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AEP’s ‘most senior engineer’ remains energized at work

by on March 24, 2014

(Story by Stephen J. Ostrander)

At 71, Tony LaRe may be AEP’s eldest serving professional engineer but the “R” word is “not even on my horizon,” he said, not with bills to pay, a Piper Cherokee airplane to fly and fuss over, and a daughter to get through nursing school. He is not ready to face retirement—getting stale and being idle.

                                Tony LaRe

Besides, throwing in the towel may not be an option. The last time he contemplated retirement, back in 2006 when he managed the Columbus municipal power grid, Jeff Fleeman, director of advanced studies and technology for AEP Transmission, lured him back to AEP Transmission. There was a shortage of experienced engineers, Fleeman explained. LaRe gladly accepted the role as a senior engineer.

Career began in Muncie

LaRe started his 34-year AEP career in Muncie, Indiana, in June 1967. In 1971, he transferred to Canton, Ohio, where he worked in protection and control and in power transformers. In the late 70’s, he left the company to work for Ohio Transformer. He came back to AEP as a design supervisor; he was promoted to assistant section head of Electrical Station Design shortly after moving to the Columbus office in 1984. This was followed with a stretch (1995-2001) at AEP’s Ohio coal-fueled generating plant in Conesville, Ohio, as the manager of engineering, He retired from Conesville in 2001.

“That’s where I had the most fun because I got to play with the equipment,” said LaRe. Friends at the plant also got him hooked on aviation. He became a licensed private pilot and bought the Piper Cherokee for flying throughout Ohio and surrounding states for pleasure and to eat at favorite restaurants.

While retired from AEP, he worked for a circuit breaker manufacturer (SqD) and he became the administrator/chief engineer for the City of Columbus’s electric utility. Then one day in January 2006, Fleeman invited him to come out of retirement due to the shortage of electrical engineers to help train and recruit new hires.

Dirty hands bring joy

His latest opportunity provides him with hands-on equipment responsibility with circuit breakers, transformers and voltage regulators.

“Tony is very much energized to do his work and loves the work that he does,” said Al Taylor, manager of station technical services (east) for AEP Transmission.

“Always try to learn something new each week,” LaRe advised younger colleagues. “If you ever stop learning, your value is diminished.”

LaRe’s favorite projects (aside from those mentioned above):

  • Participating in the rollout of AEP’s first 765-kilovolt transmission system; installing power transformers system wide.
  • Joint effort (while working for the Columbus Municipal Utility) to build the City of Columbus’s first 138-kV gas-insulated substation with AEP on their 138-kV grid.

From → News From AEP

One Comment
  1. Hi Tony

    Nice to hear about your continuing involvement with the company. For myself I was with Elecric substation Projects in New York 2 Broadway until 1981. I held a position as Consulting engineer for Transmission And Distribution Projects at Ebasco services until 1986. From 1986 until 2006, I was at ConEdison in New York with my most recent Position as Director of Engineering for the Brooklyn/Queens Region at Con Edison. For me it wa a fun experience. I do recall the days at aep, putting the 765 kV system together. It was a fun time and a great experience. Enjoy your continuing career. It sounds like you are having fun

    Best

    Lawrence Laskowski

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