Skip to content

We Care

AEP’s July We Care safety poster features AEP Texas retiree John Flowers.

Formal Apprenticeship and GI Education Benefits Soon Available for Transmission Training

Recognition of AEP Transmission’s Technical Skills training program standards by the Department of Labor enables AEP Transmission line mechanics who are U.S. military veterans (or currently serve in the National Guard or Reserve) to apply for GI Bill benefit programs.

(Story by Linda O’horo)

In June, the U.S. Department of Labor approved the AEP Transmission Technical Skills training program standards, meeting the National Standard of Apprenticeship and recognizing journeyworker transmission line mechanics as a part of the National Apprenticeship System.

This recognition enables AEP Transmission line mechanics who are U.S. military veterans (or currently serve in the National Guard or Reserve) to apply for GI Bill benefit programs.

Scott Smith, senior vice president of Transmission Field Services and Controls, is excited about this opportunity which positively impacts our recruiting and retention strategies, while assisting military veterans and their family members in their new career path.

An Army veteran, Smith is an Executive Sponsor of AEP’s Military Veteran Employee Resource Group. Eleven percent of AEP employees are military veterans.

“Currently we have a strong need here, with about 150 open positions in Transmission Field Services,” Smith explained. “I view this program as a win-win for both AEP and veterans. We find that, generally, military veterans are a good fit for Transmission jobs for a number of reasons. We know that they are used to, and like being team players. They also understand the importance of following safety procedures.”

Tom Householder, AEP managing director of labor relations, said, “AEP, The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) have worked together to create employment opportunities for veterans who have served our nation. This apprenticeship program and the ones run nationally by the IBEW and the Building and Construction Trade Unions create opportunities for veterans to ‘earn while they learn’ now, to create a great career with a certified set of skills for the future.”

Marketta Franklin, technical training manager, added that this blue chip project has been in motion for a few years. “Our commitment to implementing this program was reinforced by a number of veterans enthusiastically contacting us, and requesting AEP’s participation in this program. Giving our veterans the opportunity to take advantage of these benefits is a way to show our appreciation and gratitude for their service. We see it as a win-win that we will allow our linemen (even those who are not veterans) to be recognized as national qualified journeymen.

“We are currently closing the loop with the government agencies, and are excited to launch this program,” Franklin added. The T-Line group will soon receive targeted communications about this training opportunity.

For more information about AEP Transmission’s apprenticeship training, contact Rebecca King, Training Center administrator for the ApprenticeshipUSA program, at (740) 964-5418 (rrking@aep.com), or Marketta Franklin (740) 964-5483 (mlfranklin@aep.com).

Learn more about ApprenticeshipUSA: https://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/.

 

Kentucky Power Leads Effort to Build Eastern Kentucky as an Aerospace Industry Corridor

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, center, is joined by Kentucky Power’s Matt Satterwhite and Brad Hall, right, as well as representatives from Braidy Industries, One East Kentucky, Ashland Alliance and  secretary for the state Cabinet for Economic Development at the Paris Air Show. Photo submitted by Brad Hall.

(Story by Allison Barker)

ASHLAND, Ky. – Soon after Matt Satterwhite was named Kentucky Power president and COO last year, he immediately asked what is next for economic development in eastern Kentucky. His staff quickly responded aerospace manufacturing.

In fact, Kentucky ranks as the No. 2 state for aerospace manufacturing exports behind only Washington, home to aerospace giant Boeing.

Kentucky Power has been working on setting the stage for growth in the aerospace industry for years. Kentucky Power External Affairs Manager Brad Hall worked in collaboration with local, regional and state leaders to capture part of the growing aerospace business.

Kentucky Power worked with its local partners to commission a leading aerospace consultant to determine the viability of aerospace in Appalachia’s coal and steel country. The consultant certified 17 counties as AeroReady in the Tri-State region of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, furthering the claim that aerospace can thrive in the area.

Satterwhite suggested the partners take the good story about eastern Kentucky to the Paris Air Show. This annual event is the center of the aerospace business. It is the largest airshow of the year where manufacturing deals are made with aviation and aerospace industrial leaders from around the globe. If you want to get on the map for investment by aerospace companies, you do it at the Paris Air Show.

Satterwhite and Hall put together a team that included Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Terry Gill, Braidy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Craig Bouchard, as well as regional economic development partners One East Kentucky and Ashland Alliance. The Kentucky group conducted 23 recruitment meetings over four days, including 14 with CEOs of major aerospace and defense companies, such as Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin.

“Before this year, many companies were not interested in Kentucky,” Satterwhite said. “They had no clue Kentucky was No. 2 in aerospace exports. In fact, they told us that we were not even on their radar before, but now we are at the top. We successfully changed their view of Kentucky, and especially eastern Kentucky.”

Satterwhite said a collaborative approach set the Kentucky team apart from other states at the air show.

“We already had working partnerships with government, business and regional leaders and could show success,” Satterwhite said. “Our cooperation showed that Kentucky is open for and friendly toward business. We are currently following up on leads from the show and I am confident this work will lead to development in eastern Kentucky.”

Satterwhite said the air show and partnership with the state and other partners helps Kentucky Power advance its plans to revitalize and diversify industry in eastern Kentucky through economic development. Dubbed Appalachian Sky, the initiative’s purpose is to aggressively attract aerospace and aviation industry to the central Appalachia region. Appalachian Sky was inspired by the intelligence and work ethic of the coal mining communities as captured in the movie “October Sky.”

The work that led to creation of Appalachian Sky was sparked by the completion of a comprehensive regional workforce analysis in American Electric Power’s Kentucky service territory. The research showed that coal miners and steelworkers, many of whom have lost their jobs when their operations closed in recent years, have the metal working skills that many aerospace companies need. The study, led by Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), was funded with economic development grants from Kentucky Power and other economic development partners in the region. The study concluded that there were eight times the national average of skilled metal workers in the region.

“Eastern Kentucky is primed for economic growth and Kentucky Power is committed to leading this charge forward with economic development,” Satterwhite said. “Economic development is at the core of our vision at Kentucky Power for a strong eastern Kentucky. The biggest driver in our increasing rates is the loss of customers and industry and that comes from a loss of jobs and places to go to work.

“Those of us left behind are left to pay the fixed costs of running an electric system designed to serve everyone. That is why Kentucky Power is so focused on flipping the script to change the equation and focus on increasing jobs and industry to spread the costs across more customers. The air show is proof that government and business can work together. I can honestly say that we should be optimistic and continue working together to make this a reality. In fact, I dare say the future is bright and the sky is the limit.”

AEP Announces Plan To Add 2,000 MW Of Wind Power

(Story by Rachel Hammer)

AEP July 26 announced plans for the Wind Catcher Energy Connection project. The Wind Catcher project will provide 2,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy for customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

The $4.5 billion project includes the wind farm and an approximately 350-mile, dedicated, extra-high voltage (765 kV) power line. Invenergy LLC is developing the wind farm located in Oklahoma’s western panhandle. The power line will connect the wind farm to AEP’s transmission system near Tulsa.

SWEPCO will own 70 percent of the project, including 1,400 MW of wind. PSO will own 30 percent of the project, including 600 MW of wind. The companies plan to file July 31 with regulators in the four states for approvals. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) also must approve the project.

The project will provide clean energy to customers and will reduce customer rates beginning in 2021, its first year of operation. The project is expected to boost economic development through construction and permanent jobs, property taxes, and components produced in states served by PSO and SWEPCO.

Please read the news releases for additional information.

Racine Hydro Celebrates 35 Years of AEP Service

Celebrating 35 years of service and more than 20 years of working safely are Racine Hydro employees (from left) Larry Ritchie, Evan Needs, Erin Pottmeyer and Kevin Marcinko.

(Story by Rachel Hammer)

This summer, Racine Hydroelectric facility is celebrating its 35th anniversary. It also is celebrating 35 years of exemplary safe operation.

Over that time, the 48 megawatt (MW) facility has had only 13 employees; it has only two retirees. Four employees operate the plant today.

Plant workers have never experienced a lost-time accident. Currently, they have surpassed 20 years and 6 months without an OSHA recordable.

In general, things have been pretty quiet at Racine Hydro. There was a time in the early ‘90s when employees pulled a boater who had capsized his craft from the river. But in general, things at Racine have been what you’d expect from any run-of-the-rive facility: uneventful.

History 

The Racine Dam is one of 20 flood control or navigation dams along the 1,310-mile Ohio River. In February 1966, Ohio Power (now AEP Ohio) applied to the Federal Power Commission (FPC) for permission to study the feasibility of building powerhouses at two of the dams. At the end of that year, FPC granted a permit for the Racine Dam, a navigation dam. Eventually, Ohio Power decided not to pursue the other site. After two years of study, the project was determined feasible.

Ohio Power applied for a license to build and operate a 40-MW powerhouse at Racine in mid-1969. The FPC granted the license 4.5 years later. Decisions around type of facility and design took the next four years. Construction began Nov. 1, 1977. Unit 2 went online in 1982 and unit 1 in 1983.

Unique design

The Racine units have a unique design. Each of the two 24-MW turbine generators was installed inside a bulb-shaped housing under water beneath the powerhouse. This improves plant design and provides ideal environmental conditions.

At the time of construction, Racine Hydro was the largest facility of this design in the world. Additionally, it was the first in the eastern U.S., the second in the U.S. and the third in North America to utilize this design.

Racine Hydro’s generation record is 276,782 MWHs set in 2006. It has generated more than two million MWHs since 1982.

Operating improvements

All hydroelectric facilities are challenged by debris floating into their intake systems. Racine is no exception. This facility was especially challenged when its debris removal system failed soon after startup.

Ingenious employees designed a clam bucket and crane device that cleared debris with some level of success for 20 years. But keeping it operational required extensive employee involvement and resulted in significant down time.

Employees used the Employee Involvement Process to identify an Austrian-made trashrake system as the best solution. The Trashrake Cleaning Machine went into service in 2001. It removes trash from the intake screen using a cleaning rake that descends 66 feet below the water’s surface. The machine itself rides on a set of rails located across the top of the powerhouse. It operates automatically to dump the debris into an internal container and then into a larger external dumpster.

The trashrake exceeded the projected megawatthour production increase and labor hour reduction used to justify the investment.

WiNUP 2017 Annual Conference

The Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals (WiNUP) 2017 Annual Conference will be held in Philadelphia, Pa., September 25-27.

WiNUP is an association dedicated to providing professional development, networking and mentoring for women in the utility and energy industries. Founded as the Electrical Women’s Roundtable in New York in 1923, WiNUP currently has more than 400 members. Many opportunities are offered to members through the annual conference, which is supported in part by AEP.

As a major sponsor of the conference, eight AEP employees/retirees will be awarded free conference registration. Winners of the free registrations will be responsible for all other expenses; including travel and hotel.

To be eligible for the free registration:

  • Your completed application must be received by August. 1. Winners will be notified by August 7.
  • Applicants must be a current AEP employee or AEP retiree.
  • You do not need to be a WiNUP member to apply.
  • Applicants must have approval to attend the conference before submitting the application.
  • 2016 recipients of this sponsorship are not eligible to apply.

 

More conference highlights and hotel information is available at WINUP.org.

If you are interested, please complete and submit an application.

AEP Foundation Presents $1 Million Gift to Louisiana Tech University

Left to right: Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson; AEP Chairman, President and CEO Nicholas K. Akins; Louisiana Tech President Les Guice; Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker and University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson. Photo by Karen Wissing.

Note: The following is from a Louisiana Tech University News Release:

Louisiana Tech University received a generous $1 million gift July 19 from Nicholas K. Akins, chairman, president and CEO of AEP, and chairman of the AEP Foundation, to support a new Academic Success Center located inside Bossier Parish Community College’s (BPCC) STEM Building in the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City, La.

Akins, who is also a 1982 and 1986 alumnus of Louisiana Tech, was joined by Louisiana Tech President Les Guice, who accepted the gift for the new facility which is designed to enhance educational services, provide cyber education and research, support economic development and engage in workforce development activities.  The new academic and cyber enter will also enable Louisiana Tech to advance its growth strategies in student enrollment, produce additional graduates in high demand fields, and increase academic program and research productivity throughout the state.

“The AEP Foundation is pleased to support the creation of this cyber training center to help students gain undergraduate and graduate degrees in a rapidly growing and critically needed discipline,” said Akins. “This grant will not only increase opportunities for students to pursue cyber careers and strengthen the future workforce, but it also builds upon a public-private partnership that is critical to the region’s future growth.”

State and local dignitaries including Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson and University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson were also in attendance to publically express their support and appreciation to Akins and the AEP Foundation, and to celebrate the new opportunities that the new academic and cyber center will create for the region.

The Academic Success Center will serve as a “one-stop shop” for student services and staff services providing information about career exploration, test preparation, financial aid and articulation agreements with BPCC.  The Center will also assist veterans in transition from active duty to access VA educational benefits, planning for academic programs, obtaining maximum credit for military learning and selecting academic degree programs which are in high demand for US citizens with military service.  This endeavor will enable Louisiana Tech to serve more active duty, former military and civilian students in a convenient location off of, but close to Barksdale AFB.

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Nick and the AEP Foundation, not only on behalf of Louisiana Tech, but also on behalf of our corporate and community partners throughout the region and state,” said Guice.  “Investments in our students and the support it provides to those we serve are critical to expanding Louisiana Tech’s role as an economic and higher education leader.  The return on these investments will be felt throughout the State of Louisiana and for generations to come.”

Louisiana Tech expects to complete and occupy the new Academic Success Center during the fall 2017 academic quarter.

AEP to Sell Tracts of Land in Ohio

The land for sale includes areas with mixed hardwoods, pines, and ponds.

COSHOCTON, Ohio — Approximately 2,596 acres of largely undeveloped Ohio land owned by AEP’s Ohio Franklin Realty, LLC, will be offered at auction Saturday, August 12. The land, located in Coshocton County, will be offered in 28 tracts ranging from 7 to 358 acres.

AEP originally purchased the land for mining purposes and no longer needs the land for company operations. The land includes areas with mixed hardwoods, pines, and ponds

Bidders may make offers on any combination of tracts as well as the entirety.

Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, in cooperation with Murray Wise Associates, will manage the auction. There is one inspection date: Tuesday, July 25, from 4-7 p.m. at the Otsego United Methodist Church, located on State Route 93, approximately one mile south of Tract 27. At that time, potential buyers can talk with an auction representative with questions about the properties and the bidding process.

The auction begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, August 12, at the pavillion at Coshocton Lake Park, 23253 State Route 83 North, Coshocton, Ohio, 43812. Online bidding is available by prior arrangement.

More information is available at www.schraderauction.com or by calling 1-800-451-2709.

Obituaries

AEP Service Corporation

Joyce Martin, 65, Central Operations Center, died May 8.

Appalachian Power Company

Leland Bumgarner, 92, retired, Sporn Plant, died May 26.

Douglas Cooper, 85, retired, Stuart Office, died June 13.

Willie Gardner, 86, retired, Hillsville Service Center, died June 24.

John Hale, 67, retired, Sporn Plant, died June 13.

James Martin, 98, retired, Lynchburg Office, died May 11.

Steven Peay, 64, retired, Kanawha River Plant, died June 22.

Sherri Templeton, 51, retired, Hurricane Call Center, died June 12.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Robert Carr, 69, Conesville Plant, died June 4.

James Chapman Sr., 71, Picway Plant, died June 11.

James McHarg, 80, retired, Athens Service Center, died May 31.

Otis Ross Jr., 66, Columbus Northwest Service Center, died June 5.

Elizabeth Steinmetz, 83, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 16.

Harry Stockman, 81, retired, Columbus Region Office, died June 11.

Mary Watson, 90, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 1.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Michael Brian, 70, One Summit Square, died June 21.

Anthony Krueger, 49, Cook Nuclear Plant, died June 25.

Ivan Mack, 84, retired, Marion Service Center, died June 16.

William Pohlman, 80, retired, Breed Plant, died May 27.

Carroll Runnion, 80, retired, Spy Run Service Center, died June 11.

Leo Smith, 85, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died June 10.

Kentucky Power Company

Jackie Barker, 75, retired, Big Sandy Plant, died June 20.

Auborn Helvey, 93, retired, Pikeville Service Center, died June 4.

Bill Potter, 79, retired, Robert E. Matthews Service Center, died June 23.

Ohio Power Company

Robert Bowe, 77, retired, Canton General Service Center, died June 9.

Willard Brechbuhler, 83, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died June 18.

Randall Flowers, 65, Cambridge Service Center, died June 4.

Lawrence Gaietto, 92, retired, Lima Service Center, died June 2.

Floyd Hanthorn, 91, retired, Lima Service Center, died June 2.

Alma Moffett, 78, retired, Findlay Office, died June 2.

Charles Molyneux, 78, retired, Muskingum River Plant, died June 16.

Tom Stinson, 80, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died May 28.

Clarence Wyatt Jr., 78, retired, Wheeling Service Center, died May 21.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Preston Banta, 88, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 9.

Eugene Fleener, 76, retired, Alsuma Meter & Substation, died June 6.

Rickey Foster, 69, CSW Tulsa, died June 4.

Bernice Friesner, 99, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 28.

Gary Shoemaker, 78, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 3.

Kennith Thompson, 81, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 14.

Texas Central

Venancio De La Garza, 72, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died June 8.

Travis Huff, 87, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died May 30.

Bruce Miller, 88, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died May 27.

Marvin Mussman, 86, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died June 21.

June Retirements

AEP Ohio

Jay Dinges, Cambridge Service Center, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

James Frank, Canton General Service Center, retired June 17 after 40 years of service.

Rhonda Todd, Zanesville Service Center retired June 1 after 38 years of service.

Lewis Wolfe, Lima Service Center, retired June 1 after 39 years of service.

AEP River Transportation Division

Deborah Workman, River Transportation Division, retired June 27 after 10 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Randall Garner, AEP Headquarters, retired June 17 after 41 years of service.

Dennis Greer, Arena Building, retired June 1 after 16 years of service.

Caroline Rose, AEP Headquarters, retired June 2 after 34 years of service.

Teresa Welsh, AEP Headquarters, retired June 2 after 39 years of service.

John Wilson, Home Worksite-Texas, retired June 1 after 28 years of service.

Gregory Wright, AEP Headquarters, retired June 23 after 44 years of service.

AEP Texas

Grant Ehlen, Corpus Christi Office, retired June 24 after 27 years of service.

Luis Villagomez, Corpus Christi Office, retired June 10 after 12 years of service.

Juan Villarreal, Pharr North Service Center, retired June 1 after 29 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company

Robert Bell, Christiansburg Service Center, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

David Clatworthy, Point Pleasant Service Center, retired June 1 after 32 years of service.

Roger Covey, North Charleston Service Center, retired June 1 after 32 years of service.

Anita Deem, Central Machine Shop, retired June 1 after 33 years of service.

James Gilbert, Kingsport Service Center, retired June 24 after 38 years of service.

Randy McClanahan, Central Machine Shop, retired June 29 after 40 years of service.

Willie McKinney Jr., Pineville Service Center, retired June 6 after 35 years of service.

Jack Miller, Pearisburg Service Center, retired June 1 after 32 years of service.

David Oliver, Roanoke Main Office, retired June 30 after 35 years of service.

Jimmy Wagoner, Pulaski Service Center, retired June 1 after 41 years of service.

Generation

Paul Carteaux, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired June 1 after 36 years of service.

David Francis, Mitchell Plant, retired June 1 after 40 years of service.

James French, Kammer Plant, retired March 1 after 37 years of service.

Mark Gillilan, Sporn Plant, retired June 1 after 35 years of service.

Bruce Givens, Kammer Plant, retired March 1 after 36 years of service.

Charles Johnson, Amos Plant, retired June 10 after 11 years of service.

Wy Sharp, Amos Plant, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

Chester “Al” Smith, Kammer Plant, retired March 1 after 37 years of service.

Stephen Watkins, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired June 6 after 27 years of service.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Steven Bischoff, Buchanan Nuclear Office, retired June 14 after 17 years of service.

Douglas Hill, Northeast Service Center, retired June 1 after 26 years of service.

Darlene Jacobs, Marion Service Center, retired June 20 after 28 years of service.

Lance Vencel, Lawrenceburg Office, retired June 3 after 40 years of service.

Marc Wiederwax, Cook Material Center, retired June 1 after 42 years of service.

Kentucky Power Company

Donald Jackson, Pikeville Service Center, retired June 1 after 41 years of service.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Joella Ford, Tulsa General Office, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

Tony Wilson, North Division Operations Center, retired June 27 after 20 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Larry Crawford, Carthage Office, retired June 1 after 31 years of service.

Randal Fuller, Dolet Hills Lignite Mine, retired June 1 after 32 years of service.

Phillip Watkins, Fayetteville Operations, retired June 3 after 27 years of service.

Transmission

Perry Brown, Tulsa General Office, retired June 1 after 24 years of service.

Wayne Gravesen, Longview Operations, retired June 17 after 36 years of service.

Matthew Leas, Spy Run Service Center, retired June 1 after 29 years of service.

William Lowe Jr., Kingsport Service Center, retired June 1 after 37 years of service.

Mark Pogany, Transmission Operations Center, retired June 15 after 28 years of service.

John Skidmore, North Charleston Transmission Service Center, retired June 1 after 42 years of service.