June 30th was William Weve’s last day at Alfalfa Electric Cooperative, and July 1st was his first day of a well-deserved retirement – more than 35 years in the co-op world.
William was born in the Masonic Hospital in Cherokee, Oklahoma, to Joe and Rexene Weve. He graduated from Cherokee High School. Three days after graduation, William left for Truckee, California. He worked for the Forest Service as a Smoke Jumper. After one year of some incredible work there, he returned to Cherokee, where he worked for his dad on the farm.
William began working for AEC on January 5, 1987. He was drawn to AEC because he heard it was a respectable workplace with excellent benefits. It seemed like an easy decision because he had always wanted to be a lineman. William began his career with AEC as a laborer. That first day is still vivid in his mind. “I spent the day rolling up solid copper primary wire with a butterfly reel outside Cherokee on an aluminum wire upgrade job.” In 1992, he became the Clearing Crew Chief; by 1994, he was an Apprentice Lineman. William took a job with Mountain Parks Co-op in Winter Park, CO, in 1997. He returned to AEC in 2000 and worked as the South Area Serviceman. In 2004, William returned to Colorado, where he worked for San Miguel Electric Cooperative. On June 1, 2007, he made his final move back to AEC. He had been the East Area Serviceman until his retirement.
William had many mentors in his early days. He shared some thoughts when asked about those mentors and the lessons they taught him. “Many of the linemen I started with are long gone now – but not forgotten. They instilled troubleshooting skills and just a love for the job. I made some lifetime friends on the job.”
Scott Cudmore, AEC Manager of Operations and Engineering, has many fond memories of William. He knew the members in the East Area respected William for the work he did for them. Scott also got to see another side of William that makes him smile to this day. “During a friendly argument, William would threaten to do a chicken dance, and declared, ‘bodies will be flying!’” Even though William avoided real confrontation, one of his favorite sayings was, “If you’re gonna be a bear, be a Grizzly!” Scott concluded, “I’m really going to miss William.”
William has worked through many changes at AEC. When he started working at AEC, all the trucks were orange. AEC had only one bucket truck, so the linemen did a great deal of climbing. The co-op did not use contractors, which meant the linemen built all of AEC’s lines.
The electric co-op industry itself is different. The equipment is much more advanced, and there are improved safety rules. William found some of the changes difficult to accept, but he adapted to them.
There were many opportunities at Alfalfa Electric Cooperative, and William took advantage of every experience. “You play the hand you are dealt and do the best you can. At the same time, you thank God for all of your
blessings in life.” William was a bit surprised at how rewarding it was to restore members’ power in the worst conditions. His members appreciated his work ethic. He worked hard and has no regrets. The comaraderie of the linemen and other AEC employees is something William will miss. He has many countless memories from his time at AEC. His best memories involved working during major storms alongside his great friends. William wants the members in his area to know he will truly miss them. “I served a bunch of awesome members.”So, what does retirement look like for William? “I won’t be married to my phone 24/7, and I will be able to sleep when it is storming.” He plans to enjoy more time with his family, trips to the lake, and riding his motorcycle.
William does have something else in mind during his early retirement days. He and his fiancé, Sherri Ambecrombie, will be riding to Sturgis, South Dakota, for the 82nd Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The couple plan to be married on August 5th while enjoying the rally.
As a retired AEC employee, William encourages others to join the co-op family. “With its good benefits and pay, Alfalfa Electric is one of the best places to work in this area. If you get a chance to get your foot in the door, you won’t regret it.”
Greg Goetz, Alfalfa Electric CEO and General Manager, had positive words for William, “You can gauge an employee’s value by the satisfaction of the members, and William was very well thought of by the members he served. We wish William the best in his retirement and thank him for his years of service to the cooperative.