AEP has 16,800 employees; only have worked at the company for 50 years. Vince Boggs joined this exclusive club June 10.

Boggs, a line crew supervisor in Steubenville, was 21 years old when he was hired in 1971. He had worked at a porcelain fabricating plant (pouring cement shower basins), at a brass manufacturer (making and installing insulators) and also at a steel mill. When he first interviewed at AEP he wasn’t sure what career path to pursue.

“The hiring manager asked whether I wanted to be a lineman or a meter reader. He said I was tall but probably didn’t weigh enough to be a lineman,” Boggs said. “I asked, ‘What job pays more?’ He said lineman. So I said, ‘I want that one.’ ”

Boggs said being a lineworker wasn’t as hard as he orginally thought. “All that hard, physical labor gave you good insight. You knew how to get things done.”

Boggs, who worked out of AEP Ohio’s East Liverpool building before it closed and folded into Steubenville in 2013, said at first he initially felt sorry for lineworkers climbing poles, digging holes and lugging equipment while wearing heavy gear in hot, humid temperatures. Once he started doing it himself, though, it wasn’t as bad as he thought.

“All that hard, physical labor gave you good insight. You knew how to get things done,” Boggs said. “We didn’t have the trucks and machinery that we do today. It was very rewarding coming up in that time.”

Boggs graduated from the school of hard knocks and said the culture and safety protections have changed … for the better. These days he stays focused on his work (“it’s a great hobby”), doesn’t dwell on the past (“you need to have a short memory – just keep looking forward”) and he’s already eyeing his retirement, which he says will come in the next year.

“I have several grandkids and I need to spend time with them. I go to church and play drums. And I have a lot of grass to cut,” Boggs said. “It’s hard to keep it all balanced. I like working but I can’t do everything. When I leave I’ll have no regrets.”

Published June 16, 2021

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