New Madrid Power Plant employees receive awards

Sunday, April 20, 2014

NEW MADRID -- Associated Electric Cooperative honored 13 current and former employees at its New Madrid Power Plant during its 20th annual Excel employee recognition ceremony in Springfield.

The recipients of these prestigious Excel awards were nominated by their peers at the power plant.

Engineer manages maintenance project

Jordan S. Lawyer, engineering supervisor, of Cape Girardeau received the 2013 Excel Award for Employee of the Year in a Professional Field. He was the project manager for a maintenance project at the plant.

His nominator described Lawyer: "Jordan exemplifies many qualities and characteristics of leaders and professionals. Jordan's level of knowledge is a great value to the organization and provides strategic direction to maintain compliance and solid performance at the plant."

Praised by his nominator for "approaching problems collectively," Lawyer pulled together expertise from several divisions at the cooperative, including accounting and finance, operations, engineering and maintenance to build the case for the maintenance project, which would ultimately improve the reliability of the boiler and meet AECI's mission to provide affordable, reliable electricity for members.

Welder honored for skill and attitude

Clarence D. Kineman, journeyman welder mechanic, of Sikeston received the 2013 Excel Award for Employee of the Year in a Vocational Field. Kineman was honored for his 30 years of welding experience and positive attitude toward his job and co-workers.

"Whenever I work around a person and on the job, I try to bring out the best in the person and look at the positive side of everything," he said. "Every time I go on a job, no matter if it appears to be the worst, I try to think the best of it. That always works the best."

One of Kineman's nominators said, "He never complains and is willing to take on any job that's given to him. The harder the job, the more likely he is to be the one that is chosen to work on it, and the smile is always on his face when you ask him how he's been."

A second nominator commented, "When supervisors need a task done quickly, Clarence is the 'go-to' mechanic/welder. He can be given some of the dirtiest nastiest tasks, and you know he will get the job done."

Courageous response likely saved employee's life

AECI's No. 1 priority is workplace safety, and the cooperative trains its employees to respond to medical emergencies. A team of employees did just that in 2013, and due to their prompt attention to a co-worker's medical crisis at work, they likely saved his life and earned the 2013 Excel Commendation for Courageous Response.

Recipients of the award are Ben D. Ashley, electrical maintenance supervisor, of New Madrid; Kimberly M. Beardslee, former protective services officer II, of Sikeston; Robert L. Brinkley, newly retired journeyman electrician specialist, of Rocky Mount; Timothy D. Graham, journeyman electrician, of Puxico; journeyman electrician specialists David M. Malone of Greenville, Robert W. Schweizer of Sikeston, Bradley W. Shoaf of Sikeston, Anthony Sims of Lilbourn; Shannon L. Sprouse, control room operator, of Kewanee; and Tracy S. Stone, former protective services supervisor, of Malden.

The incident occurred when an electrician began to collapse from what later was determined to be potentially fatal internal bleeding. Co-workers quickly got him to the plant's ambulance where the two protective services personnel, both trained emergency medical technicians, monitored his condition. Later, they transferred the patient to the county's ambulance service, which took him to the hospital where he was successfully treated. He has since returned to work.

"There is no doubt in my mind that my fellow AECI employees saved my life that day," said the patient. "AECI should be very grateful they have employees like these. They do care and will do everything to their ability to help a fellow employee. I would like to thank God and all my fellow AECI employees who helped me live another day."

Chemist recognized for putting safety first

Ralph L. Palmer, plant chemist, of New Madrid was named the 2013 Safety Person of the Year at New Madrid Power Plant for his involvement in several safety initiatives at the plant. The Safety Person of the Year award is given to an employee at each of Associated Electric's three main locations based on an employee's safety record and/or response to a safety incident.

Safety is the top strategic objective of AECI, and employees set their best safety record ever in 2013.

Palmer's nominator said, "Ralph is a dedicated instructor of our Safe Start program, has been involved in the safety committee for years, has served on the ERT (emergency response team) as the hazardous materials expert and has done a substantial amount of work this past year with the safety and compliance of our potable water system."

More specifically, Palmer used his natural storytelling abilities and humor to emphasize the four common errors that the Safe Start program teaches are triggers for unsafe actions: rushing, frustration, fatigue and complacency. Palmer has served on the plant's safety committee 10 years and takes the time to inform and coach co-workers on safe work practices.


Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. is owned by and provides wholesale power to six regional and 51 local electric cooperative systems in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma that serve more than 875,000 customers. Associated Electric's mission is to provide an economical and reliable power supply and support services to its members, including the "Take Control & Save" energy efficiency program, Associated Electric is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

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