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Annual Enrollment Ends Thursday, November 16

Annual Enrollment for AEP’s 2018 benefits plans for employees and retirees ends at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday, November 16.

The enrollment guides for retirees age under 65, and for age 65 and over, are posted on this website under Benefits.

To make your selections, go to the AEP Benefits Center to choose your plan option. If you have questions about the enrollment process or need help enrolling, call the AEP Benefits Center at 1-888-237-2363 (option 1), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

The AEP Benefits Hub (note: this link goes to the retiree Annual Enrollment section) offers tools and resources to help you make benefits decisions. AEP Benefits Hub also offers medical plan option details, enrollment guides and summary of benefit coverage documents.

PSO retiree Dale Johnson profiled for Veterans Day

Pvt. Dale Johnson, U.S. Army, at age 20.

(Story by Ed Bettinger)

PSO News recently profiled a number of Public Service Company of Oklahoma employees and retirees who have served our nation in the military. This is one of the profile articles, about Dale Johnson, a U.S. Army veteran who retired December 1, 2009, with 35 years of service. His final position was as working foreman on a line crew.

Thank you to Dale for your service, and to all of our AEP veterans.

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Tulsa and raised in southern Arizona. Just before high school we moved back to Tulsa. I have been here ever since.

What was your branch of the service?
U.S. Army.

When did you serve and for how long?
I served two years, from October 1967 until September 1969.

What led you to serve in the military?
Like many young men during the time of the Vietnam War, I was drafted at age 19.

What was your experience in the military?
I went through basic training at Fort Polk, LA.  Next, I was stationed with the 45th Artillery Brigade Air Defense outfit at a Nike Hercules anti-aircraft missile site outside of Chicago for four months.  I was then sent to Germany to the Third Armored Division, 19th Maintenance Battalion, which was part of the East-West border patrol in divided Germany during the Cold War.

What is the highest rank you attained?
Specialist 4th Class.

Current photo of Dale Johnson

What were your military responsibilities?
I was a Track Armored mechanic.  I worked on M60 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and armored command vehicles.

What is your best memory of military service?
I don’t have any particular best memory, but I wouldn’t trade anything for my time in the service. If called upon to serve again, I would do so with pride!

Please describe your PSO employee experience.
I started August 1974 at 1st & Cheyenne as a helper on a line crew. Over time I also worked out of Mid Metro, 1st & Denver, 81st & Yale [now closed], Sand Springs, and, finally, at Alsuma. I was at Alsuma when I retired December 1, 2009 with 35 years of service.

My final position was as Working Foreman on a line crew. I worked with and learned from some of the greatest linemen to ever strap on a set of hooks. I worked for hard foremen who knew and appreciated a job well done. All in all, PSO was a great place to work. I had a lot of demanding routine jobs, but also worked a lot of storms (ice, tornados and high winds)…and I LOVED IT ALL!”

Obituaries

AEP River Transportation Division

Patricia Dierkes, 77, River Transportation Division, died August 25.

AEP Service Corporation

William Gibson, 71, AEP Headquarters, died August 28.

Thomas Lynch, 89, retired, AEP Headquarters, died August 16.

Richard Schultz, 80, retired, AEP Headquarters, died September 15.

Appalachian Power Company

Andrew Abshire, 76, retired, Madison Service Center, died September 19.

Michael Burris, 76, retired, Sporn Plant, died September 19.

James Cole, 90, retired, Clinch River Plant, died September 15.

Paul Dornon, 79, retired, Huntington Service Center, died August 27.

Joshua Hall, 35, Kingsport Service Center, died September 2.

Lena Hensley, 90, retired, Kingsport Service Center, died August 4.

Donald McCraw, 73, retired, Pulaski Service Center, died September 11.

Aubrey Powell, 87, retired, Bb&T Building, died August 29.

Michael Thomson, 66, Beckley Service Center, died September 4.

Sherry Youell, 76, Kanawha River Plant, died September 6.

Columbus Southern Power Company

John Broadnax, 71, Columbus Northwest Service Center, died September 1.

Clyde Campbell Jr., 75, Athens Service Center, died September 4.

Bernard Carter, 93, retired, Athens Service Center, died September 9.

Jerome Hoffman, 81, retired, 850 Tech Center, died September 4.

John Morris, 60, Columbus Northeast Service Center, died August 28.

Mary Rains, 82, retired, 850 Tech Center, died September 7.

Edgar Turner, 88, retired, 850 Tech Center, died August 25.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Dale Frie, 59, Cook Nuclear Plant, died September 3.

Rochell Hollis, 44, One Summit Square, died September 6.

Robert Rose, 94, retired, Spy Run Service Center, died June 23.

Robert Schmidt, 94, retired, Avilla Service Center, died September 17.

William Wiley Jr., 92, retired, Marion Office, died September 21.

Kentucky Power Company

Fred Birchfield Jr., 75, Pikeville Service Center, died August 26.

Alan Stennett, 70, Robert E. Matthews Service Center, died September 11.

Ohio Power Company

Ronald Biller, 79, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died August 25.

Clyde Peterson, 95, retired, Lancaster Office Building, died September 14.

Samuel Robinson, 70, Crooksville Service Building, died September 5.

Donald Stewart, 95, retired, Central Ohio Coal Company, died August 31.

Ivan Zyski, 92, retired, Fremont Service Center, died September 18.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Evlyen Cochran, 88, retired, Tulsa General Office, died September 13.

Mildred Cox, 94, retired, Tulsa General Office, died September 4.

Jesse Jennings, 91, retired, Tulsa General Office, died September 21.

Bernard Jordan, 69, Wilburton Office, died August 25.

Edwin Lowe, 90, retired, Tulsa General Office, died September 15

Jim McCollough, 81, retired, Tulsa General Office, died September 20.

Philip McConnell, 82, retired, Tulsa General Office, died September 15.

Willard Osborne, 91, retired, Tulsa General Office, died September 7.

Jerry Simmons, 88, retired, Lawton Operations Center, died September 12.

Paul Whiteside, 95, retired, Tulsa General Office, died September 12.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Martha Bordelon, 73, retired, Arsenal Hill Plant, died September 2.

William Dempsey Jr., 92, retired, Shreveport General Office, died September 9.

Donald Gilbreath, 80, retired, Shreveport General Office, died August 26.

Billy Smith, 70, Mt. Pleasant Service Center, died September 13.

Texas Central

Perry Beaty Jr., 85, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died August 28.

Texas North

Lynn Jackson Jr., 75, Munday Service Center, died August 20.

September Retirements

AEP Ohio

Stephen Amatangelo, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired September 1 after 40 years of service.

Susan Edie, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired September 1 after 15 years of service.

Andrew Jones, Marietta Service Center, retired September 1 after 33 years of service.

Gregory Zorich, 850 Tech Center, retired September 30 after 41 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Jeffrey Bartsch, AEP Headquarters, retired September 30 after 32 years of service.

Tom Cameron, AEP Headquarters, retired September 30 after 39 years of service.

Russell Cowley, AEP Headquarters, retired September 1 after 44 years of service.

Kenneth Gardner, AEP Headquarters, retired September 2 after 46 years of service.

Barry Kemp, AEP Headquarters, retired September 19 after 36 years of service.

Jo Massie, Central Operations Center, retired September 1 after 31 years of service.

Marsha Ringle, AEP Headquarters, retired September 1 after 15 years of service.

AEP Texas

Traci Bellis, Corpus Christi Office, retired September 6 after 31 years of service.

Bailey Dunlap IV, Electric System Operations, retired September 30 after 35 years of service.

Stacy Hendley, Victoria Service Center, retired September 30 after 35 years of service.

Russell Lummus, Port Lavaca Area Office, retired September 30 after 35 years of service.

David Solis, Aransas Pass Service Center, retired September 1 after 37 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company

Wayne Alexander, Roanoke Main Office, retired September 23 after 40 years of service.

Kenneth Looney, North Charleston Service Center, retired September 30 after 33 years of service.

Kerry McFarland, Central Machine Shop, retired September 23 after 32 years of service.

Barry Miller, Tazewell Service Center, retired September 27 after 32 years of service.

Curtis Pennington, Central Machine Shop, retired September 1 after 27 years of service.

Bennett Shuff, Stuart Office, retired September 30 after 44 years of service.

Darla Smith, Hurricane Call Center, retired September 1 after 19 years of service.

Johnny Vencill, Lebanon Service Center, retired September 1 after 43 years of service.

Generation

Linda Blair, Rockport Plant, retired September 1 after 29 years of service.

Larry Bunger, Rockport Plant, retired September 12 after 14 years of service.

Cynthia Graffenius, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired September 30 after 22 years of service.

David Haynes, Amos Plant, retired September 23 after 38 years of service.

Kenneth Howery, Mountaineer Plant, retired September 1 after 35 years of service.

Matthew Inboden, Conesville Plant, retired September 8 after 35 years of service.

Robert Moreno, Wilkes Plant, retired September 1 after 33 years of service.

Frank Sanders, Knox Lee Plant, retired September 1 after 43 years of service.

Terry Shrewsbury, Amos Plant, retired September 9 after 41 years of service.

Steven Sterk, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired September 1 after 33 years of service.

John Sutton, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired September 30 after 34 years of service.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Timothy Lynn, Baer Field Service Center, retired September 27 after 20 years of service.

Glenn Moore Jr., St. Joseph Service Center, retired September 1 after 31 years of service.

Kentucky Power Company

Lloyd Keyser, Robert E. Matthews Service Center, retired September 1 after 38 years of service.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

William Crow, Mid Metro Office, retired September 2 after 36 years of service.

Arthur Wood, Mid Metro Office, retired September 12 after 36 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Michael Clark, Kilgore Service Center, retired September 1 after 38 years of service.

John Davis Jr., Environmental Lab, retired September 30 after 27 years of service.

Randall Dupree, Dolet Hills Lignite Mine, retired September 1 after 14 years of service.

Michael Greer, Dolet Hills Lignite Mine, retired September 1 after 28 years of service.

Transmission

Claude Ball Jr., Williamson Service Center, retired September 30 after 40 years of service.

Carl Blackford, Transmission Operations Center, retired September 9 after 39 years of service.

Edwin Caldwell, John W. Vaughan Center, retired September 1 after 47 years of service.

Lonnie Goad, Pikeville Service Center, retired September 29 after 33 years of service.

James Jeffers, Logan Service Center, retired September 1 after 47 years of service.

Paul Johnson, Transmission Operations Center, retired September 6 after 35 years of service.

Dorothy Saunders, Tulsa General Office, retired September 13 after 32 years of service.

Stanley Sciranka, Lima Service Center, retired September 12 after 38 years of service.

Four One-Year Memberships to WiNUP to be Awarded

The Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals (WiNUP) is an association dedicated to providing professional development, networking and mentoring for women in the utility and energy industries. Founded as the Electrical Women’s Roundtable in New York in 1923, WiNUP currently has more than 400 members. Because AEP is a major supporter of WiNUP, four AEP employees/retirees will be awarded a free one-year membership.

To be eligible for the free membership:

  • Your completed application must be received by December 1, 2017.
  • Winners will be notified by December 5, 2017.
  • Applicants must be a current AEP employee or AEP retiree.
  • You do not need to be a WiNUP member to apply.
  • 2018 Awardees will be eligible to re-apply in 2020.

More information about WiNUP is available at WINUP.org.

Despite Hearing Impairment, Austin is Involved

Curtis Austin, a hearing impaired employee, is a member of three Employee Resource Groups in Tulsa.

This article focuses on an AEP employee who is a member of several Employee Resource Groups (ERG). He and other individuals set an example for others from their involvement to help build awareness, respect and inclusiveness in the workplace. Through this and similar articles, we’d like to allow employees to get to know each other better, and to encourage awareness of diversity, inclusion and ERGs. 

Curtis Austin, Business Solutions associate, Tulsa Customer Solutions Center, has worked at AEP/PSO for eight years. He has been a member of ADAPT ERG for two years, Pride Partnership ERG for four years, and Asian American ERG for two years.

Q: What motivated you to become a member of an ERG? 

A: I am a hearing impaired employee who loves and enjoys life and the multi-cultures we all share.  I love how culturally minded our company is and my initial desire was to promote diversity and inclusion within the company. When ADAPT was created, I realized there are others out there like me within the company and that we all struggle daily with adapting in our work environment; making do with the equipment that is available for us and working though each situation we find ourselves in.

Whether it is in our office, on the phone, in a meeting or in the break room, it is always a struggle for hearing impaired employees to sufficiently adapt, hear and understand what is being said. On occasion, we don’t always have the right equipment to adapt in our environment or the equipment isn’t maintained properly. Hearing aids are an expensive necessity that allow some hearing impaired employees to better adapt.

All my life I have always had to pay for these costly aids out of pocket. On occasion, some state or federal assistance was available to help cover the cost.  Unfortunately, hearing aids are not covered under our insurance like medical devices. So to answer the original question, I joined ADAPT with the hopes of helping facilitate changes to our insurance benefits so that any employee with a disability might possibly get some form of insurance that covers their medically required equipment including hearing aid insurance for employees and/or their spouses and children.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your ERG involvement? 

A: I love how involved all the ERGs are with each other and help share their experiences, cultures and ideas with each other.  I love how involved we can be with the ERG, helping promote acceptance for all cultures, and what we can do to assist employees to be more comfortable while working at AEP.

Q: What was an unexpected event or outcome for you that has resulted from your ERG involvement?

A: I was pleased to hear that ADAPT had formed which allowed me the opportunity to provide input from a deaf/hard of hearing perspective and see if I could provide insights to help other employees who may be struggling with their hearing impairment or that of a family member.

Q: How do you feel your ERG involvement has helped you grow, either personally or in your career development?

A: I have met a number of employees that are hearing impaired or have a family member who is hearing impaired and have created a new circle of acquaintances throughout the company. Additionally, I’m one of the co-chairs of the Pride ERG in Oklahoma and I love being involved with both groups and very much appreciate the work of all our allies/members in all the ERGs. I am looking for ways to be more involved with the ADAPT ERG and still maintain my involvement level with Pride as well.

Q: Can you share any accomplishments related to your ERG involvement that are particularly meaningful to you?

A: In 2015 AEP/PSO entered the Tulsa Pride Parade for the first time in the company’s history and in 2017, we had the largest Pride Parade entry in the Tulsa parade’s history with the new AMI Consumer Education Semi-Trailer and a PSO wrapped van. If we can get hearing insurance for AEP employees, this would by far be my biggest ERG accomplishment as well as a huge deal for me personally!

Q: In your own words, how does your ERG involvement help support AEP’s business strategy?

A: We have an endless variety of walks of life and cultures within AEP; in my 8+ years of working here, I have personally noticed an improvement in how employees treat each other and a renewed respect for the employees and customers. In essence, I’m improving the company from the inside out.

Enrollment guides for under 65 age retirees now in mail

Enrollment packets for retirees who are under 65 are being mailed Thursday, November 2, later than planned due to printing issues.

For retirees under age 65, there are no changes in regards to options or plans for 2018. Medical and vision costs will stay the same, with a slight cost increase for dental coverage. If no action is taken, under age 65 retirees will continue to be enrolled in the same coverage that is currently in place, covering the same eligible dependents (if applicable).

Retirees can view their Personalized Enrollment Worksheets (PEW) at the AEP Benefits Center (https://www.ibenefitcenter.com/aep) under Forms/Communication History. The 2018 Annual Enrollment Guide for retirees is located under the Resource Center/Plan Information/Health tab. Retirees can also review the enrollment guide at this website on the Benefits tab.

Annual Enrollment Begins Today, Continues Through Nov. 16

Annual Enrollment for AEP’s 2018 benefits plans for employees and retirees begins today, Wednesday, October 25, and continues through Thursday, November 16.

The enrollment guides for retirees age under 65, and for age 65 and over, are posted on this website under Benefits.

To make your selections, go to the AEP Benefits Center to choose your plan option. If you have questions about the enrollment process or need help enrolling, call the AEP Benefits Center at 1-888-237-2363 (option 1), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

The AEP Benefits Hub (note: this link goes to the retiree Annual Enrollment section) offers tools and resources to help you make benefits decisions. AEP Benefits Hub also offers medical plan option details, enrollment guides and summary of benefit coverage documents.

Bolen Recognized for Aiding Injured Victim, Earns President’s Award from AEP Texas

Shown along with Leland Bolen (center) are Alex Ramirez (left), manager of distribution system for the San Angelo District, and Denise McDonald, meter services supervisor in San Angelo.

(Story by Frank Espinoza)

In a split-second, Leland Bolen, a field meter servicer at the McCamey Service Center, needed to make a decision fast: Does he follow company protocol or help save a life?

His decision proved to be the right one as his actions may have saved the life of a public citizen. His quick thinking and actions earned the employee with 19 years of service an AEP Texas President’s Award.

In mid-June, Bolen was traveling on Highway 349 back to Iraan in a remote area of west Texas when suddenly he came upon a woman who was desperately waving her arms for help. As he slowed down to survey the situation, he noticed a vehicle that appeared to have gone off the road and flipped over a fence. As he approached the woman, she told him she was having pain in her head and chest and that she needed help. Because of no cell-phone or radio reception in that remote area, he could not reach emergency responders.

“When I saw her I couldn’t see any blood but could tell she was hurting,” said Bolen. “So after trying again unsuccessfully to reach for help on my cell phone and radio, I decided to drive her to the nearest hospital.”

Bolen added that as he was driving her to the hospital, he was aware of her head injury and kept her talking to make sure she remained conscious.

The woman told Bolen she had fallen asleep while driving and lost control of her vehicle. It rolled it over several times. She also said she was not wearing a seat belt and that she was ejected from her vehicle.

Once Bolen safely transported the woman to a local hospital in Iraan, he then reported the incident to local authorities. But he didn’t stop there; he also contacted the woman’s husband to inform him of the accident and to let him know she was at a local hospital.

Judith Talavera, AEP Texas president and chief operating officer, said Bolen made the right call.

“While our company policy does not allow non-employees in our company vehicles except for official company business, Leland came across a potential life-and-death situation,” said Talavera. “He did everything he could to reach for emergency help and had no other option but to help a person who appeared to have serious injuries.”

Talavera added that she was very proud of Bolen because he demonstrated true professionalism and compassion while helping a person in need.

Bolen said he received a text from the woman’s daughter later that day informing him that her mother was doing well and also expressed her gratitude for his help.

When asked what he learned from this experience, Bolen said the incident became personal.

“Everybody is important to somebody,” he said. “If that were my wife I would want her to receive the same type of help which is why I would do it again. It’s the right thing to do.”

Lopez Recognized During Hispanic Heritage Month

Omar Lopez was one of several community leaders recognized by local the chapter of the American GI Forum for making a positive impact in the community.

(Story by Frank Espinoza)

Omar Lopez, AEP Texas communications manager, will be touring the streets of Corpus Christi during the month of October to raise awareness of past, present and future Hispanic leaders.

Actually, the image of Lopez featured on the side of a Regional Transit Authority bus will be traveling the city. The image was unveiled recently during a local Spanish television program as part of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Lopez, an active member of the Corpus Christi business community, was one of several community leaders recognized by local the chapter of the American GI Forum, a Hispanic veterans and civil rights organization for making a positive impact in the community.

Patsy Vasquez-Cortes, national chairwoman of the American GI Forum, said the selection was based on the theme, Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders.

“This effort will raise awareness of leaders who have paved the way for Hispanics,” said Vasquez-Cortes. “It also will illustrate to children how they can make a difference.”

Julio Reyes, AEP Texas vice president of External Affairs, said the recognition is well deserved. Reyes was recognized in the same way last year.

“Omar is an extremely engaged leader in our community and is worthy of this honor,” said Reyes. “I commend him for his achievements because he demonstrates positive leadership and represents AEP Texas well.”

When asked how it felt to see his image on public display, Lopez said it feels a bit odd although at the same time, he feels honored.

“It’s a bit surreal to see my face on the bus,” he said. “But then again, it’s an honor because I know the image on the bus represents my mother and father, my teachers, and the many other great people who have influenced and shaped me.”