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Vets get first-hand look at careers offered by AEP Transmission, Distribution

by on May 9, 2013
Scott Smith (left), senior vice president – AEP Transmission, addresses military veterans during their tour of AEP facilities.

(Story by Stephen J. Ostrander)

Thirty military veterans representing every branch of the Armed Forces got an “up-close and personal” view of the daily activities of linemen, station technicians and other AEP employees during an open house at the A. Ray King Transmission Training Center in Pataskala, Ohio, May 3.

“The pride you had while in uniform, whatever branch of service you were in, you’ll find that here at AEP,” said Scott Smith, senior vice president – AEP Transmission, and a former Army combat engineer.

The event, co-sponsored with AEP Distribution, was more of an orientation about the types of careers available at AEP than a recruitment rush.

“We are very concerned about the unemployment rate among veterans after active duty,” Smith added. “We’re going to try to resolve that.”

Todd Patterson (center), an engineering technologist, explains the workings of a control room to the military veterans group.

Two groups of veterans took turns visiting the training center’s substation, drop-in control module, switching apparatus, plus a safety demonstration. While outdoors, veterans viewed the center’s array of transmission structures and then watched AEP Distribution linemen demonstrate operation of a bucket truck. Throughout the day, AEP Transmission and Distribution leaders, along with selected AEP military veterans, encouraged veterans to actively seek AEP jobs that match their skills.

“These people have demonstrated in the military that they are trainable using high-technology equipment,” said Smith. “They have the aptitude to take on these jobs; and they aren’t intimidated by technology.”

Military veterans bring several key assets to the workplace, such as:

  • Teamwork
  • Reliable, responsive
  • Respect for procedures
  • Ability to work safely under duress, and amidst dangerous equipment.

“You’ll feel like you have done a day’s work and done something important,” said Tim Walker, manager of technical skills training at the training center.

During the lunch break, veterans heard from Scott Moore, vice president of Transmission Engineering and Project Services; Bob Wagner, vice president of Transmission Field Services; Walter Sherry, manager of Forestry Operations; and Judd Schumacher, manager of Procurement, all of AEP Transmission. Joe Cisneros, director of Diversity and Culture for AEP, explained employment procedures and answered questions. The common messages among the speakers? AEP Transmission and AEP Distribution have jobs; veterans should apply.

Later in the day, Tom Kirkpatrick, vice president of Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services for AEP, and Selwyn Dias, vice president of Distribution Regional Operations, spoke to veterans.

The program also had the support of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Office of Workforce Development and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a U.S. Department of Defense agency that urges employers to support and value the military service of their employees.

“I get a good feeling helping veterans,” said Mel Conley, a volunteer for ESGR since 1992.

Cisneros said the event was a pilot program aimed at “showcasing what we have to offer.” Similar events may be held elsewhere in AEP’s 11-state service territory.

From → News From AEP

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