By Tara Miller, Manager of Communications
Reflecting on 45 Years in the Business
Longtime employee Doug Schley is ready to disconnect from work and officially embrace retired life after 45 years in the electric industry.
Doug earned his degree in electronics from Mitchell Technical College in 1978. Since joining the cooperative in 1985, he has worked as an anode installer/corrosion technician, storage heater installer, plant accountant/purchasing agent and, most recently, metering system coordinator. Before that, he performed work for InterCounty Electric starting in 1980 when the Plano substation was built.
Doug said the electric industry has made significant strides since the 1980s.
“Automatic voltage ranging meters were a major improvement. Now meters can detect the proper voltage level and adjust as needed,” he said. “We used to have to match up the meter with the specific voltage, and if it was off, it caused a lot of problems. I don’t miss those days.” He added that automatic meter reading technology was another game changer for the electric industry, eliminating the need to physically audit every meter across the service area.
We could type an endless list of Doug’s accomplishments during his time here. He shared a few memories, some fond and some not-so-fond. One event he vividly recalls was a storm in 2005 that knocked out power for 17 days in some areas.
“The storm hit that night, and I was on the phone ordering materials at 10 p.m. Everything was here by 8 a.m. and we made things happen,” he said. “There were some long days, but we all worked together to make sure our members got power restored.”
Doug also took the lead in building one of the most robust metering communications networks in the region. At the time, Central Electric’s metering system was a model for many electric cooperatives across the country. He continued building on that success with the recent upgrade to Verizon meters. Since 2018, more than 10,000 Verizon meters have been installed, bringing Central Electric into the next generation of metering technology.
Family, Faith & Giving Back
Doug tied the knot with his wife Joy in June 1978. Together, they have three children and five grandchildren, with another on the way. Their daughters Laura, Jenna and Leah all live in Mitchell.
Doug is known to be a kind, friendly and compassionate person who cares about others (and his horses). When he’s not at work, he volunteers for Davison County Search and Rescue, generously sharing his time and talents to assist in looking for missing people. He has also been an active member of Zion Lutheran Church for the past 40 years.
Doug’s last day of work is December 29, and Joy retired from her nursing career earlier this year, so the couple will definitely have more time on their hands in 2024. They plan to travel, visit family and spend more time with the grandkids.
The crew at Central Electric wishes Doug and Joy the very best as they officially plug into retired life.