Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 in Kona, Hawaii, the western coast of the big island – AEP owns a wind farm on Maui, the next island to the northwest.

Pauley participates in the event on Oct. 6 in the men’s age 50-54 bracket. It will be the first time he will swim in the open ocean, which isn’t something he can simulate at home.

“The race is easy,” Pauley said, noting that the training leading up to the race is the real grind. “By the time you get to race day it is about executing a plan.”

Apply for AEP’s Making a Difference Grants

AEP employees are known for making a difference in their communities in many ways, a tradition that continues through the AEP Making a Difference Grant program. AEP encourages active and/or retired employees to lead local projects benefitting their communities.

Special AEP mini grants of up to $300 are available to groups of active and/or retired employees who wish to organize projects in their communities to be conducted October through December. There must be at least five AEP active and/or retired employees directly involved in the proposed project to qualify for funding. Grant applications are due October 7, 2022.

As AEP strives to meet the 25% goal of AEP Employees volunteering within the community; the project must be listed as a volunteer opportunity, and individual and team volunteer hours need to be logged at the [AEP Caring Together] volunteer site.

AEP Making a Difference mini-grants are intended for projects that serve — or are in partnership with — a community group, a nonprofit organization, or a school. Projects meet local needs, and may be in the areas of education, hunger and housing, social and racial justice, the environment, health and safety, youth, or other basic community needs.

AEP-funded projects will be selected on the basis of:

  • Geographic diversity of projects
  • Alignment with the company’s giving focus on K-12 education with an emphasis on STEM education, social and racial justice, or basic human needs including food and shelter.
  • Greatest number of people served or greatest need served
  • Level of planning that indicates likelihood of success
  • Partnership with others and leveraging other resources

Final determination of eligibility is reserved for American Electric Power.

How to apply:

Complete the on-line application form. Also, to comply with the AEP nondiscrimination policy below, the recipient organization must complete and return this nondiscrimination certification statement before the grant is issued.

Nondiscrimination Guideline
American Electric Power Company, Inc., its affiliates and the American Electric Power Foundation provide donations or grants only to organizations that do not, either through constitution or any written policy, discriminate against others on the basis of political affiliation, religious belief, age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race or sexual orientation. Each organization applying for support must affirm in its funding request or the AEP or AEP Foundation on-line grant application that it does not discriminate in this manner.

Remembering Sue Warner

susan-warner-columbus-oh-obituary (002)

Not too long ago, if you wanted to set up a conference call or book certain AEP meeting rooms, you picked up the phone and called someone.

That helpful voice on the other end of the line belonged to Sue Warner.

Warner passed away in July, still on the job, and helping people, after 40 years.

For many long-tenured employees, Warner was the voice of AEP. If you called corporate headquarters needing to talk to someone, she answered the call. Her knowledge of employees was so encyclopedic she could often connect you with the right person even if all you had was a first name and some vague idea of what they did for the company.

“Sue was a very special person,” said Dodie Saunders, former executive administrative assistant-senior. “I worked with her many times during my career at AEP. You could feel her smile through the phone and whatever you needed she made happen!”

Retirements

Arkansas

Louise Buchanan retired 7/9/2022 from Fayetteville Operations, Fayetteville, AR, after 50 years

Illinois

George Voorhees retired 7/1/2022 from Home Worksite, IL, after 18 years

Indiana

Sharon Heltzel retired 7/8/2022 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 35 years

Jay King retired 7/8/2022 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 33 years

George Brenneman retired 7/8/2022 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 41 years

Randall Forler retired 7/7/2022 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 33 years

David Lindley retired 7/5/2022 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 38 years

Julia Workman retired 7/5/2022 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 33 years

Alan Jones retired 7/2/2022 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 41 years

Douglas Carey retired 6/7/2022 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 36 years

Victoria Mendez retired 6/1/2022 from Northeast Svc Center, New Haven, IN, after 42 years

David Bayle retired 6/2/2022 from Ft Wayne One Summit Square, Ft. Wayne, IN, after 17 years

Joe Lemons retired 7/1/2022 from Muncie Srv Ctr, Muncie, IN, after 41 years

Francia Glenn retired 7/1/2022 from South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN, after 33 years

Stephen Schutz retired 6/2/2022 from South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN, after 40 years

Lisa Jackson retired 6/1/2022 from Baer Field Svc Ctr, Ft. Wayne, IN, after 34 years

Kentucky

Randall Hennecke retired 7/9/2022 from Robert E Matthews Service Cent, Ashland, KY, after 41 years

Robert Wells retired 6/1/2022 from Robert E Matthews Service Cent, Ashland, KY, after 41 years

Louisiana

Elizabeth Stephens retired 7/23/2022 from Shreveport General Office, Shreveport, LA, after 43 years

Edwin Owen retired 7/9/2022 from Shreveport Operations, Shreveport, LA, after 20 years

Jerry Keene retired 7/5/2022 from Shreveport Operations, Shreveport, LA, after 32 years

Kevin Anderson retired 7/1/2022 from Shreveport Operations, Shreveport, LA, after 36 years

Gary Pearson retired 7/9/2022 from Central Maintenance Facility, Shreveport, LA, after 21 years

John Creamer retired 7/6/2022 from McNeil Street Center, Shreveport, LA, after 43 years

Linda Lewis retired 7/8/2022 from Shreveport Office, Shreveport, LA, after 24 years

Jerry Keene retired 7/5/2022 from Shreveport Operations, Shreveport, LA, after 32 years

Michigan

Thomas Lain retired 7/2/2022 from Cook Material Center, Bridgman, MI, after 38 years

Robert Bennett retired 7/22/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 41 years

Steven Olszewski retired 7/19/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 31 years

Bruce Abbgy retired 7/8/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 35 years

James Elkins retired 7/6/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 37 years

Marc Ferguson retired 7/5/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 42 years

Cathi Hutzler retired 7/3/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 10 years

Joel Gebbie retired 7/2/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 36 years

Daniel Walter retired 7/2/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 32 years

Jay Adams retired 7/2/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 35 years

Karey Greene retired 7/8/2022 from Buchanan Nuclear Ofc, Buchanan, MI, after 31 years

James Colvin retired 7/5/2022 from Buchanan Nuclear Ofc, Buchanan, MI, after 37 years

Ohio

Daniel Lee retired 7/16/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 33 years

Pamela Busby retired 7/12/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 23 years

Thomas Festi retired 7/9/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 40 years

Charles Patton retired 7/2/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 26 years

Noreen Riley retired 7/2/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 13 years

Brian Puckett retired 7/2/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 41 years

Daniel Sculley retired 7/2/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 40 years

Kevin Brady retired 7/1/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 23 years

William Romine retired 6/1/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 41 years

Christopher Carson retired 7/2/2022 from Transmission Ops Center, New Albany, OH, after 32 years

Brenda Johnson retired 7/2/2022 from Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, after 39 years

Franklin Gerlach retired 6/10/2022 from Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, after 19 years

Kathy Petty retired 7/1/2022 from Lancaster Service Bldg, Lancaster, OH, after 33 years

Barbara Sims retired 7/1/2022 from Columbus Sw Svc Ctr, Columbus, OH, after 36 years

Carolyn Gardner retired 7/1/2022 from Zanesville Svc Ctr, Zanesville, OH, after 43 years

Marcie Wilson retired 7/16/2022 from Belmont Ofc & Svc Bldg, St. Clairsville, OH, after 40 years

Michael Johnson retired 6/1/2022 from Belmont Ofc & Svc Bldg, St. Clairsville, OH, after 24 years

Vincent Boggs retired 7/6/2022 from Steubenville Service Center, Steubenville, OH, after 51 years

Debra Urschel retired 6/5/2022 from Chillicothe Svc Ctr, Chillicothe, OH, after 14 years

Rosemary Satterfield retired 7/9/2022 from Chlicthe Stn&Meter/T&D, Chillicothe, OH, after 33 years

Linda Raderchak retired 7/5/2022 from Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, after 42 years

James Davis retired 7/20/2022 from N Philadelphia Svc Bldg, New Philadelphia, OH, after 40 years

Charles Hixson retired 7/16/2022 from Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, after 23 years

Terry Swingle retired 7/5/2022 from Mcconnelsville Svc Ctr, Mcconnelsville, OH, after 36 years

Vicki Clifford retired 7/16/2022 from AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH, after 42 years

Tracy West retired 7/9/2022 from AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH, after 36 years

Gail Klauck-Jacobs retired 7/5/2022 from AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH, after 15 years

Clifford Kemmerling retired 7/7/2022 from Grandview Service Center, Columbus, OH, after 18 years

Joseph Smith retired 7/9/2022 from Newark Transmission, Heath, OH, after 37 years

Diana Petrie retired 7/1/2022 from Newark Service Bldg, Newark, OH, after 34 years

Joseph Fredley retired 7/2/2022 from AEP Transmission HQ2, New Albany, OH, after 43 years

Mark Manson retired 6/9/2022 from Canton Transmission SC, Canton, OH, after 33 years

William Price retired 7/16/2022 from East Ohio Transmission SC, St. Clairsville, OH, after 32 years

Daniel Sculley retired 7/2/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 40 years

Christopher Carson retired 7/2/2022 from Transmission Ops Center, New Albany, OH, after 32 years

Linda Raderchak retired 7/5/2022 from Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, after 42 years

Oklahoma

George Heady retired 7/6/2022 from Alsuma Meter & Substation, Tulsa, OK, after 32 years

Brian Urich retired 7/16/2022 from Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, after 40 years

Dale Schaar retired 7/15/2022 from Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, after 12 years

Shawnna Jones retired 7/5/2022 from Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, after 30 years

Glenda Duvall retired 7/1/2022 from Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, after 14 years

Marilyn Spano-Lopez retired 7/1/2022 from Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, after 24 years

Wayne Sconyers retired 7/8/2022 from Northeastern Stn 3&4, Oologah, OK, after 21 years

Jeffrey Wimberly retired 7/2/2022 from McAlester Operations Center, McAlester, OK, after 40 years

Leonard Elrod retired 6/1/2022 from Chickasha, Chickasha, OK, after 16 years

Nelson Plummer retired 7/6/2022 from Mid Metro, Tulsa, OK, after 20 years

Roger Shannon retired 6/1/2022 from Mid Metro, Tulsa, OK, after 27 years

Sudhakar Chidurala retired 6/18/2022 from Tulsa Transmission Office & SC, Tulsa, OK, after 14 years

Texas

Mary Fertsch retired 6/25/2022 from Central Div-Br-Victoria, Victoria, TX, after 52 years

Abel Suarez retired 7/1/2022 from Pharr North Service Center, Pharr, TX, after 34 years

Rosalva Underwood retired 7/1/2022 from Pharr North Service Center, Pharr, TX, after 43 years

Isabel Padilla retired 7/2/2022 from Uvalde Service Center, Uvalde, TX, after 37 years

Jerry Coker retired 6/11/2022 from Knox City, Knox City, TX, after 35 years

David Pena retired 7/2/2022 from Lon Hill Service Center, Corpus Christi, TX, after 41 years

Jerry Miller retired 7/2/2022 from Central Shops, Corpus Christi, TX, after 42 years

Graciela Ramirez retired 7/2/2022 from Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, after 12 years

Kevin Moore retired 6/26/2022 from Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, TX, after 38 years

Ruben Caballero retired 7/2/2022 from San Benito Service Center, San Benito, TX, after 45 years

Oren Cortez retired 7/1/2022 from San Benito Service Center, San Benito, TX, after 46 years

David Zak retired 7/16/2022 from San Angelo SC, San Angelo, TX, after 42 years

Randy Wessels retired 7/9/2022 from San Angelo SC, San Angelo, TX, after 47 years

Troy Moore retired 7/1/2022 from Abilene T&D Operations, Abilene, TX, after 38 years

Max Copeland retired 7/1/2022 from Abilene T&D Operations, Abilene, TX, after 21 years

Christopher Jones retired 7/1/2022 from Abilene T&D Operations, Abilene, TX, after 38 years

Patrick Molloy retired 6/22/2022 from Renaissance Tower, Dallas, TX, after 36 years

Virginia

Steven Mullen retired 7/6/2022 from Rocky Mount Ofc & Svc Ctr, Rocky Mount, VA, after 38 years

Kelvin Lee retired 7/13/2022 from Pulaski Svc Center, Pulaski, VA, after 32 years

David Kessler retired 7/7/2022 from Roanoke Main Office, Roanoke, VA, after 38 years

Kenneth Worsham retired 7/1/2022 from Smith Mountain Hydro, Sandy Level, VA, after 42 years

Addison Mason retired 7/9/2022 from John W. Vaughan Center, Roanoke, VA, after 32 years

James Ashley retired 7/1/2022 from Abingdon Transmsn Bldg, Abingdon, VA, after 27 years

West Virginia

Patrick Richards retired 7/9/2022 from Beckley Service Center, Beckley, WV, after 33 years

Leslie Adkins retired 7/9/2022 from Ceredo Plant, Huntington, WV, after 21 years

Juan Thomas retired 7/16/2022 from Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, after 34 years

Daniel Justice retired 7/15/2022 from Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, after 34 years

William Tucker retired 7/12/2022 from Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, after 42 years

Marion Andrews retired 7/5/2022 from Bluefield Wv Srv Ctr, Bluefield, WV, after 42 years

James Doty retired 7/23/2022 from Mitchell Plant, Cresap, WV, after 42 years

David Sadlowski retired 7/23/2022 from Mitchell Plant, Cresap, WV, after 33 years

Martin Steiner retired 7/18/2022 from Mitchell Plant, Cresap, WV, after 18 years

Timothy Tidd retired 7/6/2022 from Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, after 32 years

Patrick Simpkins retired 6/1/2022 from Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, after 44 years

Alfred Curran retired 6/1/2022 from River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV, after 18 years

Clyde Stepp retired 7/16/2022 from Pineville (Wv) Ofc & Svc Ctr, Pineville, WV, after 42 years

Obits

Indiana

Thomas Griffiths, 82, Ft Wayne One Summit Square, Ft. Wayne, IN, died 6/20/2022  

Kentucky

Wallace Melton, 58, Hazard Service Center, Hazard, KY, died 6/23/2022  

Louisiana

Wilburn Oney, 88, Shreveport General Office, Shreveport, LA, died 6/27/2022  

Ronald Guthrie, 84, Elmwood Drydock&Repair Shpyrd, Belle Chasse, LA, died 6/11/2022  

Michigan

Paul Miller, 87, Three Rivers Svc Ctr, Three Rivers, MI, died 6/28/2022  

Ronald Freehling, 83, Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, died 6/4/2022  

Missouri

Vernon Sturgeon, 92, AEP River Operations – Cape, Cape Girardeau, MO, died 7/13/2022  

Ohio

Susan Warner, 71, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 7/17/2022  

Robert Wilson, 66, Minerva Annex, Columbus, OH, died 5/19/2022  

Gary Blankenship, 57, South Point Ofc & Svc Ctr, South Point, OH, died 7/1/2022  

Kimberly Hoskinson, 63, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 6/20/2022  

Michael Hague, 69, Cardinal Plant, Brilliant, OH, died 6/13/2022  

Warren Lankford, 76, Gavin, Cheshire, OH, died 6/26/2022  

Monty Dixon, 72, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 6/10/2022  

Jeffrey White, 67, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 6/2/2022  

Joseph Scharpf, 85, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 6/22/2022  

George Sarkadi, 91, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 6/6/2022  

Joseph Piccininni, 93, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 7/5/2022  

Larry Bumgardner, 83, Gavin, Cheshire, OH, died 5/24/2022  

Henry Barlage, 81, Chillicothe Svc Ctr, Chillicothe, OH, died 6/12/2022  

Richard Woods, 85, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 6/18/2022  

John Swank, 81, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 6/4/2022  

James Elliott, 89, Muskingum River, Waterford, OH, died 6/27/2022  

Thomas Dillon, 85, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 6/21/2022  

Rodney Ruble, 86, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 6/22/2022  

Robert Davis, 96, Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, died 7/10/2022  

Richard Worthington, 86, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 6/28/2022  

Mark Boron, 82, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, died 6/15/2022  

Joshua Head, 42, Crooksville Svc Bldg, Crooksville, OH, died 7/1/2022  

Otto Kubecka, 67, Northeastern Stn 1&2, Oologah, OK, died 5/24/2022  

Oklahoma

William Crow, 63, Mid Metro, Tulsa, OK, died 6/7/2022  

Texas

Mary Matthews, 84, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 6/17/2022  

S Booker, 97, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 6/2/2022  

Robert Elliff, 75, Harlingen Area Office, Harlingen, TX, died 6/5/2022  

Ronald Flores, 62, Lon Hill Transmission Service, Corpus Christi, TX, died 6/11/2022  

Roger Gilpin, 80, Laredo Service Center, Laredo, TX, died 6/25/2022  

Miguel Longoria, 85, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 6/13/2022  

Billie Smith, 94, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 7/5/2022  

Ronnie Chappell, 67, Longview Operations, Longview, TX, died 6/25/2022  

Manuel Sanchez, 96, General Office, Abilene, TX, died 6/22/2022  

Virginia

Thomas Martin, 79, John W. Vaughan Ctr Mtr/Str, Roanoke, VA, died 7/2/2022  

Giles Carter, 95, Clinch River Plant, Cleveland, VA, died 6/8/2022  

Larry Betterton, 86, Smith Mountain Hydro, Sandy Level, VA, died 6/6/2022  

Jessee Hackney, 85, Clinch River Plant, Cleveland, VA, died 6/12/2022  

West Virginia

Danny Wymer, 81, St Albans Ofc & Svc Ctr, St. Albans, WV, died 5/27/2022  

Leon Poskas, 78, Bluefield Wv Srv Ctr, Bluefield, WV, died 6/21/2022  

Robert Shilling, 85, Wheeling Service Bldg, Wheeling, WV, died 5/20/2022  

Frances Pennington, 96, Bluefield Office, Bluefield, WV, died 6/11/2022  

William Dean, 98, Central Machine Shop, South Charleston, WV, died 5/22/2022  

Glenn Matheny, 84, Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, died 6/12/2022  

Julie Sloat to Become CEO on Jan. 1, 2023

Leadership Summit March 2021
Sloat will be the 11th president and 7th CEO of AEP.

AEP’s Board of Directors has appointed Julie Sloat as president and chief financial officer, effective immediately. She has also been elected chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2023. Sloat is AEP’s 11th president and will become the seventh CEO in the company’s 116-year history. She is currently executive vice president and CFO, a position she has held since Jan. 1, 2021.

Nick Akins, chairman, president and chief executive officer, is stepping down as president as part of AEP’s executive succession plan and will end his term as CEO Dec. 31. He will become executive chair of the AEP Board and will remain an officer and employee of the company. He has been president and CEO since 2011 and chairman since 2014.

“Julie is an exceptional leader who has successfully led key strategic areas for the company,” Akins said. “Her financial expertise and positive relationship with investors have been essential for the execution of our long-term strategy, enabling us to deliver strong earnings quarter after quarter while continuing to raise guidance and provide consistent dividend growth. Her deep understanding of our business and industry, including her experience leading AEP Ohio and our regulatory team, will be critical as we continue to invest in new energy resources and grid enhancements that improve service and reliability, support a clean energy future and provide value to our customers, communities and investors.

“Julie’s engaging leadership style also will continue to enhance AEP’s culture. She is committed to the success of our employees, customers and the communities we serve and is passionate about fostering positive, mutually beneficial relationships inside and outside the company,” Akins said.

“Nick has transformed AEP during the 11 years that he has led the company. His focus on innovation, technology, and modernization of the grid and AEP’s generation fleet is enabling clean, reliable and resilient energy to fuel growth in the communities that AEP serves. He also has built an open, collaborative culture that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Sara Martinez Tucker, lead director of AEP’s Board.

“AEP is fortunate that Nick has focused on developing a group of strong and capable leaders to ensure the company’s continued success. Julie has demonstrated exemplary leadership skills at every stage of her career, and we are confident in her ability to lead this team. During her time as CFO, she has improved the financial performance of the company, and she also enhanced the performance and culture of AEP Ohio during the transition to competitive markets. The Board is confident that she is the right person to lead AEP during this dynamic time for the industry and the company,” Tucker said.

There will be no immediate changes to reporting structure. Sloat will continue reporting to Akins and a new CFO will be named before Jan. 1.

“This is a time of tremendous change and opportunity for our company as we invest in new energy technologies and infrastructure to provide clean and reliable energy for our 5.5 million customers,” Sloat said. “It’s an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to lead this amazing team of nearly 17,000 employees. I’ve seen first-hand your commitment to innovation, to supporting the communities we serve and to ensuring that our customers can count on us every day to power their lives and businesses. It’s an exciting time to be in this industry and to build on the 116-year legacy of AEP.”

Sloat has been executive vice president – chief financial officer since Jan. 1, 2021.  She previously served as senior vice president, Treasury and Risk, and president and chief operating officer of AEP Ohio.

Sloat has held several additional key leadership positions since joining the company in 1999, including senior vice president and treasurer; vice president, Regulatory Case Management; vice president, Treasurer and Investor Relations; and vice president, Investor Relations, Strategic Initiatives and Economic Forecasting.

In addition to her AEP career, Sloat was vice president of Corporate Finance and Investor relations at Tween Brands, a bank debt underwriter and buy side equity analyst at Bank One (JP Morgan). She also worked for M&T Mortgage, a subsidiary of M&T Bank Corp.

Sloat has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a double major in Finance and Economics and a Master of Business Administration from the Ohio State University. She completed the Nuclear Reactor Technology Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sloat serves on the board of directors for Evoqua Water Technologies Corp. and as the chair of the board of directors for the James Cancer Hospital Foundation. She also serves on the board of Ohio Valley Electric Corp. and Pelotonia.

Retirements May-June 2022

Arkansas

Rebecca Hileman retired 5/4/2022 from Fayetteville Operations, Fayetteville, AR, after 12 years   

Indiana

Douglas Carey retired 6/7/2022 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 36 years   

Victoria Mendez retired 6/1/2022 from Northeast Svc Center, New Haven, IN, after 42 years   

David Bayle retired 6/2/2022 from Ft Wayne One Summit Square, Ft. Wayne, IN, after 17 years   

Stephen Schutz retired 6/2/2022 from South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN, after 40 years   

Bruce Waggoner retired 5/3/2022 from South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN, after 23 years   

Lisa Jackson retired 6/1/2022 from Baer Field Svc Ctr, Ft. Wayne, IN, after 34 years   

Kentucky

Charley Hebert retired 5/22/2022 from AEP River Operations -Paducah, Paducah, KY, after 26 years   

Carolyn Thacker retired 5/28/2022 from Pikeville Service Ctr, Pikeville, KY, after 46 years   

Everett Young retired 5/28/2022 from Pikeville Service Ctr, Pikeville, KY, after 44 years   

Willard King retired 5/28/2022 from Pikeville Service Ctr, Pikeville, KY, after 43 years   

Robert Wells retired 6/1/2022 from Robert E Matthews Service Cent, Ashland, KY, after 41 years   

Louisiana

Robert Williams retired 5/14/2022 from Shreveport Production, Shreveport, LA, after 22 years   

Michigan

Gregory Weiser retired 5/19/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 39 years   

Terrence Smith retired 5/3/2022 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 21 years   

Ohio

William Romine retired 6/1/2022 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 41 years   

Steven Poling retired 5/6/2022 from Marietta Service Center, Marietta, OH, after 21 years   

Franklin Gerlach retired 6/10/2022 from Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, after 19 years   

Christine Myers retired 5/25/2022 from Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, after 33 years   

Brenda Ankrom retired 5/14/2022 from Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, after 38 years   

Michael Johnson retired 6/1/2022 from Belmont Ofc & Svc Bldg, St. Clairsville, OH, after 24 years   

Debra Urschel retired 6/5/2022 from Chillicothe Svc Ctr, Chillicothe, OH, after 14 years   

Michael Mulligan retired 5/4/2022 from Canton South Svc Ctr, Canton, OH, after 43 years   

Anne Rutz retired 5/21/2022 from Arena Building, Columbus, OH, after 38 years   

Gregory Ewbank retired 5/31/2022 from AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH, after 22 years   

Richard Wohlford retired 5/11/2022 from Wooster Service Bldg, Wooster, OH, after 34 years   

Jeffrey Vandine retired 5/13/2022 from Newark Service Bldg, Newark, OH, after 43 years   

David Howiler retired 5/13/2022 from Newark Service Bldg, Newark, OH, after 42 years   

Mark Manson retired 6/9/2022 from Canton Transmission SC, Canton, OH, after 33 years   

Roger Abbott retired 5/18/2022 from Gavin 765 Yd., Cheshire, OH, after 46 years   

Oklahoma

Lila Johnson retired 5/15/2022 from Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, after 14 years   

Leonard Elrod retired 6/1/2022 from Chickasha, Chickasha, OK, after 16 years   

Don Roberts retired 5/3/2022 from Northeastern Stn 1&2, Oologah, OK, after 43 years   

Roger Shannon retired 6/1/2022 from Mid Metro, Tulsa, OK, after 27 years   

Sudhakar Chidurala retired 6/18/2022 from Tulsa Transmission Office & SC, Tulsa, OK, after 14 years   

Texas

Mary Fertsch retired 6/25/2022 from Central Div-Br-Victoria, Victoria, TX, after 52 years   

Hamie Cortez retired 5/28/2022 from Uvalde Service Center, Uvalde, TX, after 17 years   

Jerry Coker retired 6/11/2022 from Knox City, Knox City, TX, after 35 years   

Kevin Moore retired 6/26/2022 from Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, TX, after 38 years   

Patrick Molloy retired 6/22/2022 from Renaissance Tower, Dallas, TX, after 36 years   

Lewis Peacock retired 5/11/2022 from Wilkes Plant, Avinger, TX, after 22 years   

Don Hall retired 5/1/2022 from Wilkes Plant, Avinger, TX, after 38 years   

Kenneth Griffin retired 5/17/2022 from Corpus Christi Service Center, Corpus Christi, TX, after 43 years   

West Virginia

Timothy Hardman retired 5/2/2022 from Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, after 41 years   

Patrick Simpkins retired 6/1/2022 from Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, after 44 years   

Bryan Smith retired 5/24/2022 from Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, after 41 years   

Jeffrey Wamer retired 5/21/2022 from Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, after 40 years   

Alfred Curran retired 6/1/2022 from River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV, after 18 years   

Timothy Kinser retired 5/21/2022 from River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV, after 22 years   

Susan Vickers retired 5/7/2022 from River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV, after 26 years   

Jay Brown retired 5/1/2022 from River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV, after 30 years   

Candice Brewer retired 5/17/2022 from N Charleston Svc Ctr, Charleston, WV, after 18 years   

Obits, April-June 2022

Arkansas

William Clinton, 63, Flint Creek Plant, Gentry, AR,  died 5/12/2022

Indiana

Garfield Eldridge, 76, Tanners Creek Plant, Lawrenceburg, IN,  died 5/6/2022

Lois Henson, 86, Tanners Creek Plant, Lawrenceburg, IN,  died 4/16/2022

Alvin Eckstein, 90, Breed Plant, Fairbanks, IN,  died 5/4/2022

Martha Meissner, 88, South Bend Office, South Bend, IN,  died 5/21/2022

Peggye Creigh, 92, Avilla Svc Ctr, Avilla, IN,  died 4/13/2022

James Arman, 91, Spy Run Bldg. #3, Ft. Wayne, IN,  died 4/4/2022

Norman Salo, 89, South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN,  died 5/21/2022

John Rowlison, 79, South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN,  died 5/28/2022

Kentucky

Wallace Melton, 58, Hazard Service Center, Hazard, KY,  died 6/23/2022

Louisiana

Halley Fuller, 90, Shreveport General Office, Shreveport, LA,  died 4/16/2022

Gene Davis, 89, Shreveport General Office, Shreveport, LA,  died 6/4/2022

John Shaw, 80, Shreveport General Office, Shreveport, LA,  died 5/4/2022

Michigan

Donald Dinius, 90, St Joe Ofc & Svc Ctr, Benton Harbor, MI,  died 5/3/2022

Patrick Hoppe, 68, Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI,  died 5/13/2022

Gregory Melnyk, 95, St Joe Ofc & Svc Ctr, Benton Harbor, MI,  died 4/12/2022

Julius Kolosowsky, 98, Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI,  died 4/21/2022

New York

Gonzalo Escalante, 96, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY,  died 4/29/2022

Ohio

David Lowry, 74, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH,  died 4/20/2022

Michael Cecil, 65, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH,  died 4/26/2022

John Wolverton, 62, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH,  died 5/8/2022

Samuel Ketz, 68, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH,  died 5/11/2022

Jon Waugh, 69, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH,  died 4/5/2022

Jerry Mayle, 73, Muskingum River, Waterford, OH,  died 6/4/2022

Wayne Sams, 72, AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH,  died 5/26/2022

Barbara Saddler, 68, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH,  died 5/3/2022

Frederick Huff, 74, Steubenville Service Center, Steubenville, OH,  died 4/13/2022

Thomas Miller, 74, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH,  died 5/5/2022

Barry McElfresh, 74, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH,  died 4/27/2022

William Bende, 77, Arena Building, Columbus, OH,  died 5/24/2022

David Rose, 83, Columbus Region Off, Columbus, OH,  died 4/14/2022

Alvin Knable, 93, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH,  died 4/16/2022

James McMannis, 86, Muskingum River, Waterford, OH,  died 4/11/2022

Robert Ruby, 86, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH,  died 4/11/2022

Robert Henry, 91, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH,  died 4/4/2022

William Willis, 93, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH,  died 4/28/2022

William Smith, 94, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH,  died 5/4/2022

Larry Boyer, 85, Muskingum River, Waterford, OH,  died 4/17/2022

James Beck, 88, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH,  died 5/23/2022

Norma Ross, 97, Zanesville Office, Zanesville, OH,  died 5/2/2022

Max Wright, 90, Zanesville Office, Zanesville, OH,  died 4/5/2022

William Ruse, 91, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH,  died 5/22/2022

Harry Hill, 84, Canton South Svc Ctr, Canton, OH,  died 5/11/2022

Betty Simcox, 69, Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH,  died 4/24/2022

Jessica Rogers, 41, Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH,  died 6/23/2022

Oklahoma

Joyce Fluellen, 76, Hugo, Hugo, OK,  died 4/3/2022

Junior Lytle, 69, Atoka, Atoka, OK,  died 5/11/2022

Barbara Penix, 83, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK,  died 4/30/2022

Johnny Springer, 95, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK,  died 4/11/2022

James Wolf, 81, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK,  died 4/19/2022

Tennessee

Carl Seaver, 75, Kingsport Service Ctr, Kingsport, TN,  died 4/12/2022

Texas

Glen Churchill, 88, General Office, Abilene, TX,  died 4/17/2022

Michael Beach, 77, Coleto Creek Pwr Stn, Fannin, TX,  died 5/3/2022

Victor Cavazos, 80, Pharr North Service Center, Pharr, TX,  died 4/10/2022

Ronald Flores, 62, Lon Hill Transmission Service, Corpus Christi, TX,  died 6/11/2022

Maria Tellez, 77, Pharr Csc Annex, Pharr, TX,  died 5/15/2022

Pedro Guerrero, 72, Southern Div Office, San Benito, TX,  died 4/15/2022

Elena Serow, 90, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX,  died 4/21/2022

Adolfo Reyes, 90, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX,  died 4/16/2022

Ricardo Saenz, 91, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX,  died 5/8/2022

Herbert Golightly, 81, Pirkey Plant, Hallsville, TX,  died 5/13/2022

E Finley, 95, General Office, Abilene, TX,  died 4/11/2022

David Pena, 62, Carrizo Springs Area Off, Carrizo Springs, TX,  died 6/11/2022

Virginia

Teresa Thomas, 72, Roanoke Main Office, Roanoke, VA,  died 4/15/2022

Roger Bradley, 76, Glen Lyn Plant, Glen Lyn, VA,  died 4/15/2022

Ronald Killen, 75, Grundy Ofc & Svc Ctr, Grundy, VA,  died 4/16/2022

Charlotte Wagner, 79, Glen Lyn Plant, Glen Lyn, VA,  died 4/29/2022

Donald Frye, 74, Glade Spring Service Center, Glade Spring, VA,  died 4/23/2022

Walter Wade, 90, Glen Lyn Plant, Glen Lyn, VA,  died 5/9/2022

Roy Maxey, 90, John W. Vaughan Center, Roanoke, VA,  died 5/24/2022

Meredith Clarke, 85, Roanoke Main Office, Roanoke, VA,  died 6/6/2022

Ralph Amos, 94, Roanoke Service Bldg., Roanoke, VA,  died 4/18/2022

John Horn, 84, Roanoke Main Office, Roanoke, VA,  died 4/21/2022

West Virginia

Robert Shaw, 70, River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV,  died 4/6/2022

Charles Justice, 75, Marmet Hydro, Marmet, WV,  died 4/7/2022

Danny Wymer, 81, St Albans Ofc & Svc Ctr, St. Albans, WV,  died 5/27/2022

Samuel Smith, 70, River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV,  died 5/15/2022

William Hudson, 91, Amos Plant, Winfield, WV,  died 5/24/2022

John Huntley, 81, Kammer, Moundsville, WV,  died 5/14/2022

William Ewing, 78, Kammer, Moundsville, WV,  died 5/11/2022

Elba Samson, 93, Logan Service Center, Logan, WV,  died 4/12/2022

Paul Shiltz, 83, Amos Plant, Winfield, WV,  died 4/11/2022

Richard Davis, 79, Bluefield Wv Srv Ctr, Bluefield, WV,  died 5/22/2022

Lester Lusher, 78, Amos Plant Simulator, Winfield, WV,  died 4/29/2022

Charles Branscome, 81, Princeton Ofc & Svc Ctr, Princeton, WV,  died 5/7/2022

Carl Francisco, 84, Marmet Service Center, Marmet, WV,  died 5/12/2022

Sharon Shrewsbury, 77, Bluefield Office, Bluefield, WV,  died 4/22/2022

Lonie Crace, 72, River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV,  died 5/30/2022

The Pirkey Dozen: End of an era

In the summer of 1982, a soon-to-be constructed power plant in Hallsville, Texas, offered the promise of opportunity for 30 young men eager to make their mark in the world.

These men joined SWEPCO as apprentice machinists for the H.W. Pirkey Power Plant. Their job entailed repairing and maintaining plant equipment and structures, a trade they learned together as Pirkey was built.

The experience bonded them, and they came to rely on each other for advice, assistance, and encouragement. Forty years later, 12 of these original 30 apprentices will be on hand for the plant’s final operation on March 31, 2023.

“We’ve had a lot of fun and challenging times together,” said Brent Ogden, now the plant’s maintenance superintendent. “We’re one big family, and I know we’ll continue to be lifelong friends even after the plant closes.”

Ogden, who transferred to Turk Power Plant in 2010, planned to retire in March 2022 but reconsidered when he was offered the chance to return to Pirkey for its final year of operation.

“There were several reasons I chose to come back,” he said. “But a big part of it was being with the guys I started with when the plant shuts down.”

Franklin’s Follies

In the early days, the group came to be known as Franklin’s Follies, a nod to their supervisor and later VP of Generation Paul Franklin, who guided their training and first steps in the industry.

“That’s what everyone labeled us because he had to raise a bunch of kids,” Ogden said with a laugh. “I was the oldest at 22.”

Some had heard about the job through family friends while others learned about it in trade classes.

“I was in a class learning how to do industrial electrical wiring when a counselor came in and told us SWEPCO wanted to hire 30 people to send to college to be machinists,” said Wade Hicks, a station machinist. “I’d never stepped foot in a machine shop, but it sounded like something that could be a lifelong career.”

Their first two years on the job were spent in the classroom. The apprentices had on-the-job instruction at a training building on the plant site, as well as machine shop classes at Kilgore College, where they learned drafting and technical physics, among other things.

“We were required to maintain an 85 average in all our classes,” said Ben Craig, maintenance supervisor. “In the summer, we would tear apart old gas plant pumps and check clearances and learn how to do maintenance on them.”

That knowledge transferred to the plant in the fall of 1984 when they began to test the new equipment.

“It was exciting knowing that we were putting this thing online,” Ogden said. “We didn’t know what to expect. At first it was overwhelming to see all this big equipment and know we were going to have to maintain it. But the more we worked on it, the more it became a challenge we took pride in.”

Working together

One of the most memorable of those challenges was the time they repaired a low-pressure (LP) rotor on the steam turbine a few months after the plant began commercial operation.

“We immediately went into doing something that had been planned for the annual warranty inspection,” Craig said. “It was a scramble to get it done, but we were ready.”

He said the thing that made the experience so exciting was that the LP rotor – which rotates the turbine blades – had been off limits during their training days.

“Everyone was eager to tear into this thing because we couldn’t even get near it before,” he said.

Maintenance Supervisor Ricky Morris said they learned a lot from that repair, and it was an experience that helped them navigate future maintenance on LP rotors.

“We got where we could probably pull those blades off with our eyes closed,” he said.

But for Morris, the best memories occurred in the boiler.

He said a tube leak in the boiler could cause quite a bit of damage as it wasn’t detected until an operator heard it.

“Today, we’ve got acoustic monitoring systems that picks those up really quick, but back then, we relied on operators to hear them,” he said. “By the time you got in there, it was a pretty good size wreck, and we’d be in there for a week. It was hard work, but you’d carry on conversations, and we made a lot of good memories inside the boiler.”

Closing a chapter

Throughout the years, these men saw a lot of changes in not just plant maintenance but their own lives.

They started families, gained promotions, and celebrated milestones together over the years.

“Now, we’re the old dogs around the yard,” Craig said. “Not a day goes by that someone comes up with a question, and we say go ask Larry (Garrison), Keith (Bynum) or Ronnie (McBride). SWEPCO did a good a job of hiring good people. Looking back and knowing what we achieved together, it’s remarkable.”

THE PIRKEY DOZEN
Twelve apprentice machinists hired in 1982 who still work at Pirkey Power Plant
1. RICHARD ALLEE, senior operator
2. KEITH BYNUM, welder machinist
3. BEN CRAIG, maintenance supervisor
4. BRAD EPPERSON, energy production supervisor
5. LARRY GARRISON, station machinist C
6. WADE HICKS, station machinist C
7. RONNIE MCBRIDE, station machinist C
8. RICKY MORRIS, maintenance supervisor
9. BRENT OGDEN, maintenance superintendent
10. TOMY RUSHING, welder machinist
11. LANCE SCUDDAY, lignite equipment operator
12. MACK TIMMONS, energy production supervisor