Individual and team awards were given to AECI employees at the New Madrid plant for their outstanding work in 2004. These employees were nominated by their peers for the Excel awards, which recognize the outstanding contributions employees make to the cooperative and their communities.
Assistant Control Room Operator Jeff Swilley demonstrates a positive attitude, the initiative to learn and a safety conscious work ethic that earned him recognition as the 2004 Employee of the Year in an Operational Field.
In his work there have been many times when Swilley's ability to solve problems has served AECI well. For example, when the plant switched from the south fly ash silo to the north silo, an intensive labor process, Swilley worked with the instrument shop, electricians, operations, maintenance and coal yard to get the system running. When the system would not run in automatic mode, he managed to get the system to operate in manual mode while another department worked on the auto programming.
Swilley has taken the initiative to acquire the skills that make him a valuable member of the team of employees at the power plant. He started in December 2000 as a general utility and immediately embarked upon two years of training that allowed him to advance to auxiliary operator. He continues to learn and recently finished training that enabled him to progress to assistant control room operator.
In 2003 and 2004, Gunnels became the key New Madrid representative for investigating, selecting and purchasing the new computerized maintenance management system. In addition, he worked closely with consultants in deciding which best business practices would be most effective for Associated to adopt.
When New Madrid becomes the first to go live with the new system in June, Gunnels will become one of the trainers and coordinator for the new system. The Innovative Action Team Award in 2004 went to a group of employees who used teamwork and individual skills to help the once-endangered peregrine falcon and develop a creative solution to the pigeon problem at the New Madrid plant.
Last year, six volunteers representing five departments developed a plan to expand the range of the falcon ---- reputed to be the No. 1 predator of pigeons.
Maintenance planner Dennis Meier, a lifetime birder, got others excited about the possibility of bringing the peregrine falcons to the power plant, located along the Mississippi River. Kevin Ivy and Jacques DeLisle, both journeyman instrumentation technician specialists, joined the team, as did Principal Environmental Coordinator Rusty Rice and Journeyman Mechanic Tim Pinnell. It took a group effort to ensure all critical aspects of the project were in place to improve the likelihood of the falcon chicks' survival, said the nominator.
Materials management supervisor David Childers did most of the correspondence required to obtain the federal permits and the proper food for the chicks. Team members traveled to Iowa to learn from an expert how to handle the birds, then located a breeder who could provide the falcons. Meanwhile, the team built a "hack" box to specifications, then picked up the four chicks ---- three males and one female ---- at the St. Louis airport.
The team ultimately released the birds, which will have no interest in settling down until two years of age. Some falcons have been sighted cruising the area, and team members said they hope the birds are those released from the power plant.
Next February, when the falcons choose their mates, team members said they hope a nesting pair will return to the plant where a nesting box has been placed on the stack. Life is tough in the wild: a 50 percent survival rate would be considered good. To try to beat those odds, the team is working to get additional hatchlings this spring to expand the project.
Associated presented both an individual and a group of employees with a Commendation for Courageous Response for their trained response when a co-worker was in need of help.
The team of Associated employees at New Madrid Power Plant receiving the Excel Commendation for Courageous Response is comprised of Les Brown, material handling supervisor; Larry Swilley, yard operations superintendent; Chris Couch, yard equipment operator; Kevin Coffer, yard equipment operator; Alice Swilley, safety coordinator; Larry Morris Jr., protective services officer I; Lynn Sullenger, journeyman electrician specialist; and Mike Merideth, yard equipment operator.
This group of employees demonstrated superb training and teamwork when a co-worker had a serious accident before dawn last October. The team's quick and appropriate action ensured that the injured employee arrived at the hospital within the "Golden Hour" so crucial for treatment.
A Commendation for Courageous Response also was presented to Roy Shaw, who has diligently improved his life-saving skills and has been willing to help others throughout his career. His courageous response to a choking emergency last year earned him the Excel award and the honor of 2004 Safety Person of the Year at the New Madrid Power Plant.
Last spring, Shaw was having lunch with a co-worker. The two of them were alone in the breakroom, so when his friend began to choke, turning purple and red, Shaw did not hesitate to respond.
Shaw performed the Heimlich maneuver to free his co-worker's airway.