Steve Wilson bids farewell to co-op career
Steve Wilson and his wife, Jeanne, have made a winter tradition of finding the best seafood festivals in the country since they left New Hampshire 28 years ago for Steve’s new job at ECE.
“That’s where it started,” said Steve, referring not only to his love of seafood but to the start of his 34-year career as a lineman. “I wouldn’t have traded this job for anything in the world. I love it and I’ll miss it.”
An Iowa native, Steve learned to climb poles as a telephone lineman in the Army. He got out of the military thinking he’d take the class needed to get a job with a telephone company. When the class was canceled, he signed up for the electric lineman program.
“I was married with two little kids, and I wanted something that was going to be good for my family,” he said.
Steve was one of six classmates hired by a New England utility to work in New Hampshire. He and Jeanne liked the town and the people, but the desire to be closer to their families brought the Wilsons back to the Midwest six years later. They settled in Braham when Steve was hired by ECE in June 1990. He became a crew foreman in 2005.
“There’s a bond (among linemen) I don’t believe you can find anywhere else, in any workforce,” Steve said. “Every one of us would put our life in the hands of our co-workers. We trust each other. It’s a very close family.”
He’s been proud to work for a co-op that is “hands-down number one in the way we are equipped. ECE provides you with the tools you need to do your job and to make sure you’re safe when you’re doing it.”
Working outdoors has been a favorite part of the job for Steve, but he admits it’s gotten tougher, especially when it’s 15 below. “Your mind says you’re going to do it, but your body says no. Your attitude doesn’t change. You love your job, but it just gets harder to do the work.”
He and Jeanne are looking forward to taking their fifth wheel somewhere warm in the winter. They also plan to spend more time at their cabin on Lake Minnewaska and enjoy their grandchildren, Landon, Logan and Emma.