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AEP Foundation Presents $1 Million Gift to Louisiana Tech University

Left to right: Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson; AEP Chairman, President and CEO Nicholas K. Akins; Louisiana Tech President Les Guice; Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker and University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson. Photo by Karen Wissing.

Note: The following is from a Louisiana Tech University News Release:

Louisiana Tech University received a generous $1 million gift July 19 from Nicholas K. Akins, chairman, president and CEO of AEP, and chairman of the AEP Foundation, to support a new Academic Success Center located inside Bossier Parish Community College’s (BPCC) STEM Building in the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City, La.

Akins, who is also a 1982 and 1986 alumnus of Louisiana Tech, was joined by Louisiana Tech President Les Guice, who accepted the gift for the new facility which is designed to enhance educational services, provide cyber education and research, support economic development and engage in workforce development activities.  The new academic and cyber enter will also enable Louisiana Tech to advance its growth strategies in student enrollment, produce additional graduates in high demand fields, and increase academic program and research productivity throughout the state.

“The AEP Foundation is pleased to support the creation of this cyber training center to help students gain undergraduate and graduate degrees in a rapidly growing and critically needed discipline,” said Akins. “This grant will not only increase opportunities for students to pursue cyber careers and strengthen the future workforce, but it also builds upon a public-private partnership that is critical to the region’s future growth.”

State and local dignitaries including Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson and University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson were also in attendance to publically express their support and appreciation to Akins and the AEP Foundation, and to celebrate the new opportunities that the new academic and cyber center will create for the region.

The Academic Success Center will serve as a “one-stop shop” for student services and staff services providing information about career exploration, test preparation, financial aid and articulation agreements with BPCC.  The Center will also assist veterans in transition from active duty to access VA educational benefits, planning for academic programs, obtaining maximum credit for military learning and selecting academic degree programs which are in high demand for US citizens with military service.  This endeavor will enable Louisiana Tech to serve more active duty, former military and civilian students in a convenient location off of, but close to Barksdale AFB.

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Nick and the AEP Foundation, not only on behalf of Louisiana Tech, but also on behalf of our corporate and community partners throughout the region and state,” said Guice.  “Investments in our students and the support it provides to those we serve are critical to expanding Louisiana Tech’s role as an economic and higher education leader.  The return on these investments will be felt throughout the State of Louisiana and for generations to come.”

Louisiana Tech expects to complete and occupy the new Academic Success Center during the fall 2017 academic quarter.

AEP to Sell Tracts of Land in Ohio

The land for sale includes areas with mixed hardwoods, pines, and ponds.

COSHOCTON, Ohio — Approximately 2,596 acres of largely undeveloped Ohio land owned by AEP’s Ohio Franklin Realty, LLC, will be offered at auction Saturday, August 12. The land, located in Coshocton County, will be offered in 28 tracts ranging from 7 to 358 acres.

AEP originally purchased the land for mining purposes and no longer needs the land for company operations. The land includes areas with mixed hardwoods, pines, and ponds

Bidders may make offers on any combination of tracts as well as the entirety.

Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, in cooperation with Murray Wise Associates, will manage the auction. There is one inspection date: Tuesday, July 25, from 4-7 p.m. at the Otsego United Methodist Church, located on State Route 93, approximately one mile south of Tract 27. At that time, potential buyers can talk with an auction representative with questions about the properties and the bidding process.

The auction begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, August 12, at the pavillion at Coshocton Lake Park, 23253 State Route 83 North, Coshocton, Ohio, 43812. Online bidding is available by prior arrangement.

More information is available at or by calling 1-800-451-2709.


AEP Service Corporation

Joyce Martin, 65, Central Operations Center, died May 8.

Appalachian Power Company

Leland Bumgarner, 92, retired, Sporn Plant, died May 26.

Douglas Cooper, 85, retired, Stuart Office, died June 13.

Willie Gardner, 86, retired, Hillsville Service Center, died June 24.

John Hale, 67, retired, Sporn Plant, died June 13.

James Martin, 98, retired, Lynchburg Office, died May 11.

Steven Peay, 64, retired, Kanawha River Plant, died June 22.

Sherri Templeton, 51, retired, Hurricane Call Center, died June 12.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Robert Carr, 69, Conesville Plant, died June 4.

James Chapman Sr., 71, Picway Plant, died June 11.

James McHarg, 80, retired, Athens Service Center, died May 31.

Otis Ross Jr., 66, Columbus Northwest Service Center, died June 5.

Elizabeth Steinmetz, 83, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 16.

Harry Stockman, 81, retired, Columbus Region Office, died June 11.

Mary Watson, 90, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 1.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Michael Brian, 70, One Summit Square, died June 21.

Anthony Krueger, 49, Cook Nuclear Plant, died June 25.

Ivan Mack, 84, retired, Marion Service Center, died June 16.

William Pohlman, 80, retired, Breed Plant, died May 27.

Carroll Runnion, 80, retired, Spy Run Service Center, died June 11.

Leo Smith, 85, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died June 10.

Kentucky Power Company

Jackie Barker, 75, retired, Big Sandy Plant, died June 20.

Auborn Helvey, 93, retired, Pikeville Service Center, died June 4.

Bill Potter, 79, retired, Robert E. Matthews Service Center, died June 23.

Ohio Power Company

Robert Bowe, 77, retired, Canton General Service Center, died June 9.

Willard Brechbuhler, 83, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died June 18.

Randall Flowers, 65, Cambridge Service Center, died June 4.

Lawrence Gaietto, 92, retired, Lima Service Center, died June 2.

Floyd Hanthorn, 91, retired, Lima Service Center, died June 2.

Alma Moffett, 78, retired, Findlay Office, died June 2.

Charles Molyneux, 78, retired, Muskingum River Plant, died June 16.

Tom Stinson, 80, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died May 28.

Clarence Wyatt Jr., 78, retired, Wheeling Service Center, died May 21.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Preston Banta, 88, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 9.

Eugene Fleener, 76, retired, Alsuma Meter & Substation, died June 6.

Rickey Foster, 69, CSW Tulsa, died June 4.

Bernice Friesner, 99, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 28.

Gary Shoemaker, 78, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 3.

Kennith Thompson, 81, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 14.

Texas Central

Venancio De La Garza, 72, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died June 8.

Travis Huff, 87, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died May 30.

Bruce Miller, 88, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died May 27.

Marvin Mussman, 86, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died June 21.

June Retirements

AEP Ohio

Jay Dinges, Cambridge Service Center, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

James Frank, Canton General Service Center, retired June 17 after 40 years of service.

Rhonda Todd, Zanesville Service Center retired June 1 after 38 years of service.

Lewis Wolfe, Lima Service Center, retired June 1 after 39 years of service.

AEP River Transportation Division

Deborah Workman, River Transportation Division, retired June 27 after 10 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Randall Garner, AEP Headquarters, retired June 17 after 41 years of service.

Dennis Greer, Arena Building, retired June 1 after 16 years of service.

Caroline Rose, AEP Headquarters, retired June 2 after 34 years of service.

Teresa Welsh, AEP Headquarters, retired June 2 after 39 years of service.

John Wilson, Home Worksite-Texas, retired June 1 after 28 years of service.

Gregory Wright, AEP Headquarters, retired June 23 after 44 years of service.

AEP Texas

Grant Ehlen, Corpus Christi Office, retired June 24 after 27 years of service.

Luis Villagomez, Corpus Christi Office, retired June 10 after 12 years of service.

Juan Villarreal, Pharr North Service Center, retired June 1 after 29 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company

Robert Bell, Christiansburg Service Center, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

David Clatworthy, Point Pleasant Service Center, retired June 1 after 32 years of service.

Roger Covey, North Charleston Service Center, retired June 1 after 32 years of service.

Anita Deem, Central Machine Shop, retired June 1 after 33 years of service.

James Gilbert, Kingsport Service Center, retired June 24 after 38 years of service.

Randy McClanahan, Central Machine Shop, retired June 29 after 40 years of service.

Willie McKinney Jr., Pineville Service Center, retired June 6 after 35 years of service.

Jack Miller, Pearisburg Service Center, retired June 1 after 32 years of service.

David Oliver, Roanoke Main Office, retired June 30 after 35 years of service.

Jimmy Wagoner, Pulaski Service Center, retired June 1 after 41 years of service.


Paul Carteaux, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired June 1 after 36 years of service.

David Francis, Mitchell Plant, retired June 1 after 40 years of service.

Mark Gillilan, Sporn Plant, retired June 1 after 35 years of service.

Charles Johnson, Amos Plant, retired June 10 after 11 years of service.

Wy Sharp, Amos Plant, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

Stephen Watkins, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired June 6 after 27 years of service.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Steven Bischoff, Buchanan Nuclear Office, retired June 14 after 17 years of service.

Douglas Hill, Northeast Service Center, retired June 1 after 26 years of service.

Darlene Jacobs, Marion Service Center, retired June 20 after 28 years of service.

Lance Vencel, Lawrenceburg Office, retired June 3 after 40 years of service.

Marc Wiederwax, Cook Material Center, retired June 1 after 42 years of service.

Kentucky Power Company

Donald Jackson, Pikeville Service Center, retired June 1 after 41 years of service.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Joella Ford, Tulsa General Office, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

Tony Wilson, North Division Operations Center, retired June 27 after 20 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Larry Crawford, Carthage Office, retired June 1 after 31 years of service.

Randal Fuller, Dolet Hills Lignite Mine, retired June 1 after 32 years of service.

Phillip Watkins, Fayetteville Operations, retired June 3 after 27 years of service.


Perry Brown, Tulsa General Office, retired June 1 after 24 years of service.

Wayne Gravesen, Longview Operations, retired June 17 after 36 years of service.

Matthew Leas, Spy Run Service Center, retired June 1 after 29 years of service.

William Lowe Jr., Kingsport Service Center, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

Mark Pogany, Transmission Operations Center, retired June 15 after 28 years of service.

John Skidmore, North Charleston Transmission Service Center, retired June 1 after 42 years of service.


Eldredge Presented Chairman’s Life Saving Award For Fiery Car Wreck Rescue

At right, Shawn Eldredge, network apprentice 3rd Year, receives the Chairman’s Life Saving Award from Paul Chodak, executive vice president – AEP Utilities. Eldredge was presented the award before a gathering of his co-workers at PSO’s Mid Metro Service Center in Tulsa.

(Story by Ed Bettinger)

Shawn Eldredge, network apprentice 3rd Year for Public Service Company of Oklahoma, received the Chairman’s Life Saving Award July 10 from [Paul Chodak], executive vice president – AEP Utilities. Eldredge was recognized for his part in the rescue of several people from two burning vehicles December 22.

After completing his PSO duties that da,y Eldredge was working in the garage at his rural home west of Sapulpa, Okla. It was early evening and he expected his wife home at any moment.

Out on Highway 33, a two-lane road about a quarter-mile distant, the scattered evening traffic sailed by at a steady pace.

The tranquil scene was abruptly shattered by the sounds of crunching metal and squealing brakes.

Eldredge bolted from his garage and ran to the highway, fearing that his wife might’ve been involved in a car wreck just as she was getting home.

Reaching the road he found not his wife’s vehicle, but a three-car accident. One vehicle was lying on its side and another was erupting in flames. Worse, both of those vehicles were still occupied.

Eldredge ran to the burning car where a Creek County sheriff’s deputy, who’d happened upon the scene, was trying to remove the driver. Learning that the deputy did not have a fire extinguisher in his car, Eldredge sprinted to his home, grabbed two of his own extinguishers, and dashed back. As he sprayed one extinguisher to knock down the fire, the deputy and another passerby smashed out the car’s windshield and got the driver to safety.

Meanwhile, the car that had been knocked onto its side burst into flames. Eldredge, the deputy and others on the scene rushed to remove its occupants. As Eldredge expended the last of his fire extinguishers’ contents, the group of helpers pulled everyone in the car to safety.

State troopers said witnesses reported seeing a car swerving as it headed west and suddenly hit another car, which rolled over several times. There were four people inside.

The original car kept going until it hit an SUV with five people inside.

A number of people were hospitalized for their injuries. Several small children were in the vehicles.

Eldredge said that neither he nor any of the others who helped at the scene would consider themselves to be “heroes”.

“I’m pretty confident that about anybody would’ve done the same thing. It’s just something you do,” he said. “There were quite a few people just doing what they could do to help.”

Eldredge, who is a 16-year employee, served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps before coming to work at PSO. He and his wife, Allison, are the parents of a young daughter.

Ashley retires after 50 years of service

(Story by Larry Jones)

AEP Texas External Affairs Manager Harold Ashley (center in photo above) listens as Vice President of External Affairs Julio Reyes (left) and Manager of External Affairs and Customer Service Ken Griffin (right) present him with the traditional retirement “meter lamp.” Ashley was recognized for his 50 years of service during a retirement reception in Fulton, Texas.

Prior to his retirement, Ashley was the third longest tenured employee throughout American Electric Power. He began his career working as a lineman trainee for the former Central Power and Light Company in Sinton, Texas. His first day was spent repairing an underground streetlight circuit in nearby Taft. Back then, that meant he learned how to use a shovel.

He and his family moved six times throughout his career in a variety of jobs before moving to Rockport in 1985 as local manager where he remained for the following 32 years. During that time, he assumed responsibility for Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Ingleside, in addition to Fulton, Lamar and Holiday Beach.

Ashley has been very active in his communities, and the retirement reception was attended by many area leaders, as well as co-workers, other retirees, family members and friends.

Cook ‘Makes it Snow’ for Christmas in June Food Drive

Volunteers from Cook Nuclear Plant and United Way staff celebrate Cook’s successful drive to help refill local food pantries.

(Story by Ashlie M. Guyberson)

Sometimes, you need a little snow in June. This past June 21 was a day for action, a day for community, and a day for dreams coming true with some much-needed summer snow thanks to Cook Plant.

As in many communities, the local food pantries in Southwest Michigan often see themselves fully stocked in the winter months when charity tends to peak. However when summer hits and winter supplies run out, those same food pantries find it challenging to keep shelves stocked, leaving low-income, hard-working families with very few options.

After receiving requests from several local food pantries that were running low on summer supplies, the United Way of Southwest Michigan (UWSM) organized a “Christmas in June” Day of Action to collect as many of those much-needed supplies as possible. They reached out to local businesses asking for help, and help they received! Thirty-seven local businesses, including AEP’s Cook Plant, answered the call to refill the food pantries of Berrien and Cass counties in Michigan.

In conjunction with their 75th anniversary in operation, the UWSM Team asked businesses to collect items in groups of 75 during the month leading up to the June 21 Day of Action. Wish list items included household necessities like laundry soap, toothbrushes and deodorant, as well as non-perishable staples like flour, sugar, and even ramen noodles. With that list in hand, Nuclear Fuels Group Administrative Assistant Jamie Kraft and Nuclear Specialists Cathy Deau and Joe Tanko immediately took the lead for Cook and put out the call to the site to start bringing in items. And the response came fast and furious from all areas of the organization.

“It’s overwhelming the amount of support Cook and AEP folks give by jumping right in to support our community,” Deau said. “Jamie, Joe and I coordinated the campaign by sending emails to our co-workers encouraging them to donate. And they really came through.”

Soon, the number of items began to pile up, along with a little friendly competition between departments and business groups.

Jim Petro, Design Engineering director, was extremely vocal encouraging employees at Cook’s Buchanan facility to step up and support the effort. Ted Dey, Design Engineering supervisor, echoed Jim’s encouragement and issued a challenge offering a pizza party to the department collecting the most items. With that incentive, a small subgroup of the Design Engineering Department of just eight people, led by Designer Supervisor Mike Richards, brought in over 2,000 items, winning the challenge, and bringing Cook’s Buchanan Office contributions to over 4,500 items alone.

That’s when Deau revealed she had a dream of collecting 7,500 items in honor of the United Way’s 75th anniversary. Could it really happen?

Counting the items the day before the event, Deau and Kraft got goosebumps when they realized how close they were: 7,200 items. Not quite there. So Deau asked if anyone in the immediate counting area wanted to pitch in some extra cash to help buy the remaining 300 items. The money came, a store run took place, and Deau’s dream became a reality.

Charlotte Rogers, coordinator for the United Way of Southwest Michigan, praised all the folks at Cook Plant for their support of the campaign.

“AEP and the folks at Cook are amazing,” she said. “All of this wouldn’t be possible without them. Their overall support, organization, and willingness to help are just incredible. Jamie, Cathy, and Joe were great leaders, AND cheerleaders.”

“We were just so overwhelmed with how Cook Plant stepped up,” Kraft said of her co-leaders and co-workers. “In the end, we were shocked – but maybe not necessarily surprised — to find out that Cook contributed half of what all 37 business organizations collected combined.”

Overall, those 37 businesses collected more than 15,000 items that went to 23 different food pantries in Berrien and Cass Counties in Southwest Michigan.

A merry Christmas in June? “Snow big deal…”

Indiana Michigan Power Electric Pole Becomes an Unusual Gift

From left: Bill Downey, Nuclear communications consultant senior;  Mark Robinson, I&M Community Affairs manager; Andrew Berlin, owner of the South Bend Cubs; Joshwa Scheibelhut, Safety and Health coordinator, South Bend/Elkhart District; Trent Teshka, line mechanic A, South Bend. Photo by: Nicole Teshka

(Story by Tracy Warner)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The present – a baseball bat – might not seem to be an unusual gift to give the owner of a baseball team. But the bat Indiana Michigan Power employees presented the owner of the South Bend Cubs baseball team recently was anything but normal.

Here, with apologies to Paul Harvey, is the rest of the story.

Andrew Berlin, owner of South Bend Cubs, did not like the look of an I&M utility pole outside over the left field wall outside Four Winds Field, the South Bend ballpark where the Cubs play. When Berlin broke ground on an upscale apartment complex outside of left field, the plans included removal of the pole.

When the pole came out, Mark Robinson, I&M Community Affairs manager for South Bend/Elkhart, arranged for the pole to be delivered to his house. Mark worked on the pole in his woodshop to make a baseball bat from it.

A baseball bat that is 9½ feet long.

On Saturday, April 17, before the opening pitch of the home game against the Lake County Captains, several Indiana Michigan employees and their families were present to present Berlin with the baseball bat. The presentation was to show appreciation for Berlin’s personal investment of over $32 million dollars in the South Bend community, which has created hundreds of jobs.

“This is one big bat!” Berlin said. “We are thrilled to be in South Bend, we are thrilled to invest in South Bend . . . and I can’t thank Indiana Michigan Power enough for your support. Thank you!”

Picway retirees are among military veterans on recent Honor Flight

Veterans Cy Stickel and Harold “Butch” O’Brian at Washington, D.C. Both are Picway Plant retirees.

Two former co-workers from AEP’s retired Picway Plant spent a day of honor and celebration along with 85 other senior veterans. Cy Stickel and Harold “Butch” O’Brian were on the June 10 Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to the men and women who served in America’s armed forces.

Stickel served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. He served as a medic, driver, company clerk and infantryman from March 1943 to January 1, 1946. O’Brian served as a U.S. Marine Corps rifleman in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970.

Both are AEP retirees. Stickel worked at Picway Plant, in Lockbourne, Ohio, from 1946 to 1984 as a shift supervisor. O’Brian was plant manager at Picway from 1986 to 1991 and held several Generation Engineering positions until his retirement in 2010.

O’Brian is also a volunteer at Honor Flight Columbus. He has helped in a number of ways including being a guardian on earlier flights, accompanying senior veterans.

“It is a lot different being honored than helping in the honoring,” O’Brian explained. “Both are rewarding, but the focus is so different. As an honoree, I had time to reflect on those service years during the trip. Being there with about 60 other Vietnam vets, including 36 Purple Heart recipients, is not easy to describe. We shared a lot.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington has more than 58,000 names of men and women who died in that war.

Stickel enjoyed his visit to the World War II Memorial, which opened in 2004. It pays tribute to those who have been called “The Greatest Generation” and won the war to protect democracy in America and across much of Europe.

“Having strangers come up and shake my hand, even giving little hugs while thanking me is a feeling that cannot be described,” Stickel said.

Honor Flight Columbus provides one-day trips to central Ohio’s senior veterans at no cost to the veteran. The June 10 flight was the 82nd trip made by the organization. Nearly 5,000 veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War have been on this trip of honor and celebration.

— Contributed by retiree Roger Dyer

Making a Difference

Jeff Hancock (left) works out of the company’s Rocky Mount office. Jeff Richards is based in Roanoke. Photo courtesy of Tom Woodford.

(Story by Teresa Hall)

LYNCHBURG, Va. — An elderly Virginia man got the critical medical help he needed thanks to two observant Roanoke District employees. The workers’ story is one that not only demonstrates the power of teamwork, but also the caring side of Appalachian Power employees.

Jeff Hancock, MRO servicer II, was preparing to work a disconnect and mentioned the account to his colleague, Jeff Richards, a fellow MRO Servicer II.

Richards was familiar with the customer and told Hancock that he was elderly and possibly suffering from dementia.

When Hancock got to the Bedford County residence, he talked with the customer about his bill. “I deduced from the conversation that he did not fully understand what I was talking to him about,” Hancock said.

The man’s wife, who also was present in the home, did not seem to understand what was happening either. Hancock was deeply concerned about the couple’s health and safety, so he decided not to disconnect service and to seek help instead.

Hancock spotted the couple’s neighbors working outside and approached them about the situation.

“I was able to obtain contact information for the couple’s daughter and called her,” Hancock said. “She was thankful and informed me she would be on the way from D.C.

“She did not know things had gotten as bad as they were and was thankful for our help in letting her know and not disconnecting their electric service. She was able to settle the account and, more importantly, address the health concerns of her father,” Hancock said.

Later, Hancock ensured that a note was attached to the account and contacted Richards, who reached out to Tom Woodford, customer services account representative senior.  Woodford followed up with the daughter the next day to ensure she had everything she needed.

“This is clearly a situation where these guys were focused on doing the right thing,” said Woodford, who shared the employees’ story at a recent Nick’s Network meeting. “Jeff Hancock and Jeff Richards didn’t have to go the extra mile, but they did. And their actions made a difference in the lives of this couple and family, and demonstrated what it truly means to embrace the customer experience.”