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Sthultz Named Commander of Refueling Aircraft Maintenance Group

Lt. Col. Trevor Sthultz (right), accepts the guidon of the 914th Maintenance Group from the Wing Commander in a change of command ceremony.

People who are acquainted with Trevor Sthultz, continuous improvement lead in Regulated Commercial Operations, know him at AEP for his roles in change management, strategic problem solving, continuous improvement and leadership.

What they may not know is that he uses those same skills in a new responsibility he has as lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He was recently named group commander of the 914th Maintenance Group, in command of eight KC-135 refueling aircraft stationed at Niagara Air Reserve Station, New York.

The opportunity to serve as group commander is unusual in the reserves, as this position is typically led by a “full bird” colonel. In this role, Sthultz is responsible for equipping, training, and ensuring the combat readiness of approximately 280 personnel assigned to the group and two subordinate squadrons.

His military career goes back more than 20 years. Sthultz was commissioned in 1999 after graduation from Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Texas Tech University, continuing in active duty until 2008, when he entered the reserves. As a reservist, Sthultz deployed to the Middle East for five months in 2016 to lead a team of 70 maintainers and four C-130 cargo aircraft in combat support operations.

Trevor Sthultz

“There are numerous parallels between my AEP career and my military career,” he said. “I intentionally sought employment with AEP due to their strong support of the military and their excellent reputation in the energy industry.”

At AEP, where he has worked for 12 years, he helped initiate, organize and lead the Military Veterans Employee Resource Group.

He credits a lot of his teams’ successes in the military and at AEP by practicing the “performance pathway” — he understands how leadership creates the culture that drives the behavior that produces the results.

“In the military and at AEP, I enjoy work that cultivates a positive and productive culture, and leading teams to continually improve processes,” he said. “I use skillsets I’ve learned in my military career at AEP, and vice-versa.”

His current reserve service requires a lengthy commute from Columbus, Ohio, to the base at Niagara Falls, New York. He transferred bases from Ohio to New York in early 2013 and drives to Niagara Falls each month. In his commute over the past six years, he’s driven more than 44,000 miles to perform his military duties.

Among the many accomplishments of his military career are being named Officer of the Year at the group and squadron levels, being an aide to a four-star general, and being a published author. Over the years, he has risen in rank from second lieutenant (1999), first lieutenant (2001), captain (2003), major (2008) and lieutenant colonel (2014). He has earned numerous military awards and decorations, including Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and has served in Puerto Rico, Spain, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Qatar with other official travel to Afghanistan, Iraq, Thailand, Korea, Greece, Japan and several other countries.

About the KC-135

The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 60 years. Its unique mission uses a flying boom and trailing drogue attachment to refuel aircraft in midair. The heavily modified Boeing 707 has a maximum transfer fuel load capability of 200,000 pounds and maximum cargo capability of 83,000 pounds. It has a top speed of 530 miles per hour, maximum ceiling of 50,000 feet, and range of 1,500 miles.

(Source: U.S. Air Force)

Obituaries

AEP River Transportation Division
Nola Gray, 83, River Transportation Division, died December 7.

AEP Service Corporation
Andrew Varley, 83, retired, died November 19.

AEP Ohio
Jimmy Salyer, 85, retired, Socco-Meigs Mine, died on December 17
Floyd Cales, 69, retired, Athens Office & Service Center died on November 28
Peter Tiberio II, 75, Cardinal Plant, died on December 15
Paul Iler, 95, retired, Bucyrus Service Center, died on December 4
Robert Harrison, 82, retired, Canton Estrn Reg Office, died on December 6
James Lane, 76, retired, Chlicthe Trans/Telecom, died on December 17
Richard Bennett Jr., 61, Region Meter Serv-Columbus Minerva Annex, died on December 12
Robert Maynard, 79, retired, Columbus SW Service Center, died on November 21
James Roahrig, 91, retired, Coshocton Office Building, died on October 25
John Phillips, 88, retired, 850 Tech Center Building, died on December 7
Elizabeth Pryor, 94, retired, 850 Tech Center Building, died on December 18
William Stanley, 89, retired, Lancaster Office Building, died on December 2
Leonard Glaub, 81, retired, Zanesville Office, died on December 19

AEP Texas
Wallace Brimer, 81, retired, Abilene General Office, died on December 20.
Thomas Flint, 76, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 30.
Lois Leifeste, 87, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died December 14.
Donald Vanderhoof, 85, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 27.
Manuel Sanchez, 66, Knox Lee Plant, died December 12.

Appalachian Power Company
William Tignor, 66, retired, Clinch River Plant, died on December 17
Richard Blevins, 89, retired, Pulaski Service Center, died on December 5.
Thomas Barnett Jr., 99, retired, Roanoke Main Office, died on December 4.
Jean Lavender, 87, retired, Beckley Office, died on December 4.
Ronald Pinson, 77, retired, Huntington Service Center, died on December 10.
William Waldron, 67, Welch Service Center, died on December 15.
Andrew Weisal, 80, retired, Wheeling Service Building, died on December 15.
Mary Cash, 86, retired, Amos Plant, died on December 10.

Indiana Michigan Power Company
Steven Stronczek, 76, retired, Northeast Service Center, died on November 29
Norbert Kopinski, 88, retired, South Bend Service Center, died on November 23
Beatrice Kimball, 92, retired, St Joe Office & Service Center, died on December 10
Charlene Marsh, 72, Buchanan Nuclear Office, died on December 20

Kentucky Power Company
Robert James, 65, Robert E Matthews Service Center, died on December 11

Public Service Company of Oklahoma
Donnie Shotts, 66, Hobart, died on November 28
Lloyd Hurt, 85, retired, Tulsa General Office, died on December 6
Larry Shaver, 73, retired, Tulsa General Office, died on December 19
A R Zimmerman, 93, retired, Tulsa General Office, died on December 13
Roderick Johnson, 65, Weatherford Plant, died on December 2

Southwestern Electric Power Company
Sherman Giles Jr., 81, retired, Shreveport General Office, died on December 12
George Hollis, 84, retired, Shreveport General Office, died on December 8

December Retirements

AEP Ohio
Donald Guisinger Jr., Athens Office & Service Center, retired December 1 after 38 years of service.
Michael Wilson, Lima Service Center, retired December 1 after 38 years of service.

AEP River Transportation Division
Timothy Lucas, River Transportation Division, retired December 1 after 41 years of service.
Catherine Neville, River Transportation Division, retired December 1 after 12 years of service.
James Triplett, River Transportation Division, retired December 1 after 40 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation
Paul Burdeaux, Renaissance Tower, retired December 1 after 33 years of service.
Mark Coleman, AEP Headquarters, retired December 1 after 38 years of service.
Gregory Luzio, AEP Headquarters, retired December 15 after 41 years of service.

AEP Texas
Jose Mendietta, Alice Service Center, retired December 29 after 40 years of service.
Mary Newman, San Angelo Service Center, retired December 15 after 33 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company
Joan Leftwich, Bluefield Service Center, retired December 1 after 41 years of service.
Timothy Rogers, Roanoke Service Building, retired December 1 after 36 years of service.
James Rucker Jr., Roanoke Service Building, retired December 1 after 37 years of service.
Ike Spangler, Roanoke Service Building, retired December 1 after 39 years of service.

Generation
David Boyd, Gavin Plant, retired December 1 after 42 years of service.
Jeffrey Hastings, Rockport Plant, retired December 1 after 41 years of service.
David Tulloh, Mountaineer Plant, retired December 1 after 48 years of service.
Robert White, Clinch River Plant, retired December 1 after 29 years of service.

Kentucky Power Company
Marshall Collett, Hazard Service Center, retired December 1 after 43 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company
Charles Rummel Jr., Greenwood Service Center, retired December 27 after 13 years of service.

Transmission
Tony Harvey, John W. Vaughan Center, retired December 1 after 24 years of service.
David Pfirsch, Bucyrus Service Center, retired December 1 after 42 years of service.

New Lights for the New Year

In December 2018, SWEPCO presented the Strand Theatre with a $13,725.68 check to help the nonprofit upgrade its lighting to light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This project and monetary incentive are part of SWEPCO’s Commercial Energy Efficiency Program.

Cumulatively, the Strand replaced approximately 2,000 bulbs within the facility’s offices, auditorium, dressing rooms, lobby, foyer, storage rooms, box office and more. LEDs have a much longer lifespan and very low maintenance costs compared to fluorescent or incandescent lighting.

The theatre will see an estimated 20 percent savings on its SWEPCO bills, based upon past usage and new savings as a result of the lighting upgrade. Additionally, theatre staff will reduce the amount of labor and time required to change bulbs within the facility.

“Anything we can do to reduce costs and maintenance is valuable since our building dates back to 1925,” said Jenifer Hill, executive director for the Strand Theatre. “The energy efficiency program from SWEPCO is incredibly helpful.”

SWEPCO also has an energy efficiency program for its residential customers, which includes incentives for lighting, heating/cooling system upgrades, weatherization and more. Additional information on these programs is available at SWEPCO.com/Save.

Kentucky Power’s Centennial Kicks Off 2019 With 100 Acts of Appreciation

ASHLAND, Ky. – On July 21, 1919, just weeks after the U.S. Congress approved the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote, a new company was formed in eastern Kentucky. That company – Kentucky and West Virginia Power – grew to become Kentucky Power.

For nearly 100 years, Kentucky Power’s mission has been to provide residents and businesses in eastern Kentucky with safe, reliable and affordable electricity. In celebration of Kentucky Power’s centennial this year, the focus will be on customers and giving back in the communities where employees live and work, while continuing the mission to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity.

During 2019, Kentucky Power’s social media will showcase the many non-profit organizations providing valuable services and resources that are supported by Kentucky Power and its employees through contributions, sponsorships and volunteerism.  The 100 Acts of Appreciation Campaign kicked off January 2 and runs throughout 2019.

“For our anniversary theme, we want to emphasize appreciation for our customers, while highlighting Kentucky Power as a good corporate citizen,” said Cindy Wiseman, managing director – external affairs and customer service. “We believe, with everyone’s commitment, we can not only reach 100 Acts of Appreciation but exceed it. We want this to be fun and rewarding for all employees.”

One of the first acts came in the form of a warm coat for those in need. Employees in Pikeville delivered 40 coats and jackets they had collected during a coat drive to the Pikeville Methodist Church, Westcare Homeless Shelter and Trinity Harvest on Jan. 2, the first day back to work for many after the holidays.  (Pikeville District employees show piles of coats collected for area residents in need in the photo above.) Employees in Ashland collected 72 coats that they collected during their drive. Hazard employees also collected coats for those in need in their area.

New Fire Station Dedicated to AEP Employee

Derek Myers stands proudly next to the sign for Station 405 in Ohio.

(Story by Laura Vargas)

The time it takes for an ambulance or fire truck to arrive can mean the difference between life and death. The residents of Jersey Township, Ohio thought it was taking too long. Luckily, they had a great advocate in Derek Myers.

Myers is the director of the infrastructure complex team at AEP.  He’s also an engaged community member. He served as a Jersey Township Trustee and West Licking Fire Board member for more than 20 years.

In his leadership roles, Myers advocated for a new fire station, along with other township improvements.  His efforts paid off in October when a new fire station with EMS services was opened at Morse Rd. and 161.  The township dedicated the new station to him, naming it the Derek Myers Station 405.

“It was unexpected and very humbling,” Myers said.

The new station covers Jersey Township, Harrison Township, Etna Township, Reynoldsburg, Pataskala, Kirkersville and parts of New Albany. AEP’s New Albany Transmission building is also included.

“When you looked at our district, lots of improvements were made to the southern part of the district, which was more populated.  It made sense to offer the same level of service in the north,” Myers said.

Myers brings the same passion to his work on AEP’s IT team.  “We’re so proud of Derek,” said Jason Griffith, managing director of infrastructure and operations.  “His leadership and dedication are clear in his work at AEP and in the community.”

Obituaries

AEP River Transportation Division

Michael Wolford, 58, River Transportation Division, died November 18.

AEP Service Corporation

Glendell Miller, 78, retired, died October 30.

AEP Texas

W.G. Bruner, 81, retired, Abilene General Office, died November 19.

Mary Cox, 97, retired, Abilene General Office, died November 11.

Mark Dugie, 62, Kenedy Service Center, died November 15.

Guadalupe Garza Jr., 72, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 17.

Oscar Migl, 89, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 15.

Delbert Morris, 93, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 7.

Joyce Ray, 74, San Angelo Services, died November 6.

B.E. Rives, 88, retired, Abilene General Office, died October 31.

David Urrea, 88, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 22.

Appalachian Power Company

Elinor Oliver, 99, retired, Roanoke Main Office, died October 19.

Alfred Runions, 83, retired, Amos Plant, died November 26.

James Smith, 83, retired, Beckley Service Center, died November 13.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Richard Haag, 87, retired, 850 Tech Center, died October 28.

William Hetterscheidt, 84, retired, 850 Tech Center, died November 18.

William Yant, 80, retired, Delaware Service Center, died November 6.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Clyde Flatter, 75, retired, Hartford City Service Center, died November 6.

Joseph Palkowitch, 87, retired, South Bend Service Center, died November 12.

Everett Smith, 65, Tanners Creek Plant, died November 5.

Kentucky Power Company

Roger Brewer, 67, Big Sandy Plant, died November 13.

Betty Henigin, 90, retired, Big Sandy Plant, died October 27.

Ohio Power Company

William Bickerstaff, 88, retired, Gavin Plant, died November 7.

Virgil Knicely, 93, retired, Gavin Plant, died October 29.

Charles Miley, 88, retired, Van Wert Office Building, died November 15.

Richard Morgan, 82, retired, Portsmouth Service Center, died November 21.

Charles Mossor, 61, Cardinal Plant, died November 3.

Leonard Shannon, 69, Cardinal Plant, died November 7.

Clayton Wright, 92, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died November 13.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

George Boyce, 71, Energy Control Center, died November 3.

Mickey Rowell, 79, retired, Tulsa General Office, died October 30.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Louis Merchant, 89, retired, Shreveport General Office, died November 21.

William Tragesser, 88, retired, Shreveport General Office, died October 22.

Making the Holidays Brighter, Our Communities Stronger

Jim Carlson places ornaments on his “giving” Christmas tree.

(Story by Tawn Earnest)

Like a lot of people this time of year, Jim Carlson and his wife, Suzanne, throw a Christmas party for friends, family and neighbors. Their guests have come to expect at least three things. The party is always the first Saturday night in December. The Ohio State game will be on TV, “no matter how painful it is to watch.” At least one of the Christmas trees will be bare.

When Jim started throwing the party years ago, guests would bring huge casseroles and bottomless bowls of chips and dip. There would be enough dessert to stock a small bakery.

“Twenty people would show up with food to feed 20 people, which meant you had enough food to feed 400 people. And, there’d be nowhere to put it,” laughed Jim, a retired AEP accountant who recently came out of retirement to return to work at AEP.

But sharing and caring is an important part of celebrating the holidays. So, in keeping with that spirit, Jim asks friends to bring an ornament instead of food. At the party, they hang their ornament on a small tree and share the simple joy of decorating it together. After the party, the fully decked tree moves to Jim’s car and begins its journey to a local charity. Its final destination: a needy family’s home, where the holidays will be brighter, literally and figuratively, because of it.

The very first year, Jim drove the tree to a food pantry. A man saw Jim put the tree on the floor, and quietly asked if he could take it home to surprise his kids. “As we were loading the tree onto his truck, he told me, ‘you don’t know how much this means to me,’” Jim said.

It was a game-changer for the man, whose family had planned to celebrate with a plastic palm tree. And, it was a game-changer for Jim.

Jim’s party has donated a Christmas tree every year since. It’s been more than a decade. In some years, friends gave Jim trees. Most years, Jim buys a new tree (or two) on clearance in January ahead of the coming Christmas. The tradition lives on thanks to Suzanne, who cooks for days ahead of time. Many of Jim’s collaborators are former coworkers whose lives he’s touched in his decades-long AEP career. They aren’t surprised at all by his ability to connect to people’s needs and find people-oriented solutions.

Years ago, as a young accountant, Jim joined AEP’s Operation Feed Steering Committee, the annual fundraiser for the local food bank. He earned a reputation as a master networker who kept an A-Z binder of contacts that he constantly updated. Small talk with strangers while riding up on the elevator at AEP’s downtown tower opened a gold mine of details about family, hobbies and interests. Jim captured all those little details in his binder. The binder became a catalogue of both needs and leads. Jim used it as an excuse to reconnect and help his new friends.

“You were put on this earth for a reason,” said Jim, pausing to choose his words. “Maybe the reason is to help someone else.”

November Retirements

AEP Ohio

David Glass, Newark Service Building, retired November 30 after 41 years of service.

Maxine Joseph, Columbus Northeast Service Center, retired November 22 after 33 years of service.

Carl Roshong, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired November 1 after 40 years of service.

Joel Trad, Gahanna 700 Building, retired November 1 after 41 years of service.

AEP River Transportation Division

Mark Clay, River Transportation Division, retired November 6 after 27 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Larry Aguirre, AEP Headquarters, retired November 1 after 16 years of service.

Stephen Vagnier, AEP Headquarters, retired November 30 after 38 years of service.

AEP Texas

Jose Rodriguez Jr., Los Fresnos Service Center, retired November 1 after 43 years of service.

Generation

John Bowman, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired November 16 after 25 years of service.

Gary Braun, Rockport Plant, retired November 1 after 34 years of service.

Ronald Cale, Mountaineer Plant, retired November 27 after 38 years of service.

Lou Harrison, Northeastern Station 1&2, retired November 9 after 26 years of service.

Gerald Levi, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired November 29 after 25 years of service.

William Linfield IV, Pirkey Plant, retired November 16 after 42 years of service.

Clifford Swan, Amos Plant, retired November 1 after 14 years of service.

Gary Weber, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired November 22 after 30 years of service.

Peter Wikowski, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired November 3 after 19 years of service.

Ross Wilmoth Jr., Flint Creek Plant, retired November 9 after 41 years of service.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Jo Cunningham, Muncie Service Center, retired November 1 after 28 years of service.

Kentucky Power Company

Robert Gibson, Whitesburg Office, retired November 1 after 31 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Ron Burge, Mineola Office, retired November 2 after 38 years of service.

Bruce Wynn, Shreveport General Office, retired November 1 after 16 years of service.

Transmission

Eric Engdahl, AEP Transmission Headquarters, retired November 3 after 45 years of service.

Ronald Williams, Lon Hill Service Center, retired November 1 after 37 years of service.

 

APCO Line Crew Supervisor Herb Coles receives AEP Chairman’s Life Saving Award

AEP Executive Vice President Paul Chodak (right) presents the AEP Chairman’s Life Saving Award to APCO Line Crew Supervisor Herb Coles Nov. 21 in Roanoke. In April, Coles rushed to the aid of his neighbor who was being attacked by a dog. His actions likely saved her life.

(Story by Teresa Hall)

In a room full of coworkers, Herb Coles, a line crew supervisor for Appalachian Power Company, accepted the AEP Chairman’s Life Saving Award for his actions in April that likely saved his neighbor’s life. Paul Chodak, AEP executive vice president — Utilities, presented the award after commending Coles for his willingness to help someone in need.

“Anyone who works with dogs will tell you I did everything wrong that day,” Coles told his colleagues as he accepted the plaque. “But I didn’t have too much time to think about it. My neighbors were in trouble and I reacted, and I give all the glory to God for the way it turned out.”

A night Coles won’t forget

Coles hadn’t been home from work long; it was around 9 p.m. when he said he was startled by what sounded like kids playing followed by a faint voice possibly yelling, “Call police.”

A concerned Coles stepped outside and detected commotion next door. “It was dark and hard to tell what was going on,” he said. Coles heard his neighbor’s daughter scream, “Please help, the dog is killing my Momma.”

Coles put on his boots, grabbed a broken sledgehammer that was missing the metal head, and ran next door. Armed with only the wooden handle, he entered his neighbor’s backyard and saw what appeared to be a large pit bull with its mouth clamped down on his neighbor’s forearm. At least two other dogs were also in the yard.

Coles said his badly injured neighbor was on the ground and struggling to break free. “I hit the dog on its back as hard as I could several times, but it didn’t budge; it wouldn’t let go,” he said. The other two dogs turned on Coles. “One of the dogs was biting my shoulder, and the other was biting my ankles.”

With the pit bull latched on to his neighbor, Coles grabbed the loose skin on the back of its neck. “What happened next had to be God,” Coles said. As the dog released its grip on his neighbor, the animal turned its head toward him. “It was dark and I couldn’t see, but I shoved the stick in its mouth.”

As Coles and the dog continued to wrestle, the two fell to the ground with Coles on top. But keeping the dog at bay long enough for the women to get inside wasn’t easy. The dog managed to turn its head and bite Coles’ hand. In a panic, Coles hit the dog a second time in the mouth and saw what he said appeared to be a tooth exit its mouth. Perhaps sensing what was happening, the other two dogs scampered away and the women were able to make it inside their home.

With the women now safe, Coles jumped the fence to the security of his own yard. Police and rescue personnel soon arrived.

Coles received injuries to his hands, forearms, shoulders and buttocks, and required 11 shots. His neighbor’s injuries were far more severe and required hospitalization. She sustained at least one broken arm, blood loss, and multiple lacerations and wounds to her face.

“It had to be God that made it work just right,” Coles said. “I was home when I wasn’t supposed to be.”

Following the attack, Coles said his neighbor quietly referred to him as her hero. “I told her, no,” he said. “The glory belongs to God.”