Roberts celebrates 35th anniversary with Associated Electric Cooperative
Michael “Mike” L. Roberts of Lilbourn has completed 35 years at Associated Electric Cooperative, working at the New Madrid Power Plant.
Roberts, a warehouseman, worked previously in operations and maintenance. “I’ve been all over the plant, even worked in the coal yard, and worked on just about everything out there. I have a good knowledge of parts, and that is a big plus,” he said.
Some 15,000 parts stocked in the warehouse are easy to find on the computer, compared to the days of manual records. Roberts primarily disperses parts but also may help unload trucks, check packing slips against what was ordered and enter data into the computer. He’s one of eight employees who staff the warehouse.
Roberts first landed at New Madrid Power Plant as a temporary laborer in 1979 and became a full-time general utility in 1981. About six months later, he advanced to auxiliary operator first period and later to assistant control room operator. When a mechanic first period job opened in 1984, he took it and moved from a swing shift to a preferred day shift. That began 28 years in maintenance during which he progressed to journeyman mechanic. He moved to the warehouse in 2012.
Among the changes Roberts has experienced at the plant is the switch to low-sulfur coal to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 90 percent. “When we switched to Western coal, it was brought in by rail instead of barge. I worked in coal yard maintenance for 11 years on the railroad car dumper and all the new equipment at the time,” he said. Roberts also experienced the change from analog to digital while in operations and the addition of environmental controls to further improve air quality.
Reflecting on his years at the power plant and ongoing employment there, Roberts said he has enjoyed all three work experiences. “I would say mechanical maintenance was my favorite. We worked on something new and different every day. Any day you came in, you didn’t exactly know what you’d be working on,” he said.
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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