One week ago today (Friday) my Dad retired for the second, and what could be argued the third, time. For some 45 years he has worked in the electric utility industry. He worked for Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. for 31 years when a re-organization chart did not contain a “box” for him. Dad then worked for Duke Energy which got caught up in the market downturn about 7 years ago. Since that time he has worked for Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.
Early on he worked in “systems studies.” You could call it long-range planning. Growing up you may find us out looking at power lines and substations following Sundays at church after lunch. At his reception last week it was noted he may know where every “switch” is on the Oklahoma power grid.
During his days with Duke he continued his last assignment with OG&E which involved “selling” surplus power to other electric providers. This last stint gave him an opportunity to serve a great small company in a variety of ways. He was instrumental in the formation of the Kansas Power Pool which is much like the Southwest Power Pool.
There are countless ways to honor my Dad in this post. Rather than turn this into a novella based on my Dad’s life, I thought of a couple of things noted at his reception last week; things we have known and are glad others recognize. Integrity. There are a couple of stories I could tell that marked me growing up where my Dad stood on his integrity when it would have been easier to do otherwise. Those who worked directly with him or represented other companies OMPA did business with noted my Dad’s integrity. It’s not that such a trait is uncommon, it is that there are few high profile illustrations. When people encounter someone of character on a day to day basis they likely are refreshed and more confident in business dealings.
Worker. The one thing that disappointed me when OG&E did not retain my Dad in their 1994 re-organization is it seemed a lack of recognition for his tireless work. Always at work early and occasionally staying late, Dad expressed a diligence that we three boys hope shows up in us from time to time in our own lives. Of course, we knew this about Dad. His vocation may have included the title “Professional Engineer,” but we knew him as auto mechanic, plumber, large-scale home remodeling, painter, roofer, and on and on.
Here’s to Dad – Congratulations!