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In the electricity business, it is easy to focus on the power lines, transformers and poles as the key components for serving Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative members. But buildings, offices and vehicles are essential, too.
“From the dirt up and property line to property line, it is our job to keep the facilities safe, comfortable and productive for employees to serve the members as well as possible,” said Greg Starek, manager of purchasing and facilities. “For members coming in the door, we want a feeling that is inviting, and we take pride in making sure that our members, who are also owners, can be proud that we take good care of what we have and make the best use of what we have.”
That is a pretty tall order for a staff of seven Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative employees covering multiple buildings, office space, vehicles and the land around 26 substations. But a can-do attitude and diverse set of skills among the group keeps everything in good order.
“Safety comes first in all we do, both for employees and anyone who comes through the door,” Starek said. “Structurally, with several large buildings there is a lot to keep up with and of course a lot goes into keeping vehicles in good shape to get our linemen and service employees where they need to be to serve members.”
Vehicle fleet management is a major part of the team’s focus, with more than 150 vehicles and motorized equipment that is important for maintaining the power lines, installing new service and responding to members’ needs.
“Our maintenance program ensures that we can keep these guys on the road and ready to go all the time because that is what it takes,” Starek said. As a former lineman himself, he knows the demands on both the personnel and the equipment when members are waiting for the power to come back on. “It isn’t uncommon for us to have 250,000 miles on these bucket trucks over about a five-year period. That takes a lot of effort and attention to detail to get the maximum life out of them.”
Providing “other duties as required” is a big part of the job as well, from assisting in setting up the TVEC Annual Membership Meeting to taking care of the occasional wild animal problem.
“I’ve pulled skunks out of ceilings and snakes out from under buildings,” Starek said. “It will keep you on your toes, but we have some really good people working here and I think members should be proud to know the effort and attitude that this group has to really help the co-op get the most out of the facilities we have.”