Lineworker Mike Wise is celebrating 50 years with AEP – all at the Van Wert Service Center. We talked to him about why he loves AEP Ohio and what drives his dedication.
What brought you to AEP?
I started at the Van Wert service building right out of high school. I was 18. I worked at Balyeat’s Coffee Shop in high school and the Ohio Power Company area manager came and asked me to apply. I had never thought about working for AEP.
What was it like working at AEP in the ’70s?
Well the trucks have changed drastically. Back then we had one 55-foot bucket truck, one line truck and a service truck with a crank out ladder, with five guys on the line truck, two guys on the bucket truck and one guy on the ladder truck. Nowadays just about everybody has their own truck.
What’s kept you at the company for so long?
I didn’t think I’d be here 50 years but I always knew I’d spend my entire career here. I’ve always felt secure. It’s steady work – you work smart, you work safe. It’s been challenging sometimes, being out in the weather. But that’s part of the fun of it. Especially during storm work when you’re out working with customers to get their lights back on.
How many more years will you be working?
I don’t know what the record at AEP is but in Van Wert I think it’s 55 years. We used to have an office manager who was 17 when she started and 72 when she retired. I’ve been telling people I’m trying to break her record.
Any retirement plans?
I’d like to travel. My wife and I (married 50 years in July), tour a different state each year. We hope to visit all 50 states and I’d say we’ve seen about 40 now. Some states seem more interesting than others, but you don’t know until you actually visit them. Each state is different and each surprises you with what they have to offer. It’s just like the people you work with: everybody brings a little something different to the company – that’s what brings the whole thing together. That’s what makes AEP great.
Posted June 21, 2019