Retiree reflects on 30-year career at cooperative’s New Madrid Power Plant
While many count down the days until retirement, Ed Bickerstaff was not as eager to leave behind Associated Electric Cooperative and his work at the New Madrid Power Plant. “You always have reservations about retiring. It’s a big step,” he said.
Bickerstaff joined Associated Electric, which generates the wholesale power supply for six regional and 51 local electric cooperatives in three states, back in 1985. At the time, he was on the road doing construction on nuclear power plants and working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, away from his wife and son. The job at Associated brought him home so he could be with his family. “Associated is a great company to work for, Bickerstaff said. “They look after their people.”
Hired as a journeyman welder and mechanic, Bickerstaff advanced in his work at the power plant. He was promoted to mechanical maintenance supervisor in 2006, an achievement he marks as a proud moment in his career. “I worked hard and got there. I kept my nose to the grindstone. I worked more overtime than I needed to and tried to learn the systems. … I’ve had a lot of people come up and tell me I was a good supervisor. I treated people with respect; you have to treat people with respect to gain respect.”
Bickerstaff said working at Associated opened his eyes to the energy sector. He said many people in rural Missouri are on fixed incomes, and Associated does its best to meet its mission of providing economical, reliable electricity for its members. “Associated strives to have affordable energy. They care about people.”
“I’m very appreciative of what Associated has done for me in the last 30 years,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of good people. It’s a great place to work. I can’t say enough about it. As an organization they’re top-notch.”
Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. is owned by and provides wholesale power to six regional and 51 local electric cooperative systems in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma that serve more than 875,000 customers. Associated’s mission is to provide an economical and reliable power supply and support services to its members, including the “Take Control & Save” energy efficiency program, www.TakeControlAndSave.coop. Associated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.
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