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Mike Hooper


by Tory Tedder “What brought you to OEC?” It's one of my first


questions when doing this column. Over and over again I receive the same answer, “My [fill in the blank] told me it’s a good place to work.” (When it is time to write my own interview, my answer will be the same.) Another constant is, for the most part, once you join the OEC family, you are here to the end. Mike Hooper is no different. Hooper came to OEC in 1979, just two years


after graduating from Lexington High School, at the suggestion of former OEC serviceman Mike Newville, his neighbor. He has made a lifetime of friendships here. "We'd work together all day, hang out all evening, and get up the next day to do it all again," he chuckled. "We've slowed down since then." After 34 years, he is eligible to retire, but with two kids in college, he isn’t ready quite yet. “I’m looking forward to my days being my own and


doing whatever I want,” concedes Hooper, but his tone suggests he’s equally content to show up at OEC every day and take care of the things he’s taken care of for years. Te technology Hooper uses to do his job has


changed. “Operations are great today,” he says. “Te switches installed [on the lines] and improved wire size allows for back-feeding” resulting in fewer outages for a shorter amount of time. Hooper explains that if an account goes off for some reason, OEC can reroute the flow of electricity via an alternate path similar to how you take an alternate road if the main highway is shut down for construction. Hooper's primary responsibility is the Advanced


Meter Infrastructure (AMI) system, which reads all OEC meters four times a day. He maintains the AMI database monitoring meters and troubleshooting when a meter misses a reading, and works with the software developers to continually improve the system. When power is rerouted by operations, Hooper has to communicate the new "driving directions" to the AMI system. Hooper and his wife of 23 years, Bonnita, have


Mike Hooper, from top to bottom: Dec. 2012 employee portrait; Hooper sitting at first, waiting for his opportunity to advance for OEC's softball team at the Western Farmers Electric Co-op softball tournament, circa 1992; Hooper loading up for a day in the field, circa 1985.


two kids: 20-year-old Bailie attends Oklahoma City Community College and wants to teach elementary school. Mikey, 18 years, attends the University of Oklahoma and plans to enter the Price Business School. Both graduated from Norman North High School.


News Magazine 13


Co-op People


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