Retirements offer new opportunities for members of IBEW
The Operations Department at La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) has selected Garrett Hammer as a new Equipment Operator in its Pagosa Springs office, with Journeyman Lineman Tim Baker moving to Serviceman in Pagosa, and Journeyman Lineman Aaron Galloway joining the Dispatch team in Durango.
LPEA’s Operations Department maintains the cooperative’s electrical distribution system, including construction and regular maintenance, plus repair of equipment in the event of an outage. Its workers are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Local IBEW 111 26 and 26A).
“We’re starting to see retirements and natural attrition of long-time employees here at LPEA,” said Steve Gregg, manager of operations. “It’s opening up new opportunities for those already working for the cooperative, but also allowing us to hire some new folks.”
New Equipment Operator Garrett Hammer is a native of Pagosa Springs, though he attended high school in Arizona. He returned to Pagosa Springs in 1999 and enjoyed a temporary warehouse position with LPEA, which introduced him to the opportunities within the cooperative. His experience includes overhead distribution pole line construction with LPEA’s construction subsidiary WESODI as well as cell tower construction for entities such as AT&T and Verizon. He also has 10 years experience as an electrician in the Pagosa area.
“I feel really fortunate to get this position,” said Hammer, who will assist the Journeyman Linemen in their work with utility line construction. “There are a lot of good guys who I work with here. It’s a good fit for me, and I’m happy to be here.”
Journeyman Lineman Tim Baker, who within the last year relocated from Durango to Pagosa, now moves to Serviceman for LPEA’s Archuleta County district. In the electric utility industry, a serviceman focuses on direct work with customers, upgrading electrical systems, setting meters, and working with local electricians. LPEA’s servicemen are also on-call for outages and are the first in the field, troubleshooting the cause of an outage and determining next steps for restoration of power.
A Durango native, Baker is an experienced horseman, and worked on various ranches in the Four Corners before joining LPEA 22 years ago. Originally a temporary Groundsman, he then took a full time Meter Reader position. By the early ‘90s, he’d joined the apprenticeship program and earned his Journeyman Lineman.
Journeyman Lineman Aaron Galloway, though born in Casper, Wyo., is nearly a Durango native, having moved to town when he was five. Galloway joined LPEA in 2005 after garnering broad experience in the industry with Sturgeon Electric, Par Electric and WESODI. He earned his Journeyman Lineman while with Par Electric in Denver. He is also a recent recipient of the IBEW Life Saving Award, a national honor presented to individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to save lives.
In his new position, Galloway 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.
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.