Journeyman lineman/serviceman takes on system oversight position
“I’d been considering applying for a dispatch position for years, but I was still having too much fun working outages and being in the field,” said McKonly. “I feel very fortunate that I worked 26 years doing line work and never had a lost-time accident.”
In his new position, McKonly, along with the entire Dispatch team, oversees system operations, monitoring power flows and voltage, fielding calls when problems occur within LPEA’s service area, trouble-shooting outages and dispatching crews to restore power. According to Steve Gregg, LPEA manager of operations, McKonly’s line experience promises to aid in his new role.
“Baker knows what our crews are facing during an outage or when working on equipment, and what information they need to facilitate their work in the field,” said Gregg. “Plus he’s been a member of LPEA’s operations for more than a decade. He knows the territory, the line crews and the equipment.”
Originally from Kentucky, McKonly began his career path in the utility industry in Kansas City working for the investor-owned utility Kansas City Power & Light. He served in the power plant, as a meter reader and began doing line work as an apprentice in 1985, ultimately earning his Journeyman lineman.
“I never realized that a co-op could be so vastly different,” said McKonly after moving to Durango and LPEA in 2001. “Line work is line work, but they operate under two different principles. In the investor-owned utility, it’s all about the dollar. Here it’s about the customer and the people. Plus here there is a better safety culture. We live it.”
Married with two children, McKonly enjoys cycling, and only slick roads keep him from riding his bike to work. Rock climbing is also a passion.
“It’s one of the things that brought me out here,” he said, noting that in Kansas City challenging climbs are hours away. “Here it’s in my backyard.”
LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with in excess of 42,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible. For additional information, contact LPEA at 970.247.5786 or visit www.lpea.coop.