Lingemann set to retire this month

Staying devoted to a single organization for more than 35 years is a remarkable achievement — AEC’s Kevin Lingemann not only accomplished this but also excelled at it. 

Lingemann was born in Yankton, South Dakota, to Eva and Leo Lingemann. He grew up with four brothers, Bill, Kenny, Rich and Lyle. After graduating from Ethan High School, he completed lineman certification at Mitchel Vo-Tech in South Dakota. From there, he traveled south and began working on AEC projects for Oklahoma contractor, O&M. 

Lingemann’s journey with AEC began on Jan. 16, 1989, and he has shouldered numerous responsibilities since then. His personal life paralleled his professional commitment with his marriage to Esther Silvey shortly after joining AEC. Unfortunately, after a brave five-year battle with cancer, Esther passed away in 2020.

In 1996, Lingemann had ascended to the role of a foreman, leading his first crew consisting of George Hoggard, Terry Ryel and Allen Anderson. By 2014, AEC recognized his exceptional skills with a promotion to assistant director of operations. Over the next two years, he diligently traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, every six months for training. His dedication earned the additional title of certified loss control professional. Reflecting on his journey, Lingemann is proud of this certification. He shared that he is most grateful that, after more than 35 years, he never experienced a serious injury. His commitment to safety has been instrumental in keeping AEC employees secure on the lines and inside the building.

“He’s the man! He is the one you want by your side,” said Ryel, who retired from AEC as Manager of Marketing and Public Relations. “We worked together for 20 years for the Cherokee Fire Department and have enjoyed hunting and fishing together. Kevin has been my dear friend in the good times and the bad.” In 2022, Lingemann asked Ryel to be his best man for his wedding to longtime friend Rebecca Knopf; however, Ryel got COVID the day before and missed the wedding. No doubt there will be many more days of fun and laughter in the future for these retired friends.

Lingemann has seen some significant changes in his 35-plus years with AEC. At the beginning of his career as a lineman, he actually climbed poles. Now, there is less climbing and an increased use of bucket trucks — saving wear and tear on the body and increasing safety. Technology continues to change rapidly, and Lingemann says he won’t miss those updates on his computer. “Kevin has been a great asset to AEC, with a vast knowledge of the system and being a key member of the operations department,” said CEO Greg Goetz. “His experience as a lineman, working foreman, and assistant director of operations has been invaluable to our safety program. We all wish Kevin the best in retirement.”

There are memories the AEC crews will share forever. Clint Ream, present AEC staking engineer, and Lingemann agreed that the time spent in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina was eventful. Lessons learned in Oklahoma ice storms and blizzards did not all apply to the terrain they saw in Louisiana, let alone after a hurricane. 

When Kevin and Rebecca married, Kevin inherited a son, Jeremy, and his wife, Stephanie. He is also blessed with two grandkids, Charlotte (Charlie) and Jacen. Rebecca has some items on her honey-do list at their new house, but she knows Kevin will be spending more time at the gun range and just piddling in his shop with his dog, Rufus, at his side. 

“I plan to enjoy a little piece of retirement as well,” said Rebecca, who will begin working part-time in January 2025. “I plan to play more tennis and pickleball. Together, we will go on more fishing trips, travel and eat more ice cream with the grandkids!”

Kevin’s retirement plans match Rebecca’s well. “We will watch the grandkids play sports. However, I look forward to real road trips to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and Alaska. We can throw in some fishing and hunting between some of those trips to rest up,” he said. “AEC has been a great place to work, but I am ready to enjoy retirement with Rebecca, the kids, the grandkids, and, of course, Rufus!”