This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
the Range

“Out here now it’s kind of like we’re one big family,” Walden says. “When someone needs help, we help, and when someone hurts, we all hurt.” Besides being her second home, Walden says her greatest joy about being a part of PEC is telling people where she works. “I’m never ashamed, and I’m always proud,” Walden says. “There are a lot of people I imagine would like to be who we are.”

Today, reminiscing his very fi rst pay stubs

It’s this capable, confi dent outlook that has been the main- stay of her career. When everything was done by hand, she could do everything. When systems went digital and became more integrated, she took the bull by the horns and learned. Now she says the computer is “old hat.” Walden celebrated her fi rst retirement in 1995, but she says it was always understood she would come back and work part time.

“I remember I don’t have to go to work; I get to go to work,” Walden says.

Walden proves that staying with an organization for an ex- tended period of time is like weathering a storm. There are highs and lows, but change is a welcome constant as long as you love what you do and who you’re with.

Today, staying up to date with the latest equip- ment

Larry Shellenberger “Some people like their job, but I love my job,” District Lineman Larry Shellenberger says. “It’s a challenge and a good satisfaction to solve customers’ problems, and I’m just really grateful.” You could say Shellenberger is the baby of the group. He’s been at PEC for 49 years and three months, and he’s still going strong. He says his goal is to be the fi rst PEC employee to make it working 50 years full time.

Today, working with PEC customers still puts a smile on her face.

“I probably get asked three times a day when I’m going to re- tire,” Larry says. “I always say, ‘You gotta get old enough fi rst!’” Shellenberger got his fi rst spark of interest in electric work when he was just 13 years old after watching an electrician in- stall a new breaker box on his family farm. Later, after graduat- ing high school and working briefl y in the oil fi elds, he came back to work on that same farm. He says he can still remember the events of the day in May of 1962 in those fi elds that would forever transform his career path.

A deacon from his church found Shellenberger and his fa- Life Lessons

The only constant over a span of half a century is change, and these three have seen it all. They’ve watched the lights turn on, the poles go up and even move underground. However, amidst all these changes, the life lessons they can offer mean as much today as they did yesterday.

“If someone tells me job well done, it makes me want to work that much harder,” Pennington says.

“Any person working for the company should work like that company is theirs,” Walden says. “Be an employee your em- ployer will be proud of and trust.”

Walden says she thinks PEC employees are like that today. She gestures to her right at Shellenberger.

“One thing I like about Larry, I can ask him to do anything out in the fi eld—no excuses, always willing to do it,” Walden says. “I don’t ever have to worry about him giving me an excuse, even today.”

Shellenberger says he believes people should look forward to going to work. “If you don’t love your job you need to fi nd something else,” Shellenberger says.

Considering how closely Shellenberger’s advice echoes Con-

fucius’, one can’t help but wonder, even though they have worked a combined 158 years, maybe these three haven’t ever worked a day in their life after all. OL

OCTOBER 2011 33

or over a century and a half, and they’re still going strong. The current People’s Electric Cooperative’s offi ces, newly built in 2006. Photos Courtesy of People’s Electric Co-op

ther working cows. The man knew PEC had an opening as a maintenance man and that Shellenberger had some experience as an electrician’s helper. “I told him, ‘We’ll fi nish working these cows fi rst,’ but my

daddy said, ‘No, you’ll go right now,’” Shellenberger says. “I got the job that day, and I’m very indebted to my daddy for that.” When Shellenberger fi rst started, he says they sold about two or three incandescents. Now he says you can’t tell where town starts and stops. Like the others, Larry has seen the industry go through many changes.

“I remember when they told me I was going to have a com- puter. I said ‘I don’t want it.’ Now I can’t make a day without it in that company truck,” Shellenberger says. “I’m always tickled to learn something new; it makes me a better employee.” Perhaps learning is the line that ties all three of these em- ployees’ stories together.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96