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Students Give Flint Creek Tree Farm a Spring Planting

Scott Carney (left) of Flint Creek Power Plant with Wendy Jackson, agriculture teacher at Gentry High School, at the power plant’s tree farm.

(Story by Peter Main)

The tree farm at Flint Creek Power Plant in Gentry, Ark., got a springtime burst of new growth when local high school students recently planted 1,000 trees into containers.

The trees are destined for transplant to riparian areas to stabilize stream banks, help retain nutrients and improve water quality. Flint Creek hosts the tree farm as part of the company’s support for the Illinois River Watershed Partnership. The watershed covers parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma. It includes Little Flint Creek and SWEPCO Lake, the plant’s cooling reservoir.

Scott Carney, Flint Creek Plant environmental coordinator, leads the tree farm effort and also serves on the IRWP board of directors.

Led by teacher Wendy Jackson, about 85 students from five agriculture classes at nearby Gentry High School helped renew the stock in the tree farm. They planted the seedlings and cuttings in tall, compact containers that are placed in metal racks built by Flint Creek employees.

Carney said the new containers take up less space and should grow better than larger round containers often seen at nurseries. The 1,000 seedlings fit in about the same space as 500 trees in the larger containers last year, which makes watering by the tree farm sprinkler system more effective.

Species planted April 15 included Chinkapin Oak, Persimmon, River Birch, Sycamore, PawPaw, Sandbar Willow cuttings, Smooth Sumac, Buttonbush , Roughleaf Dogwood, Witchhazel and Baldcypress.

Obituaries

AEP River Transportation Division

Michael Barnaby, 50, Paducah Training Center, died March 4.

Thelma Fleming, 87, retired, AEP River Operations-Paducah, died March 11.

Roger Johnson, 71, retired, River Transportation Division, died Feb. 28.

AEP Service Corporation

Alma Jarrell, 78, retired, died Feb. 23.

Milton Jury, 88, retired, AEP Headquarters, died March 1.

Robert Nickerson, 89, retired, died March 28.

Ellis Sult, 81, retired, died March 10.

AEP Texas

Richard Moon, 74, Coleto Creek Plant, died March 9.

Maria Mora, 63, Corpus Christi Office, died March 12.

Moises Ortiz, 78, retired, T&D Operations, died Feb. 16.

Robert Tiner, 83, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died March 11.

Rene Venecia, 77, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died March 26.

Conrado Ybarra, 85, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died March 2.

Appalachian Power Company

Mildred Bishop, 98, retired, Bluefield (W.Va.) Office, died March 12.

Archie Blevins, 72, retired, Marion Office, died March 3.

Edna Bone, 89, retired, Bluefield (W.Va.) Office, died March 14.

Mary Davis, 86, retired, Logan Service Center, died March 7.

Samuel Hylton Jr., 83, retired, Grundy Service Center, died March 4.

Sattis Landis, 81, retired, Huntington Service Center, died March 3.

Robert Trent, 77, retired, Abingdon Service Center, died Feb. 28.

Columbus Southern Power Company

George Brown, 83, retired, 850 Tech Center, died March 20.

Richard Douglas, 75, retired, Athens Service Center, died Feb. 23.

Hershel Green, 84, retired, Minerva Annex, died March 11.

Stanley Johnson, 87, retired, 850 Tech Center, died March 8.

Kennol Knight Jr., 75, retired, Columbus Underground Line, died Feb. 27.

Richard McNamee, 77, retired, Columbus Underground Line, died March 8.

Richard Nisley, 91, retired, Athens Service Center, died March 12.

Phyllis White, 85, retired, 850 Tech Center, died Feb. 24.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Joyce Kime, 91, retired, St. Joseph Service Center, died March 18.

Steven Trog, 56, Tanners Creek Plant, died March 13.

Charles Weist, 81, retired, One Summit Square, died March 21.

Darrell Wilson, 90, retired, One Summit Square, died March 2.

Kentucky Power Company

Janet Delong, 78, retired, Ashland Office, died March 6.

Ohio Power Company

Billy Bacome, 86, retired, Lima Service Center, died March 12.

Harold Baisden, 85, retired, Lancaster Office Building, died March 7.

Charles Godfrey, 69, Canton South Service Center, died March 1.

Gary Kennedy, 66, Kenton Service Center, died March 10.

Charles Lester, 92, retired, Kammer Plant, died Feb. 16.

William Plumly, 87, retired, Steubenville Service Center, died March 8.

Gerald Quigley, 73, retired, Kammer Plant, died March 2.

Alfred Swearingen Jr., 84, retired, Cardinal Plant, died Feb. 28.

Maynard Swingle, 82, retired, Muskingum River Plant, died March 16.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Tommy Clinton, 77, retired, Henryetta Office, died March 5.

Nancy Dunn, 76, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 4.

Teddy Horton, 86, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 20.

Lealand Jones, 85, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 17.

Roy Paxson, 87, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 7.

Robert Perry, 87, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 16.

W.D. Sherwin, 85, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 27.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Mark Phillips, 53, Texarkana Operations, died March 5.

Bobby Whitaker, 80, retired, Shreveport General Office, died March 7.

March Retirements

AEP Ohio

Tim Dummermuth, New Philadelphia Service Center, retired March 1 after 26 years of service.

Tamara Lauthers, Bucyrus Service Center, retired March 30 after 30 years of service.

Jan Masterson, Energy Delivery Headquarters-Gahanna, retired March 2 after 43 years of service.

Vikki Michalski, Energy Delivery Headquarters-Gahanna, retired March 25 after 20 years of service.

Tracy Miles, Lima Service Center, retired March 1 after 34 years of service.

Dale Ross, Zanesville Service Center, retired March 25 after 28 years of service.

Thomas Ruff, Cambridge Service Center, retired March 18 after 26 years of service.

Joe Sharb, Athens Service Center, retired March 4 after 15 years of service.

Laura Wilson, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired March 4 after 19 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Terry Herdman, AEP Headquarters, retired March 2 after 33 years of service.

Robert Lovelace, AEP Headquarters, retired March 31 after 43 years of service.

James Purdy, AEP Headquarters, retired March 1 after 42 years of service.

AEP Texas

Carroll Etheredge, Central Division Bureau-Victoria, retired March 4 after 40 years of service.

Elgin Janssen, Victoria Service Center, retired March 25 after 49 years of service.

Margaret Mestas, Corpus Christi Office, retired March 31 after 31 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company

Deborah Duncan, Roanoke Main Office, retired March 23 after 44 years of service.

Beverly Roberts, Hico Service Center, retired March 18 after 30 years of service.

Deloris Williams, Central Machine Shop, retired March 27 after 40 years of service.

Generation

Victor Alexander, Welsh Plant, retired March 11 after 39 years of service.

Michael Backus, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired March 1 after 29 years of service.

Tommy Collins, Welsh Plant, retired March 25 after 37 years of service.

Richard Corbitt, Flint Creek Plant, retired March 2 after 10 years of service.

Randy Rose, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired March 25 after 30 years of service.

Mark Sammons, Arsenal Hill Plant, retired March 11 after 38 years of service.

Harold Shirley, Dolet Hills Lignite Mine, retired March 31 after 19 years of service.

Robert Workman, Mountaineer Plant, retired March 1 after 39 years of service.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Michael Rittenhouse, Muncie Service Center, retired March 21 after 26 years of service.

Kentucky Power Company

James Amburgey, Hazard Service Center, retired March 1 after 29 years of service.

Belinda Stacy, Kentucky State Office, retired March 1 after 30 years of service.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Paul Burris, Tulsa General Office, retired March 21 after 34 years of service.

John Price, Tulsa General Office, retired March 1 after 33 years of service.

Earl Shackelford, McAlester Operations Center, retired March 25 after 17 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Hubert McDougald, Mineola Office, retired March 4 after 37 years of service.

Debbie Prakop, Shreveport Office, retired March 1 after 29 years of service.

Jack Regal, Fayetteville Operations, retired March 16 after 37 years of service.

Tom Russell Jr., Longview Operations, retired March 17 after 24 years of service.

Peter Stoll, Longview Operations, retired March 2 after 36 years of service.

Transmission

James Ehman, Chillicothe Transmission/Telecom, retired March 2 after 36 years of service.

Customer Describes APCo Contractor as ‘One in a Million’

Pat O’Connor, left, rescued George and Marla Blanks after several of their appliances were damaged at their Lynchburg, Va., home.

(Story by Teresa Hall)

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Marla Blanks is an unassuming Lynchburg, Va., great-grandmother with a heart-warming tale about a recent experience she had with an Appalachian Power contractor. Hers is a story she is willing to share as an example of how to treat a customer.

“He’s one in a million to us, and your company is blessed to have him,” said Blanks as she described Asplundh Supervisor Pat O’Connor, while pointing to the new appliances in her kitchen. “I think he did a wonderful thing.”

In late February, Blanks and her husband, George, lost power to their home while an Asplundh crew was cutting a large dead oak tree adjacent to their house.

The Blanks reported the problem to Appalachian Power, and Line Servicer A.J. Chisom arrived and discovered a broken neutral wire. He suspected that as the tree was cut, a limb or branch contacted the service drop and damaged the neutral. Chisom fixed the wire, and service was restored in the afternoon.

About an hour later, the Blanks discovered their stove, microwave, coffee maker and cordless phones weren’t working, and called the power company. Chisom returned to the couple’s home and confirmed the damage. The Blanks did not have a way to heat their food. A concerned Chisom contacted APCo Claims Adjuster Peggy Wysong.

Wysong would process and send the damage claim to Asplundh, but she knew that reimbursement could take some time. Because the Blanks were an older couple and possibly living on a fixed income, Wysong didn’t know if they had the financial means to purchase new appliances and await reimbursement. After receiving a damage claim order, Wysong sent an email to O’Connor that noted her concern.

Marla Blanks with her new microwave and stove.

Unable to reach the Blanks on their damaged home phone, O’Connor drove to the couple’s house. When he saw a wheelchair ramp leading to the front porch and met the Blanks, he said his gut told him what to do.

“I asked Mrs. Blanks if I could take her shopping so that she could cook a hot meal that night,” said O’Connor. He and a stunned Marla Blanks soon set out for the store. “I didn’t know companies were willing to treat customers like this,” said Blanks, who used a wheelchair to navigate while shopping.

Once she picked out the new appliances, O’Connor paid for the items and they were loaded onto his truck. Back at the house, O’Connor and the Blanks’ son carried the new appliances inside and lifted the old ones onto O’Connor’s truck.

Blanks smiled when asked about the care and compassion shown by O’Connor that day. “We’re in our 70s and 80s,” she said. “What he did for us was beyond the call of duty; how quickly he got it done, and I bless him for it.”

Before he left the Blanks’ home that February evening, O’Connor said the couple asked him why he would go to such great lengths to take care of them. He said he explained that this is how you treat a customer. “I told them that our customer is APCo, and that APCo values and cares about its customers.”

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

 

(Story by Bailey Cultice)

More than 35,000 people died in traffic accidents on U.S. roadways in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and distracted driving played a role in 10 percent of those deaths.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so now is a perfect time to re-evaluate our behavior behind the wheel. Take a moment to consider which of the following tasks could be considered distracted driving:

  • Reaching for your cell phone
  • Grabbing your coffee mug from the center console
  • Picking up the pencil that just fell on the floorboard
  • Adjusting controls in your vehicle (such as mirrors, seats, air conditioning, radio)

 

If you answered “all of the above,” you are correct! According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in while operating a motor vehicle. Such activities have the potential to distract the person from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.

Last year, driving safety became a central concern at AEP after two employees were involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. Prior to these incidents, AEP had gone four years without losing an employee on the job and is working to return to that standard.

The week of April 10, employees from across the company will gather to develop ideas and streamline recommendations to improve driving safety throughout AEP. A special kickoff event will be held at the 1 Riverside Plaza Conferencing Center on Monday, April 10.  It will feature a keynote speech from Dom Tiberi, a sportscaster in Columbus, Ohio. Tiberi launched a campaign to end distracted driving after his daughter was killed in 2013 in a distracted driving accident.

AEP’s Outstanding Women: Sara Vestfals

Sara Vestfals

AEP is featuring a series of Q&A articles in March – Women’s History Month — to recognize some of the exceptional women in our work force and among our suppliers. This story features Sara Vestfals, who is Wilkes/Lone Star Power Plant manager in Avinger, Texas.

Vestfals started her AEP career in 2005 as Welsh Plant systems owner, and in 2007 was named to a plant’s maintenance supervisor position. In 2010 she transferred to Wilkes/Lone Star Power Plant as maintenance supervisor. She took her current role in 2016.  She holds a mechanical engineering degree from LeTourneau University, and is certified as a Professional Engineer in the state of Texas.

Q: How did you become interested in your career choice?

A: Growing up, I tended to gravitate more towards subjects that were heavy in math and science. I liked the designing and problem solving aspects that the engineering field offered and the potential of doing field work versus being in an office all day.

Q: What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction/fulfillment and why?

A: The part of my job that gives me the most satisfaction is finding solutions and continuously trying to make things better.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you have faced and overcome in your career at AEP?

A: The biggest challenge I have faced so far in my career was my transition from Welsh to Wilkes. Wilkes had a new person coming into each supervisor role at that time. Everyone was on a steep learning curve and we had to learn it together. That, coupled with multiple unit issues, made it feel like you were barely keeping your head above the water most of the time.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge for young women entering the workforce today?

A: The truth of the matter is that there are still not a lot of females pursuing STEM related careers. I believe for engineering, women make up less than 20 percent of the career field. There is a lot of opportunity for women in engineering fields.

Q: Have you had a role model or mentor earlier in your career or when in school?

A: Fortunately, I’ve had the benefit of working with a lot of great people in SWEPCO and AEP. I have benefited greatly from people who have invested the time to teach and to make me better than I am. I truly believe that you are a product of your surroundings. When you are surrounded by great people, it pushes you to want to improve.

Q: Who was your role model/mentor and how did they impact your career?

A: Growing up, my parents made the most impact on me. They taught me the importance of a strong work ethic. They didn’t do this with hours of lecture. Instead, they showed us (two other siblings) by setting the example. They taught us if you wanted something in life worth having, you have to be willing to work for it, and they lived it.

I also played sports growing up. Sports taught me a lot about self-discipline and team work, and were a huge part of my life even through college. I’m a believer that involvement in sports or other school activities gives you an opportunity to learn so many “life lessons” if you are willing to pay attention.

Q: How is your career field different now than it was when you started, especially for women in your field? What things have improved, and what needs more work?

A: There are more women in supervisor positions now at the plants. I don’t recall hardly any when I first hired on. However, there still aren’t that many women interested in the plant type careers.

Q: What’s the best career advice you have ever been given, or that you have learned from your experience?

A: Never stop learning. There is something to be learned every day. If you aren’t willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. And, you may not always be right, but you can always be fair.

Q: What advice would you give early to mid-career women to encourage them to stay and succeed in their careers?

A: The only difference between a person who fails and a person who succeeds is that the person who succeeds was willing to hang on just a little bit longer.

 

Walk Your Way to a Healthier Life

Walking is one of the easiest steps you can take to improve your health. It also has many benefits.

You can get active in lots of ways, but walking is one of the easiest steps you can take to improve your health. It’s also one of the safest, least expensive and most sustainable forms of exercise.

For such a simple activity, it has so many benefits! According to the American Heart Association, research has shown that walking at least 30 minutes a day can help you:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes;
  • Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels;
  • Prevent weight gain and lower the risk of obesity;
  • Improve your mental well-being;
  • Increase your energy and stamina; and
  • Reduce your risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer and colon cancer.

 

For every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy for some people may increase by two hours. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.

It’s not all or nothing; it’s step by step.

Maybe you haven’t been active for a while. No problem. Just get started, even if it’s only a few minutes a day at first. Set a reachable goal just for today. Then you can work toward your overall goal of 150 minutes a week or more as you get in better shape. Gradually increase your time or distance each week.

Traditionally, the first Wednesday in April has been designated as National Walking Day — make this day the start of your walking journey if it’s been awhile since you have walked regularly. If it’s easier on your body and your schedule, you can split up your walks into 10 or 15 minutes each — every step counts.

All you have to do is lace up with a comfortable pair of shoes and walk. It’s that easy!

AEP Updates TV Campaign

The commercials, featuring original music, are tailored for each operating company.

(Story by Betsy Sewell)

AEP is bringing Boundless Energy to life this week with the launch of updated commercials on local cable and television networks across its service territory. The ads feature existing footage, but convey a new message.

“As we launch our new brand, we want to acknowledge our history while also expressing to the public our excitement for the future,” said Teresa McWain, director, AEP Corporate Communications.

The commercials, featuring original music, are tailored for each operating company. They highlight footage of the local communities as well as some of the employees from the existing ads, and the voiceover gives a nod to the unique qualities of the different regions within AEP’s footprint. The overall theme of the ads is one of togetherness and improving communities and lives.

“The spots tie in really well to AEP’s new vision of powering a new and brighter future for our customers and communities,” said McWain. “The goal is to convey our new position and brand to our customers as a bit of a teaser, prior to creating a new campaign later this year.”

Commercials began airing on local cable and television networks March 27. Ads also will begin running in local newspapers April 9, but will use the existing campaign updated with new logos. The teaser commercials will continue to air through the summer in rotation with the current ad campaign. A new integrated campaign is expected to launch in the fall.

 

AEP’s Outstanding Women: Krystal Hernandez

Krystal Hernandez

AEP is featuring a series of Q&A articles in March – Women’s History Month — to recognize some of the exceptional women in our workforce and among our suppliers. This story features AEP Texas employee Krystal Hernandez, Customer Design manager in Pharr, Texas.  

When Krystal Hernandez started working as a contractor for AEP Texas in 2008, she had no idea where her new journey would lead. But true to her form, Hernandez held steadfast to her faith.

Hernandez, who graduated from the University of Texas Pan American (now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) in 2007 with a degree in mechanical engineering, became a full-time employee in 2012.

In April of 2016, Hernandez made another move as she was named Customer Design manager for the Rio Grande Valley District, overseeing 20 employees. Hernandez said transitioning from being an engineer to a manager was a challenge at first but one that was made easier with the help of her team.

“This job is about being a team player and helping each other accomplish our jobs,” Hernandez said. “I get the most satisfaction and fulfillment out of my role when I can lead by example, coach and help develop my group.”

Outside of her job, Hernandez has been part of a ministry that goes into nursing homes and sings and shares the gospel with residents for the past seven years. She’s also volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters since 2015.

Q: How did you become interested in your career choice?

A: I was always interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field as a child and throughout my educational career. I also enjoyed being challenged with problem-solving situations. To me, engineering captured all the above.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge for young women entering the workforce today?

A: The biggest challenge for young women entering the workforce today is that it’s a male-dominated field.  Slowly but surely, however, more women are stepping up to pursue STEM-related careers.

Q: Have you had a role model or mentor earlier in your career or when in school?

A: All my engineering professors cared and showed interest in their students, in particular Dr. Karen Lozano. After taking a class with her, she immediately offered me a job to perform research in her Plastics Lab, where I worked for four years. I also have the honor to work with great people at AEP Texas who dedicated their time to my continuous development.

Krystal Hernandez and Clemente Garza, technician principal in Customer Design, review plan documents.

Also, I have to say my role models and my mentors have been and are still my PARENTS. They have given me their unconditional love and support throughout my career. Growing up they weren’t as fortunate to pursue a higher education due to economic barriers. They’ve taught me to never give up and pursue my dreams and that you will never know until you take that leap of faith. The words that my parents always mentioned are, “Never stop learning. Education is very important. Take advantage of the opportunities you have. Always place God first in everything you plan and do.”

Q: How is your career field different now than it was when you started, especially for women in your field? What things have improved, and what needs more work?

A: As a manager I’m responsible for leading and serving a group of employees. Since I’ve been with AEP Texas, this is the first time I recall a woman holding a manager’s position in Customer Design. This is a great accomplishment and proof to other women that it’s not impossible.

Q: What’s the best career advice you have ever been given, or that you have learned from your experience?

A: The best career advice I’ve been given is to always remain humble and ready to learn. You never know where your career may lead you.

Q: What advice would you give early to mid-career women to encourage them to stay and succeed in their careers?

A: The road may seem bumpy at times, but eventually it pays off through perseverance and effort.

AEP’s Outstanding Women: Carla Simpson

Carla Simpson

AEP  is featuring a series of Q&A articles in March – Women’s History Month — to recognize some of the exceptional women in our workforce and among our suppliers. This story features Carla Simpson, who is director of Employee Education & Growth at Indiana Michigan Power. 

Simpson started her career at I&M as a clerk/cashier in 1988, and was an office clerk until 1996. She was promoted to Customer Service supervisor NE in 1996, administrative associate for Business Services in 1998, Meter Revenue Operations administrator in 2000, budget analyst in 2004, manager of Meter Revenue Operations in 2008 and director of Business Operations Support in 2010. She assumed her current role in 2016.

She holds an Associate degree in Applied Business, Business Administration, The University of Northwestern Ohio (2003), and Bachelor of Science degree, Business Administration, The University of Northwestern Ohio (2005). Simpson also has certification from The Ohio State University Executive Education, and has completed training in AEP Targeted Development Program for Mid-Level Managers, ELI Leadership Lab for Women, and Senn Delaney Leadership Training.

She is involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Lunch Buddy Program, Junior Achievement, and has had a leadership role in Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity, including traveling to El Salvador in 2012 to help build several houses. She has also been involved in United Way Day of Caring, United Way Read Program, and Study Connection at Abbet Elementary School. She is a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) and supports Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals (WiNUP).

Q: How did you become interested in your career choice?

A: I had, and continue to have, a passion to help the company be successful by helping those who work here be successful.

Q: Please use four adjectives to describe yourself in your role at AEP.

A: Energy, Excitement, Passion, Engagement.

Q: What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction/fulfillment and why?

A: The most satisfaction comes from identifying and implementing processes and/or changes that have a positive impact and are beneficial to AEP/I&M, employees, customers and stakeholders.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you have faced and overcome in your career at AEP?

A: The biggest challenge I have faced as a woman is not being heard at times. Sometimes I can make a suggestion or statement and it is overlooked, but another person may make the same suggestion and be heard. This is a challenge that I have not yet overcome but I am working on it. It sometimes requires me to restate what I said or ask for clarity as to how the other person’s suggestion or statement is different from mine.

Q: What activity outside of work gives you the most satisfaction/fulfillment and why?

A: The most satisfaction comes from the time I spend with my lunch buddy through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. This is a program for kindergartners through fifth grade. I cherish the time we spend together playing board games, encouraging her and reading with her.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge for young women entering the workforce today?

A: I think it’s balancing family or home life with the time needed for your career.

Q: Have you had a role model or mentor earlier in your career or when in school?

A: Yes, I have a few mentors; two relatives, a childhood mentor, and a mentor earlier in my career.

Q: How did your role model/mentor impact your career?

A: My biggest role model was my grandmother, who did not let her race or limited finances define who she was a person. She encouraged me to set goals, work hard to achieve them and not to let race, gender or finances be barriers. She said, “Don’t let things limit you.”

Q: How is your career field different now than it was when you started, especially for women in your field? What things have improved, and what needs more work?

A: The opportunities to move up in the company have increased from when I started my career at AEP in 1988. This industry is still dominated by males and it is difficult at times to have your voice be heard as a woman. There needs to be recognition that blind spots and inherent bias exists. While there is progress being made in removing the “glass ceiling,” there is still work to be done to remove it.

Q: What’s the best career advice you have ever been given, or that you have learned from your experience?

A:  The best advice I have been given is “choose your battles.”  I cannot solve every problem and resolve every issue; therefore I must choose those most important areas to spend my time and energy.

Q: What advice would you give to early to mid-career women to encourage them to stay and succeed in their careers?

A:  To establish priorities and recognize that although you value your career, there needs to be a work-life balance. By having a work-life balance, you will have the energy and focus you need when and where you need it.