POWERGRAMS OCTOBER 22, 2012
P u b l i s h e d S I N C E 1 9 2 0 f or t h e e m p l o y ee s o f A l a b a m a Power C o m pan y
p rinte d on rec y c l e d pa p er
Wind-haul PG 4
WOOING STUDENTS PG 3 FAMILY TRADITION PG 5
A Winning Game Plan Southeast Division employees have fun eliminating injuries
to support Alabama Power’s 2012 Target Zero slogan, “Pass It On.” The key, engraved “Pass It On 2012,” was displayed at the division’s Safety Ozark Office employees repeated that thought Renewal meeting in January before being sent when the Southeast Division “key” to Target Zero around the division. was in their possession. The focus of the yearlong “We decided to pass a key because we are each “Pass It On” initiative is the key being circulated the key to safety,” said Eufaula PD Distribution throughout the division to remind employees to Technician Tim McAndrews. “We want everybody make safety their No. 1 priority. in the division to touch the key this year. We feel “It was almost like the key was a ball. We didn’t having a symbol for everyone to concentrate on is a want to fumble the ball the week we had it,” Ozark fun way to keep the focus on safety.” Office Manager Trent Dillard said. “We talk about To ensure it stops at every location, the football every day. The key was a visible reminder committee, led by McAndrews and Parker, devised that we need to talk about safety every day, too.” a calendar outlining the key’s route. Each month, the division’s online newsletter features a map of the journey thus far. Southeast Division Vice President Richard Hutto received the key the first week. By the time it returns to him at the division’s Safety Renewal meeting in January 2013, the key will have rotated through all the departments, local offices and crew headquarters. As of Oct. 10, every work group Enterprise Appliance Serviceman Joe Fitzgerald, left, accepts safety key across the division from Ozark Appliance Serviceman Ed Gaylor. has achieved Target Zero. In recognition of that success, the division Ozark employees continued the “football” theme received the Target Zero Gold Award in July for when it came time to hand off the key to the working 365 days without a recordable injury or Geneva Office. preventable vehicle accident. Dillard passed the key to Geneva Office Manager Pass It On is one more way of helping employees Boyce Hood, Customer Service Representatives continue the focus on safety, Hutto said. Regina Roney and Janet Tindell and Merchandise “I think it’s great employees are having fun with Salesperson Katie Thomas. While office coaches this initiative,” Hutto said. “In my mind, being able Dillard and Hood wore football jerseys, the three to have an appropriate degree of fun goes a long Geneva employees were dressed in referee shirts way toward instilling Target Zero as an integral bearing the messages, “Every day,” “Every job” and part of our culture. When something is fun, it “Safely.” really takes root. Headland employees received the key from the “But the most important thing is the success of Geneva Office on Sept. 24. this initiative signifies that no one has gotten hurt “We wanted to have fun when the key was passed – everyone is going home at the end of the day.” to us,” said Headland Manager Chere Johnson. “But bottom line: We take safety seriously. Even By Carla Davis though we work in an office environment, safety is a priority for us.” At the Phenix City and Valley offices, every employee had a chance to keep the key for a day before passing it to a co-worker. “Because each employee was in charge of the key, I think it helped them make the connection: All employees are responsible for being safe and for passing on their knowledge about safety to their co-workers,” said Kelly Parker, manager of the two offices. The Southeast Division safety committee launched the initiative at the beginning of the year Photo by David Harris
ON THE COVER: The blades on the turbine go `round and `round on the Great Plains, where Alabama Power has purchased 404 megawatts of electricity. Photo illustration: Jay Parker PAGE 2
here are worlds of opportunity out there, but to be successful, you must have a plan.” That was the message from dozens of employees who helped host three of Alabama’s biggest educational events – Worlds of Opportunity (WOO), the Joint Leadership Development Conference and iCan: Girls in Engineering – for students the last week of September. Employees from Mobile Division and Plant Barry interacted with eighth-graders during the fourth annual WOO. The attendance numbers are impressive: 10,000 students from 81 schools in eight counties counseled by 1,000 teachers and business leaders. The Sept. 2526 program gave a close view of technical careers at Alabama Power, as well as careers in the construction, oil and gas, maritime, communications and hospitality industries. The goal, said Barry Employment Coordinator Dawn Taylor, is to link careers back to the classroom and give students insight about math, science and problem-solving skills. “We’re getting eighth-grade students prepped for high school and future careers,” Taylor said. “Students should be getting ready for the technical careers that are out there now and in the future. These are high-paying jobs, and a lot of the salaries were surprising to the students.” On Sept. 27, engineers Yvonne Avila, T.J. Pruitt, Trey Hayes and Roger Lugo were at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex to help with the Joint Leadership Development Conference. Employees shared inspirational stories with high school students, saying they can achieve their dreams. Distribution Planning Engineer David Osborne said students were attentive, asking many questions about Alabama Power and job openings. “Our employees did a fantastic job talking about engineering skills, showing what it takes to make it in the engineering field,” said Osborne, the company’s master of ceremonies for the event. “They told students, ‘If you want to be an engineer, you can make it happen.’ Teachers and
students stopped to tell me how much they enjoyed the sessions.” Workforce Development Specialist Tom McNeal helped make sure messages to students were fresh and pertinent. “This includes educating and encouraging the kids about obstacles and trials in life, and how to handle them,” McNeal said. “Our employees’ personal stories were a big hit with both
“We are excited about growing the iCan program in Gadsden.” Employees interacted with students in creative projects, including making a basic burglar alarm using a buzzer, battery and clothespin. “We worked with the girls to wire together the components to form a simple circuit,” she said. Walker said middle school girls make academic decisions that
Photos by Maria Thompson
Saraland Distribution Specialist Sam Forney, left, talks with student at WOO.
Employees encourage students at conferences
Mobile Division Co-op student Hai Lu, left, gives demonstration at company booth. students and educators.” The students were so impressed, many took cellphone photos of employees, said Eric Phillips. “Employees were on their level, and told kids how to pursue their dreams of working at Alabama Power,” said Phillips, who with fellow Recruiting Consultant Jeremy Foshee gave informational packets to students and educators. They talked with teachers about hiring and technical career opportunities. Meanwhile, 48 academically talented girls at Gadsden middle schools were treated to the iCan: Girls in Engineering program, which is achieving success at schools in Birmingham Division. Misty Walker joined other female employees in launching the iCan: Girls in Engineering pilot in three Eastern Division middle schools – Gadsden, Emma Sansom and Litchfield – targeting students with high math and science scores. “We used the proven iCan mission, philosophy and event plan to format two-hour programs held on Sept. 2627,” said Walker, supervisor - Transmission Maintenance Center, Eastern Division Office.
impact the rest of their lives. “We want to encourage girls to focus on advanced math and science courses, which will open more doors as they progress,” she said. “We want them to know engineering is fun.” Employees told students the engineering field is wide open for females. Walker said teachers and guidance counselors were excited to have Alabama Power involved and active in their classrooms. More iCan events are planned in February and May 2013. Phillips said the gift of time and energy from an employee to a student can impact the young person’s future. “I wish I had those things available when I was young,” Phillips said. “You have to start earlier these days.” By Donna Cope
Wind-Win for customers Great Plains blowing power back to Alabama
he answer, Bob Dylan famously said, is blowing in the wind. For Alabama Power, the steady winds of the Great Plains are providing a new, costeffective and creative solution for meeting customers’ demand for energy. The Alabama Public Service Commission recently approved a second contract for Alabama Power to purchase electricity from wind projects outside the state, placing the company among the leaders in the Southeast for such agreements. The deal with Buffalo Dunes Wind Project mirrors one previously approved with Chisholm View Wind Project. Combined, the deals add up to 404 megawatts of electricity – enough to supply about 100,000 homes, or about 3 percent of the company’s load. The Chisholm View Wind Project near Enid, Okla., is scheduled to begin operations in December. The Buffalo Dunes Wind Project will be built near Garden City, Kan., with a targeted operation date of 2014. Both projects are being built by TradeWind Energy, one of the largest independent wind project development companies in the U.S. “TradeWind is so pleased to be building a second large project for Alabama Power,” said Frank Costanza, TradeWind executive vice president Business Development. “We want to commend the leadership of Alabama Power for its continued commitment to alternative sources of power that can provide direct economic benefit to its customers.” The two contracts with TradeWind are among the largest agreements by Southeast utilities to buy energy produced from wind farms, and each gives Alabama Power valuable flexibility. For example, Alabama Power can use the energy and associated renewable energy credits as part of its
service to customers, or the company can sell those credits, separately from the energy, to others. In either case, the contracts are expected to provide net savings to Alabama Power ratepayers. “Our agreement with Buffalo Dunes Wind Project is great for our customers in multiple ways,” said John Kelley, Alabama Power’s director of Forecasting and Resource Planning. “It will deliver to us cost-effective electricity and helps further diversify our energy portfolio. What’s more, it provides us the renewable energy credits that we have the option of using ourselves or selling to others, with the proceeds benefiting our customers.” Kelley said the company continues to explore other cost-effective projects that can further diversify Alabama Power’s fuel mix. “As the old saying goes, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket,” he said. “Using a variety of fuels, be it coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro and other renewables, helps protect our customers from price swings in the market. Having that diversity of fuels to choose from gives us the flexibility to help keep prices more stable for our customers.” To view more photos of the Chisholm View project under construction, visit http:// alabamapowernews.com/doubling-down-on-wind. By Michael Sznajderman
Turbines will begin supplying power from Oklahoma in December.
Employees sometimes real brother’s and sister’s keepers
Photo by Bill Snow
Company’s art deco logo from the 1920s is a reminder of enduring service by the Alabama Power ‘family.’
Gamble with his grandfather’s collection of Powergrams.
arm, summer days spent with his grandfather are among George Simpkins’ sweetest memories in life. “I remember my granddad driving me around Tuscaloosa, when I was only five,” Simpkins said of Percy Beauregard Avant, a line crew foreman for Alabama Power. “I thought I was the biggest guy in the world, riding in that power company truck. It was red and black, and it had Reddy Kilowatt on the side.” Some 65 years later, a photo of the same vintage company truck graces Simpkins’ Eufaula home. The photo is a symbol of his family’s enduring connection – and amazing record – with Alabama Power, where four generations found their life’s work, serving a total 108 years and counting. Simpkins’ grandfather worked from 1918 until his death in 1946. His grandmother Maggie regaled the youngster with stories about his granddad. During the Great Depression, Mrs. Avant said, hard times fostered true caring between employees. “My grandfather often brought home guys from his line crew for several days, so they’d have something to eat and a place to stay,” Simpkins remembered his grandmother saying. Simpkins’ uncle, Jack Avant, worked 45 years until his 1989 retirement from Alabama Power’s Production group. Simpkins
retired as Southeast Division Marketing manager in 2001 after a successful 35-year career. The past four years, he’s been president of the Southeast Division Chapter of the Energizers retiree group, helping raise more than $35,000 for eight charities. “There’s no company that has greater employees than Alabama Power,” Simpkins said. In July, his son Beau Simpkins joined Appliance Sales at the Eufaula Office, after earning a business degree at the University of North Alabama. “It’s a matter of family pride that Beau is working at the company,” Simpkins said. The children of Alabama Power employees often choose to follow similar career paths. Ben and Bart Stewart are following in the footsteps of their dad, Gardendale Local Operations Lineman (LOL) Billy Stewart. The brothers joined the company in 2007, and both work from 12th Street Crew Headquarters in Birmingham. “I always saw Daddy come home with a positive attitude about work,” said Ben Stewart, whose father has worked on crews 40 years. “That steered me toward working at Alabama Power. I saw him get called out at night to work, being gone different times – sometimes, missing a Christmas or two. I knew the sacrifices before I hired on.”
Stewart said Alabama Power is a great place to work. “I saw how well the company took care of us boys growing up,” Stewart said. “Now I’ve got my own kids. It’s a great job, and I’ll be here until retirement.” Being a lineman is in Robbie Gamble’s blood. His dad, Larry, and his grandfather Robert, both of whom have passed away, shared their pride in working for Alabama Power. “My granddad collected all the Powergrams newsletters, from the `50s to the `80s when he retired,” said Gamble, LOL - Hueytown Crew Headquarters. “They’re still in my possession.” And the most important life lessons shared with Gamble? “My dad and granddad taught me to keep safety first, and to have pride in my work,” said Gamble, who’s been on the job 13 years. “Get people’s lights on, and do it in a manner so you can go home safe. Do the job right and never leave an unsafe situation for the next guy, so he goes home safe, too.” For Beau Simpkins, working in the Eufaula Office is like “going home.” During elementary school, he was dropped off at his dad’s office after school, and knew almost all the employees. His new job is the answer to the calling he’s passionate about: selling, working with people and sharing his electronics expertise with customers. “Working at Alabama Power is a family tradition – it’s a unique feeling to work at the same place,” Simpkins said about the friendly atmosphere. “People here already knew me before I came to work. It was a neat thing.” By Donna Cope
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Miller Steam Plant retiree Lynn Smith spent four months in Malawi teaching people to repair water hand pumps. Working with EDGE Outreach, he also repaired 40 deep bore wells, one of which he rested on while catching up on APC employee news. t
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Thumbs Up! Plant Miller held a successful end-ofsummer blood drive as employees gave 40 pints of blood, which has the potential of touching 120 lives.
Thirty Southern Division employees helped clean the campuses of Brewbaker School and Bear Elementary School in Montgomery. Their work included trimming shrubs, spraying weed killer, spreading pine straw and pressurewashing outdoor walkways. The project was organized by Trey Hayes and Kenny Keenan, both of Southern Division. “Both campuses were quite an undertaking, but everyone did a great job,” said Vice President Leslie Sanders. “When kids arrived for their first day, they saw schools that reflected a caring community and company.”
Powergrams is published biweekly by Alabama Power for its employees, retirees and friends. Please report address changes by calling the editor.
Customer Gerald Walker called Alabama Power to recognize Carolyn Therrell, Metro South-Pelham, for assisting him in getting electric service placed in his name. He said when he arrived at Therrell’s window, he was greeted with a warm, friendly smile and immediately felt at ease explaining his situation. Walker also said Therrell was personable, accommodating, provided outstanding customer service and went above and beyond to help him. The Oak Grove subchapter of the Alabama Power Service Organization raised $723 for the March of Dimes with a yard sale. Employees donated a couch, lawn furniture, hand tools, dishes, clothes and toys, selling 85 percent of the items and contributing the rest to the King’s Home.
Jackson Office customer Lorri Kendrick wrote to thank Stella Clark for rescuing her daughters from a dog attack. Kendrick’s daughters were jogging when two dogs charged them. As they were running away from the dogs, one of the girls fell, scraping her legs on the asphalt. Distribution Specialist Clark grabbed a pole from her Alabama Power truck and used it to ward off the dogs. “It scares me to think what could have happened if Ms. Clark had not been on the scene and acted as quickly as she did,” Kendrick wrote. “I am very thankful that she cared enough to get involved and rescue my daughters from what could have been a terrible attack.”
Alabama Power was recognized by the Calera Chamber of Commerce for support above and beyond paying membership dues, and for its commitment to the community. T.J. Fincher, Metro South-Pelham, and Denise McDaniel, Calera, accepted the award.
IN MEMORIAM Henry E. Brooks, 69, retiree, Southern Division Office, Sept. 23. Floyd V. Chandler, 86, retiree, Gorgas Steam Plant, Sept. 24.
Thomas L. Miller, 86, retiree, Jasper, Aug. 19. Timothy R. Nunan, 87, retiree, Construction – General Office, Sept. 11.
Louis J. Imsand, 85, retiree, West Mobile, Sept. 25.
Customer Angie Cook complimented Jesse Rodriguez, Metro South-Pelham, for providing excellent service when she visited the office. Cook said Rodriguez was “very polite and professional, and should be commended for the work he does.”
Oliver Millender Jr., 68, retiree, Gaston Steam Plant, Sept. 24.
Send us your photo holding Powergrams in an exotic locale.
ts to fal len American Ret iree Ken Damsga rd paid his res pec Fra nce . The American soldiers dur ing a vis it to Nor ma ndy, lish Cha nne l. Mi lita ry Cemete ry ove rlo oks the Eng
POWERGRAMS staff: Editor: Chuck Chandler 205-257-3651
Assistant editors: Donna Cope and Carla Davis
Photo editor: Bill Snow
Art director: Jay Parker
Thumbs Up: 205-257-1433
Substation Crew 31 has completed four years without a recordable injury and more than 12 years without a preventable vehicle accident. Top row from left are Jeremy May, Colton Armstrong, Randy Turner, C.W. Cooley, Brandon Hughes and Chase Powell. In front, Brad Anderson, William Burrell and Rafael Tyrues.