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When we highlighted the Columbus, Ohio office last year, we spoke with Paul Melton and other tenured employees, including Jim Oldham and Kim Triplet, who celebrated their 25th anniversary two years ago. “We have a running joke about who is going to outlast the other,” said Paul.
“It’s surreal that it has been 25 years; it doesn’t feel that long. But then a lot has changed. My body tells me it has been 25 years! The passage of time is noticeable by the people whot have come and gone and thinking about them brings back memories.” Paul has held many positions all at the Columbus office working. He started as a meter reader, was a lead, a supervisor in the office, and did scheduling for meter readers. “I went back in the field when I was asked because there was a need for experienced readers but I was still able to fill in at the office until that need was filled. Our team of 28 to 30 meter readers eventually came down to four of us now with the introduction of smart meters.”
Paul used to train new hires about all the aspects of the job and the rules about reading gas meters. “If they didn’t pass the test, they didn’t stay. It is that important.” We don’t often have new people now but when we do, Mark Everly trains them in the office and our meter reading team works with them in the field to show them how we do the job so they can get different perspectives to develop their own methods.”
“One of the things I still like best is interacting with the customers. We serve businesses and residences and I look forward to seeing some of the same people, like the security guard at a business who lets me in once a month. I also like the challenges of problem-solving. I treat it like a game to see if I can find new ways to do things, see how long it takes, and make it more efficient. Each day, in addition to our regular routes we are given accounts each morning. They could be reviewing a previous read or service that doesn’t match up. We never know what they are going to be. Our routes have to be completed each day, but I like to complete the TOBs as well throughout my route because you never know what will come up the next day. We can have anywhere from four to 30 of these to complete.”
Paul doesn’t like to talk about what is most proud of when asked, but he lives by the philosophy instilled in him by his first manager: Do the right thing. “I show up every day, and take the extra step, so I can take pride in knowing the job is completed the right way.”
Editor’s Note: Congratulations Mark Everly on celebrating your 15th anniversary this month!
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