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Obituaries

AEP Service Corporation

Charles Harless, 65, AEP Headquarters, died August 28.

Kenneth Sheldon, 86, retired, died August 24.

AEP Texas

Joe Burnham, 89, retired, Abilene General Office, died September 5.

Doris Feldmann, 86, retired, Abilene General Office, died July 31.

Emory Migura, 84, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died September 3.

Joe Smith, 63, Childress Office, died September 2.

Appalachian Power Company

Kenneth Carter, 87, retired, Sporn Plant, died August 24.

Dale Fisher, 86, retired, Smith Mountain Hydro, died August 9.

Gene Gue, 76, retired, Central Machine Shop, died September 21.

Carl Randolph, 67, Mountaineer Plant, died August 27.

Imogene Snyder, 78, Sporn Plant, died August 31.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Kathleen Burk, 90, retired, 850 Tech Center, died September 11.

Guillermo, Cevallos, 74, retired, 825 Tech Center, died August 27.

Marcia Curtiss, 71, retired, 850 Tech Center, died September 2.

Michael Harris, 69, retired, Mound Street Service Center, died August 27.

Stephen Schloss, 70, retired, Athens Service Center, died September 7.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Dorothy Jones, 84, retired, One Summit Square, died September 12.

Emily Miller, 75, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died July 25.

Forrest Odell, 91, retired, South Bend Service Center, died August 28.

Odell Tooks, 88, retired, Spy Run Service Center, died September 14.

Grant Ulm, 90, retired, One Summit Square, died August 30.

Ohio Power Company

Anthony Blatt, 80, retired, Kammer Plant, died July 24.

Fred Cunningham, 84, retired, Southern Ohio Coal Company, died August 13.

Richard Gilcher, 91, retired, Portsmouth Service Center, died September 5.

Donald Hunter, 87, retired, Zanesville Office, died August 9.

Roy Hupp, 79, retired, Muskingum River Plant, died September 20.

Carroll Shoemaker, 84, retired, Lima Office, died August 31.

Constance Strayer, 85, retired, Findlay Office, died August 20.

Paul Tempfer, 93, retired, Lancaster Office Building, died August 20.

Lillian Wilkin, 93, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died July 2.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Clarence Dacus, 86, retired, Tulsa General Office, died August 29.

Steven Garrett, 69, Mid Metro Office, died September 21.

Johnny Smith, 79, retired, Tulsa General Office, died September 2.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Tonya Leone, 46, Shreveport Office, died September 5.

September Retirements

AEP Ohio

Don Abrams, Pomeroy Service Center, retired September 5 after 31 years of service.

Roni Altier, Columbus Southeast Service Center, retired September 1 after 37 years of service.

Gayle Berry, Lucasville Service Center, retired September 1 after 40 years of service.

Stephen Haugh, Tiffin Service Center, retired September 1 after 29 years of service.

Kirk Looser, Lima Service Center, retired September 25 after 38 years of service.

Sandra McCormick, 850 Tech Center, retired September 8 after 14 years of service.

Joseph Myers, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired September 1 after 38 years of service.

Teresa Zarzano, Columbus Southwest Service Center, retired September 12 after 40 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Patrick Bawer, AEP Headquarters, retired September 22 after 41 years of service.

James Brooks, AEP Headquarters, retired September 6 after 38 years of service.

Gary Cain, AEP Headquarters, retired September 29 after 40 years of service.

Doris Cox, John W. Vaughan Center, retired September 1 after 42 years of service.

Kathleen Kozero, AEP Headquarters, retired September 1 after 21 years of service.

Ellis Loughner, AEP Headquarters, retired September 6 after 33 years of service.

Cindy Williams, Columbus Southeast Service Center, retired September 1 after 37 years of service.

Marlene Wilson, McConnelsville Land Management Office, retired September 1 after 40 years of service.

John Woods Jr., AEP Headquarters, retired September 5 after 21 years of service.

AEP Texas

George Briones, Harlingen Area Office, retired September 1 after 28 years of service.

Deborah Franklin, Stamford Office, retired September 1 after 34 years of service.

James Hays, Aransas Pass Service Center, retired September 1 after 34 years of service.

Alvaro Morales, Eagle Pass Service Center, retired September 5 after 26 years of service.

Monte Morrow, Rotan Office, retired September 1 after 33 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company

Delberta Barton, Hurricane Call Center, retired September 1 after 22 years of service.

Garry Simmons, Virginia State Office, retired September 8 after 36 years of service.

Joey Smith, Roanoke Service Building, retired September 25 after 36 years of service.

Brian Stevens, Huntington Service Center, retired September 8 after 34 years of service.

Generation

Danny Crouch, Rockport Plant, retired September 29 after 30 years of service.

Craig Ervin, Amos Plant, retired September 20 after 37 years of service.

Glen Kennedy, Southern Ohio Coal Company, retired September 8 after 40 years of service.

Thomas Marosi, Mitchell Plant, retired September 25 after 34 years of service.

Robert Massey, Amos Plant, retired September 8 after 38 years of service.

Kevin Meinders, Cook Coal Terminal, retired September 24 after 41 years of service.

Clarence Mooney Jr., Mountaineer Plant, retired September 1 after 38 years of service.

Kenneth Posey, Conesville Plant, retired September 5 after 34 years of service.

Ward Rigot, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired September 15 after 10 years of service.

David Smith, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired September 28 after 18 years of service.

Richard Wallace, Conesville Plant, retired September 1 after 39 years of service.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Teresa Walters, Northeast Service Center, retired September 8 after 32 years of service.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Roderick Carter, Idabell Operations, retired September 1 after 33 years of service.

Janell Hunt, Tulsa General Office, retired September 15 after 21 years of service.

Bradley Ryan, Atoka Office, retired September 1 after 35 years of service.

Monte Smith, Tulsa General Office, retired September 5 after 34 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

William Boyd, Shreveport Operations, retired September 25 after 37 years of service.

Cynthia Freeman, Dolet Hills Lignite Company, retired September 11 after 20 years of service.

Gina Taylor, Longview Operations, retired September 1 after 33 years of service.

Robert Wilson Jr., Texarkana Operations, retired September 1 after 48 years of service.

Transmission

Teresa Berliner, AEP Transmission Headquarters, retired September 29 after 33 years of service.

Charles Copley, Belmont Service Center, retired September 7 after 33 years of service.

Charles Kaufman Jr., South Bend Service Center, retired September 1 after 41 years of service.

David Kinton, AEP Transmission Headquarters, retired September 28 after 33 years of service.

Dale Kotolowski, AEP Transmission Headquarters, retired September 15 after 21 years of service.

David Neitz, AEP Ohio 700 Building, retired September 29 after 10 years of service.

Ricky Ringley, AEP Transmission Headquarters, retired September 6 after 38 years of service.

B.N. Shankar, AEP Ohio 700 Building, retired September 1 after 30 years of service.

‘Retiring’ Construction Equipment Donated for Veterans Program

Shown above: Some of the AEP-donated equipment.

(Story by Linda O’horo)

Instead of being auctioned off, some used construction equipment has been donated by AEP — to a place where it will be used to help veterans and others with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

A new facility, to be built on a farm in central Ohio, will enable veterans with PTSD and rescued horses to work together to heal.

The equipment donated by AEP will be used to first build an arena for equine therapy, followed by greenhouses and a retention pond.

Watch a video on the project.

This facility — where veterans can learn about potential careers in greenhouse farming and aquaculture — will be operated by True North Veteran Support, a nonprofit foundation created by Susan and Bill Barr, who live on the farm.

The Barrs told Ruth Robinson about their plans. Robinson, who retired from AEP in 2017 as manager of Generation Contracts, set up a meeting with Susan and Scott Smith, AEP Transmission senior vice president of Transmission Field Services & Controls.

After discussing construction needs, Smith contacted Diana Weaver, managing director of Supply Chain and Fleet Operations. They were very happy to assist in this effort.

AEP found and donated eight pieces of heavy construction equipment, which had been used in the Ohio and Indiana Michigan Power regions: a forklift, skid steer, two dump trucks, and four trailers.

True North Veteran Support recently held a groundbreaking event to kick-off the arena construction project.

Some veterans who were there were excited about the possibilities for this new program.

Joe Machado, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, said “what this facility is, is another step in the direction of dealing with the veterans who come back with needs that aren’t being handled by the official sources — the VA doesn’t have anything like this.”

Ohio VFW commander David Root said that when veterans return and experience PTSD, “the slightest little thing will kick back memories that they don’t know are there, and suddenly they are re-living things that they don’t want to. And sometimes they can get through it on their own. But other times they can’t. Those who are around them know what to do to help them get around it.”

Robert Barr, who earned his Purple Heart in Korea, said, “These people will be around a gentle animal like a horse, and it will calm them down and help tremendously. I think this is going to help save a lot of veterans’ lives.”

Collaboration for Resilience and Sustainability in Fort Wayne

As part of the project, Indiana Michigan Power Company workers planted 10 berry-producing trees to benefit wildlife near the right-of-way.

(Story by Linda O’horo)

Recently, Indiana Michigan Power Company (I&M) and AEP collaborated with the City of Fort Wayne on the Spy Run Extension project, which restored and enhanced a transmission right-of-way area that passes through a city park and along a greenway trail.

This was the final piece of the massive Powering Up Central project, one of five Powering Up Indiana projects to replace aging transmission infrastructure and improve reliability for customers.

Watch a video about the project.

During these projects, AEP entities collaborated with city and community officials and communicated frequently with area residents.

And for the Spy Run Extension Project, post-construction site restoration involved special efforts to enhance sustainability and beauty during restoration work in a 6.5 mile long transmission line right-of-way area.

I&M and the City of Fort Wayne worked together to create environmentally-balanced habitats which provide beauty in a right-of-way area that runs through a public parkway. Benefits from the new project include:

  • Replacing old towers and lines with new, modern transmission towers and lines, which are less visible on the horizon.
  • Removing invasive trees in the right-of-way area, providing better views of the adjacent St. Joseph River.
  • Planting 10 berry-producing trees to benefit wildlife.
  • Planting native plant seeds in one section of the right-of-way to provide animal habitat, while restricting the establishment of invasive trees.
  • Adding two park benches and a bike repair station on the pathway.

 

The Spy Run-Greenway area project is just one example of how AEP, AEP Transmission, and AEP operating companies work with others to improve electric system reliability for customers while benefitting the surrounding community in additional ways.

Akins Appears on CNBC’s ‘Mad Money’ With Jim Cramer

AEP CEO Nick Akins discusses AEP’s third quarter financial results on CNBC’s “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” program.

Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, appeared on CNBC’s “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” program October 31 and discussed AEP’s strong financial performance in the third quarter of 2018, a “tempering” of the economy in the company’s service territory, the plight of coal in the country and more with the show’s host, stock analyst Jim Cramer.

View the video.

Concerning AEP’s third quarter results, Akins said, “We did have a great third quarter. The weather obviously drove a lot of it, but the 8.1 percent dividend increase was very good for our investors and it really showed the confidence our board has in our business plan going forward. We’re seeing a 5-to-7 percent growth rate for the foreseeable future and we expect dividends to be commensurate with that growth. We have a solid financial plan, a solid company focused on capital deployment, particularly in transmission, and in other areas, and it shows that our business plan going forward is very positive.”

Cramer noted that AEP’s industrial, commercial and residential sectors had all been improving over the last several quarters, but that was not the case in the third quarter.

“We have seen some tempering of the economy, particularly when it’s non oil and gas related,” Akins explained. “Oil and gas is still doing fine, industrials grew by 2.4 percent but we saw residential and commercial growth come down a little bit. We think it’s really driven by a strong dollar, and some of the tariffs are having an impact on non-oil-and-gas-related activities. We’re seeing some level of tempering, so we’re watching that very closely as we go forward.”

Cramer then asked if President Trump called him and told him to use more coal, would Akins be able to explain to him that it’s a very complex issue?

“Yeah, I think I would,” Akins answered. “It’s much more complex than that and we’re trying to do things to develop those coal-related territories like our Appalachian Sky initiative that focuses on industrial activities. We’re trying to get industrials to locate in those particular areas to provide options going forward, but coal-fired generation continues to fall in this country. Exports of coal, particularly metallurgical coal, continue to have an impact and we want to see that continue to progress, but I think it’s going to be tempered in its approach relative to coal-fired generation, so we have to really think about what that means to the economies in those regions of the country.”

Turning to natural gas and renewables, Akins told Cramer that, “I think you are seeing a much broader view of resources going forward. Certainly renewables are coming into play, and natural gas is being looked at as a backup source for renewables. We view transmission as a resource to bring renewables to market and to be able to optimize the entire grid from a resource perspective. We’re also seeing energy efficiencies and “smart” analytics in place relative to the system that enables us to not build that next central station generation facility. You can expect that to continue into the future.”

Cramer also noted that while other companies have made big bets on large generation projects, AEP for the most part has avoided those types of investments.

“We have thousands of smaller projects and we can have more control over these types of projects and adjust to what we’re seeing financially,” Akins said. “It really gives us an opportunity to focus on the ins and outs of those kinds of projects that accumulate to steady earnings and dividend quality for our shareholders.”

P&C Technician Receives Hero Award For Averting Disaster in Louisiana

Jeff Nelson (left), AEP Transmission Protection & Control electrician, receives the AEP Hero Award from Daryll Jackson, Protection & Control supervisor.

(Story by Sara Hebert)

AEP Transmission P&C Electrician Jeff Nelson recently received the AEP Hero Award for his efforts in preventing a potentially fatal accident while a city crew in Shreveport, Louisiana, was working to replace a sewer line.

“I was down here (in the substation) taking notes on a breaker that we’re going to change,” Nelson recounted. “I was inside and I heard the boom and the arc flash. It scared me and I came out of the breaker — and I could see a woman looking down that way. I could see the smoke. I heard the breaker trip, then close back. I ran down to the corner of the fence, and I just saw the arc and fire coming off the track hoe.”

Nelson called Distribution Dispatch and quickly discovered that Distribution did not have SCADA control; so, he tripped the breaker. That was the first time that he noticed the people standing nearby and that the track hoe operator had remained in his seat until the arc flash went out.

“They were standing right beside it. It was all around them. At least six or seven people were out there when it was burning,” Nelson recalled. “When you’re in a substation and you hear a ball of fire like that, you’re getting the hell out of the way.”

Daryll Jackson, Protection & Control supervisor, nominated Nelson and made the AEP Hero Award presentation.

“I really appreciated what he’s done,” said Jackson. “A lot of people would have just went on about their job, and said, ‘That’s got nothing to do with me.’ But Jeff took the initiative to look around and see what was going on. It easily could have been a bad situation.”

Pineville, West Virginia, Selected for AEP Foundation Community Branding Initiative

Appalachian Power Company External Affairs Manager Ronn Robinson participated in the community announcement. Pineville was chosen for its strong community and government engagement along with economic development and tourism potential.

(Story by Ali Barrett)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The town of Pineville, West Virginia, has been selected for the AEP Foundation-funded community branding initiative.

The American Electric Power Foundation awarded West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media a $250,000 grant in January to support BrandJRNY, a community branding initiative started by the college in 2015. The initiative sets out to help West Virginia communities identify and promote their assets and potential for improving tourism, encouraging economic development and increasing pride. The grant from the AEP Foundation will allow BrandJRNY to continue for two more years.

Located in Wyoming County, Pineville was chosen for its strong community and government engagement along with its economic development and tourism potential. The town offers beautiful views such as the Guyandotte River and the sandstone marvel known as Castle Rock. ATV riders can find the Pinnacle Creek Trailhead, which is a part of the 630-mile all-terrain vehicle Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, in Pineville, as well.

WVU students are currently conducting research including community roundtables, focus groups, surveys and interviews to gain insight into community members’ perceptions of Pineville and their hopes for the town’s future.

Students will create storytelling pieces that include photos and video; social and digital strategies to increase awareness; a media strategy to promote tourism and a branding campaign plan and toolkit. At the end of the project, Pineville will have a new authentic brand identity. After additional trainings and workshops in the spring, community leaders will be able to use the plan and pieces to manage the new brand that not only appeals to target audiences but also resonates with the community.

News that Pineville had been selected for the initiative was announced at a community kick-off event on Sept. 13 at the Wyoming County Courthouse. Appalachian Power’s Ronn Robinson, external affairs manager, Jeri Matheney, director of communications, and Tim Ellison, business services account manager and long-time mayor of the town, attended the event, along with students, government officials, members of the Pineville branding committee and Pineville community members. A community workshop followed.

To stay up to date on the students’ journey, follow BrandJRNY on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @brandjrny and by using the hashtag #BrandPineville. For more information about past and current branding projects, see their Instagram page.

Annual Enrollment Continues Through November 1

Annual Enrollment for AEP’s 2019 benefits plans for retirees and employees continues through Thursday, November 1.

Enrollment guides for retirees age 65 and under, and over age 65, are located in the Benefits section of the AEP Retirees & Alumni website. Enrollment materials were mailed to all retirees and surviving spouses the week of October 8.

Retirees can also find health and welfare plan information at the AEP Benefits Hub; select the Retiree section.

AEP Transmission Headquarters Campus to Include Vegetation Management Demo Plots

The grassy area in the foreground of this photo is a site for AEP’s right-of-way vegetation management research. Behind it, you can see the original New Albany Transmission Headquarters, with the second office building under construction.

(Story by Linda O’horo)

Utility companies are increasingly evaluating the substitution of regionally appropriate, native plants for construction site restoration to promote sustainability and lower operations and maintenance expenses. Increasingly, AEP has been researching and implementing vegetation projects at a number of sites across its footprint.

As part of AEP’s ongoing vegetation management research, Right-of-Way Vegetation Management demonstration plots are being created near the AEP Transmission Headquarters buildings in New Albany, Ohio. Eventually, the demonstration plot area will be open to the public.

“Research indicates that the substitution of appropriate native plants in right-of-way areas can inhibit the invasiveness of trees and other vegetation which eventually increases vegetation management work to ensure reliability,” saidTim Lohner, Ph.D., consulting environmental specialist, AEP Water and Ecology Services.

“Native plants tend to establish stable, ‘competitive’ covers with deeper roots, which help prevent the establishment of trees and other ‘problem’ vegetation. There is also better erosion control. In addition, we can select native seed mixes which attract and support the habitats of insect pollinators, birds and other wildlife.”

Although there may be a bit more initial work related to use of native plants, less maintenance is required over time resulting in substantial cost savings and reduced reliability risks from overgrown vegetation getting into power lines and equipment.

“We are excited that we will have the opportunity to provide this site where we can test various seed mixes for construction site restoration. There we can provide an easily-accessible and educational demonstration for AEP employees, contractors and the public about native plants and AEP’s related sustainability efforts,” said Lisa Barton, executive vice president, AEP Transmission.

Temporary vegetation planted this fall will be replaced with a final seed in the spring. Seed mixes designed for use at solar facilities may also be tested.

AEP Environmental Services is recommending that simple, regionally appropriate, native seed mixes be used, when possible, after construction at landfill, pond closure and solar project sites.

2019 Annual Enrollment Materials Being Mailed

Annual enrollment materials will soon start being mailed to employees, retirees and surviving spouses who are eligible to participate in AEP’s 2019 Annual Enrollment.

2019 Annual Enrollment begins Thursday, Oct. 18, and continues through Thursday, Nov. 1.

Enrollment guides for 2019 are posted on the AEP Retirees & Alumni website under the Benefits tab. There are separate enrollment guides for under age 65 retirees and age 65 and over retirees.