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Randy Brown Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary with Bermex

July 21, 2021

Randy Brown Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary with Bermex

In the days when it was common to walk 10-12 miles a day (making a challenge for new hires), Randy Brown slipped right into his new walking routes. He came prepared for the workout, having been a valet for close to seven years. “We literally ran all day; it was good cardio. I like to track miles and it was normal to put on 12-14 miles a day.”
Randy has worked his entire career with Bermex. He worked as an electric meter reader for 10 years and did collections for a short while. When a utility switched to automated readings (AMI), Randy began water meter reading. Now as a field service technician, he is back on electric for meter audits and visual safety inspections, as well as disconnects and reconnects.

Early in his career, Randy’s attention to detail and willingness to help his teammates were noticed by management and after two years he was regularly training new hires. “When I was newly trained, I just received the basics and ended up calling my supervisors with questions until I gained experience and could help others. As I got more confident, I became more thorough and developed a checklist for training. It made me feel good when people got out there by themselves and didn’t have problems.” Randy especially focused on teaching team members to be cautious of dogs and homeowners, and to be prepared before going into the field. For homeowners, he developed a script along with best practices and talking points so employees could protect themselves by being on the defensive rather than the offensive. He also communicates with supervisors and the utility to flag residences with difficult residents for future visits. He makes notes because the inspection route is on a two-year cycle. Randy calculates he has trained between 100-150 people.

When you work this many years in the field, there are always interesting stories to share. In Randy’s case, he recalled an instance of being chased by turkeys. “It was actually in a neighborhood, not in the country. He found out that some neighbors fed them and a few times a year, they become more territorial.” He also said he was pursued by a raccoon that was likely rabid. It was very aggressive, Randy described, “It came after me from around the house. I picked up a stick from a brush pile, but it didn’t stop it long enough for me to get away, so I pepper sprayed it. By then the homeowner came out with a shovel and the raccoon eventually ran off behind the house into the brush pile. When the husband came home it must have been quite a sight to see the two of us with a stick and shovel moving around the yard. After I left, I called Bermex and animal control. I saw tricycles around the house and was concerned that the raccoon could come back.”

Randy enjoys working outdoors, keeping physically active, and knowing that he has the trust of his supervisors to get the job done. He is proud of being on time, dependable, and sharing his knowledge to help others on the team be successful too. “Our small group is a team. We get on the Teams app to work together. We’ve been through a lot and have formed a bond — even outside of work. I’ve worked with Francois Nanguy, Abel Sanchez, and Marcus Kelly for close to 20 years. Vic Ervin and Ben McDowell’s daughters graduated with my daughter.” Randy explained that the family atmosphere and comradery are a big part of what has kept him with Bermex.

Randy has been married for 21 years. He and his daughter like to go to the movies, and he has kept ticket stubs from all the movies they have gone to. He plans to make a scrapbook one day with the collection. In addition to his daughter, he has an older stepdaughter.

Three years ago, Randy completed the section of the Appalachian Trail, starting in Georgia and ending in North Carolina. “My friends got me into backpacking (after I had been with Bermex for five or six years) and the bug bit me,” Randy explained. “I had been hiking a section of the trail for two years and finally completed the 71 miles. I carried this Bermex towel during the hike so I would have it with me at the completion of the Georgia section because walking so many miles at Bermex gave me the confidence to take up hiking.

“I’ve calculated that over 10 years on the job at Bermex, I have walked over 24,000 miles. My experience in finding comfortable footwear to walk my routes prepared me for hiking the trail. When I first started at Bermex I had so many blisters and my feet hurt, so I did some research on footwear. Now, both on the job and hiking, I wear hiking boots with tough Vibram soles, insoles, and SmartWool socks (winter and summer). Even in the humid southern conditions, I can take my boots off at the end of the day and my feet are dry and I haven’t had a blister in years.

Vic and Ben call me ‘the boot guy.’ I am a scout leader for Trail Life USA. I teach that different boots are comfortable for different people, so it pays to try several till you find the best one. A tip many people don’t think of, especially for steep hills and ridge hiking is to keep your toenails trimmed very short or you may end up losing the nail on your big toe!”

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Bermex Staff

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