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CIMARRON ELECTRIC Continued from page 21

When he started, linemen had to climb poles to do any pole work because there were no bucket trucks. Meter reading was done manually, but by the time he retired in 2008, Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) technology had taken over.

One of Garrett’s most challenging moments as a general manager was the 2002 ice storm that left 21,000 poles destroyed and cost 35 million in dam- ages.

At that time, David Maehs was the director of op- erations and in charge of a crew of approximately 40. With the devastating effects of the ice storm, Maehs went from managing 40 to managing 425 as neigh- boring crews stepped up to help Cimarron Electric safely restore power to its members. It took 38 days before every member had power back. Although there was concern that members would grumble during the long wait, Garrett said most members were understanding. Instead of complain- ing, members were grateful to see the line crews working tirelessly on their behalf. Maehs’ sound management skills and diligence – ensuring that every lineman was safe during that time – earned Garrett’s deepest respect. In fact, Gar- rett said the two most important people of his career were David Maehs and Jack Steele.

“Jack Steele was brilliant. He taught me that the member comes fi rst. We always had to remember they were the ones we were working for. And David was the modern day Jack Steele,” Garrett said. Garrett, now retired, said what he misses most

about coming to work every day is seeing the many friends he made along the way. When asked what kept him going for 27 years as general manager he said, “People helping people” – a tradition that has not changed.

Today at Cimarron Electric

Cimarron Electric currently serves 14,150 meters on 4,300 miles of line in the counties of Kingfi sh- er, Blaine, Major, Dewey, Custer, Garfi eld, Logan, Canadian and Oklahoma. General Manager Mark Snowden said the cooperative continues to build on the legacy left by the pioneers who founded Cimar- ron Electric.

Snowden was fi rst employed at Cimarron in 1998

as a member services representative. He took over as general manager in 2009. Under his leadership, the cooperative’s staff members – also known as “leader- ship team” – serve the members each day focusing on affordability, reliability and accountability. Cimar- ron continues to progress in the use of technology with plans to provide linemen with iPads to track outage reports and locations, a technology that will be available to line crews in a matter of months. Randy Duffy, plant assessment advisor, has worked for Cimarron since 1971. Duffy said tech- nological advancements have signifi cantly impacted the co-op’s daily operations. According to Snowden, the new features brought by the iPads will enhance safety and effi ciency for the linemen. “We have so much to be proud of at Cimarron

Electric. We are making changes that are good for our time,” Snowden said. “When we’re gone, the next generation will do even more. It’s important

Citrus Burst recipe contest

Win $50 and

be published in Oklahoma Living!

lemon • lime • orange • grapefruit Recipes must be received no later than February 1, 2012.

RULES: Submit recipe to or Oklahoma Living Magazine Recipe Contest; PO Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154. Include full name, co-op (if applicable), phone number, email and mailing address. Recipe must feature lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit. Must be original or family recipe. One entry per person. Entries must be received by February 1, 2012 to be eligible to win. Do not submit photos or artwork. Five winners will be chosen to receive a $50 giſt card and will have their recipes published in the April 2012 edition of Oklahoma Living. Recipes will not be returned and will become property of Oklahoma Living for use in print, on our website, and on our social media sites. Employees of OAEC, Oklahoma Living, and OKRE&T Credit Union not eligible.

to change in a respectful way while remaining af- fordable, reliable and accountable to our members.” Jeff Hyatt, director of communications, considers it a privilege to serve members in rural Oklahoma. “The relationship you develop with co-workers and members makes an impact on you. You really need to come to the country to see who true Okla- homans are,” Hyatt said.

Snowden recalls instances when members of Ci- marron have asked linemen to go home and stay warm on a cold winter night instead of working to get power restored.

“They (the members) don’t like their power off,

but they’re survivors. How can you not love these people?” Snowden said. “It is so rewarding to work for a company where the number one priority is to help people.”

Cimarron Electric held its 75th Annual meeting this year on August 6 at the Kingfi sher County Fair- grounds where Cimarron’s background and history were celebrated.

“We’re drinking from wells we didn’t dig. We’re crossing bridges we didn’t build,” Hyatt said. Gene Perdue, a member of Cimarron Electric for nearly 60 years echoes similar sentiments. “It (Cimarron Electric) was the best thing that has ever happened to our community. It has created a lot of memories,” Perdue said.

Cimarron Electric continues to build on a legacy by serving its members with excellence and looks back at its origins with pride.

“New generations will continue to come and take

over, and I hope this legacy will never be lost. This is not old news; it is our story and our history,” Gar- rett said. OL

Win $25

Guess where in Oklahoma this photo was taken and win a $25 gift certificate! If more than one person guesses the photo correctly, we will have a drawing to determine the winner.

To be eligible to win, you MUST “like” our Facebook page. Submit your guess by December 10 to Oklahoma Living magazine Guess Where! PO Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154; or email One guess per person. Employees of OAEC, Oklahoma Living and OKRE&T Credit Union not eligible.

To enter a photo, send photos of locations in Oklahoma to the above address, or email photos with 300 dpi to

contest, you will win an Oklahoma Living travel mug! Congratulations to November’s winner Sheila Good!

DECEMBER 2011 31 If your photo is chosen for the

Guess where!

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