This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
NOW


“ T


THEN


Harmon Electric Association Manager Charles Paxton started his career in the electric cooperative fi eld in 1976, when he was hired as a groundman on Harmon Electric’s crews. Paxton is pictured to the right with his early-day fellow crew members. He became manager of Harmon Electric Association, headquartered in Hollis, Okla., in 2008. Courtesy photos of OAEC and Harmon Electric


I have a better perspective on how to support our linemen


because I know what it means to be out there in the fi eld. - Charles Paxton, Manager, Harmon Electric Association


hirteen-year-old Charles Paxton worked as a sacker at Becks grocery store in Hollis, Okla. Coming from a family of limited means, Paxton learned the value of hard work early on. Although he probably did not realize it at the time, helping and serv- ing others came as second nature to Paxton. After all, how many 13-year-olds would en- joy working as a sacker? But, from an early age, Paxton learned how to make the most of every opportunity—a trait that has served him well throughout his lifetime. As for- tune would have it, across the street from Becks grocery store was Harmon Electric Association, a cooperative that was instru- mental in bringing rural electrifi cation to parts of southwest Oklahoma and north Texas. While bagging customers’ groceries, Paxton enjoyed watching the hustle and bustle of the cooperative across the street. “I would look across the street and see the trucks come and go and the linemen loading transformers and materials,” Paxton says. “I thought it would be a great place to work. One day, the line superintendent asked me if I was interested in working there. I jumped at the chance, and didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.”


Upon his high school graduation in 1976, Paxton was hired as a groundman.


At that time, opportunities for a lineman’s education were scarce. Paxton hit the ground running and did on-the-job training with other linemen from Harmon Electric’s crews. He attended linemen training classes once a year at a vo-tech school in Stillwater, Okla. Paxton spent 13 years working on the lines, holding several positions including: ground- man, lineman, construction crewmember and digger truck operator. Then, he was of- fered an opportunity to come inside and work with the membership on a different level: Paxton became the cooperative’s pub- lic relations and marketing manager, a posi- tion he held for 20 years. In 2008, Paxton accepted the position as general manager of Harmon Electric Association.


“Coming to do indoor work was different


at fi rst, but I had a really good boss,” Paxton says with a smile. “I’ve enjoyed every position I have held. I believe what helps is having good people to work with. I have a better perspective on how to support our linemen because I know what it means to be out there in the fi eld.”


Now, in his 37th year of working at Harmon Electric, Paxton considers himself a blessed and fulfi lled man. As he looks back, he realizes working across the street from the cooperative was not the only infl uencing fac- tor for his career. As a child, Paxton closely


watched his great-uncle, Curtis Hays, who was a lineman and later became manager of Harmon Electric Association. Little did he know, Paxton was following his great-uncle’s legacy, a man whom Paxton considered “very special.”





Indeed, according to Paxton, it takes a spe- cial kind of person to become a lineman. Not everyone is cut out for it.


“It’s not just a job,” he says. “We’re in the


service business. We’re here for the members. There will be times during holidays you can’t be with your family or you miss school events with the kids. The family of a lineman has to be understanding and supportive.” Paxton has passed on the values of hard work and dedication to his children. His son, Aaron Paxton, has followed in his father’s footsteps and has entered the electric coop- erative family in full force. Aaron–who ac- quired his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma, and has recently received his Certifi ed Public Accountant license–is the chief fi nancial of- fi cer at Southwest Rural Electric Association, headquartered in Tipton, Okla.


Paxton has instilled in his children that, at the end of the day, it goes back to helping people. And that is the reason why, he says, after 37 years, “I don’t regret anything.”


MAY 2013 19


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  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148  |  Page 149  |  Page 150  |  Page 151  |  Page 152