In his 23-year-career with AEP Ohio, Distribution System Supervisor Fred Walter has been around: Columbus, Athens, Lancaster and Crooksville. He has seen enough to appreciate the enduring safety success of McConnelsville Service Center. Walter started leading the garage in January and got to witness the team hit a huge milestone: 45 years without an employee missing a day due to injury.

“Forty five years is just an unreal number to me to stay safe that long. Many generations of linemen have been through here during that time,” Walter says. “There have been a lot of cultural changes that have occurred in 45 years. It’s hard to imagine.

“I mean, 1975 is pretty much the year I was born. It’s just a really long time.”

McConnelsville is unique in that all 10 members of its line department have reached the highest level our lineworkers can achieve. Not only are they experienced but they benefit from sharing years of earned knowledge.

“These guys take a real sense of pride and ownership in what they do. That’s been passed down through generations and it continues to get passed down today,” Walter says. “We have a good mix of more experienced and newer lineworkers and it’s a real tight-knit group.”

Morgan County is very rural (Walter claims it’s the only county in Ohio without a four-lane highway.) McConnelsville employees live and work in the same community and know everyone who lives in it. It’s common to run into customers in town or at the grocery store, and they’re proud to represent AEP Ohio.

Walter says the intimacy of the group is a big advantage for working well together and fosters a constant focus on always being safe.

“They’re all friends. They farm together. They ride ATVs together. They hunt and fish together. They’re volunteer firefighters together,” Walter says. “This camaraderie plays into the workplace because they know each other so well.

“Trust runs deep. They really believe in being their brother’s keeper.”

Published October 13, 2020

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