Journeyman Lineman Andy Karle recently retired after 28 years of service. He previously worked for Wake EMC in North Carolina before coming to Tipmont.
What was a memorable experience from your career?
When I was at Wake EMC, we were troubleshooting an outage and having a really hard time locating the cause. We finally found a catfish on top of a pole between two insulators. My guess is that a hawk or other large bird had laid it up there. When I told the superintendent what we found, he thought we were making it up, so I took the catfish back to his office and left it on his desk to let him know I wasn’t kidding! During my time at Tipmont, I recall being about 40 feet up in a bucket during really strong straight-line winds. The bucket was swaying several feet in each direction and I hid in the bottom of the bucket until the winds died down enough that it was safe to work again.
What would you tell aspiring lineman?
I didn’t regret being a lineman for a minute. You have to be dedicated, but it’s a very rewarding career if you’re mechanically inclined and not afraid of the weather.
What will you miss?
I loved being a serviceman. I really enjoyed going out and helping the members figure out what their problem might be. I enjoyed being on the service truck and doing what a co-op is supposed to do – serve our members.
What are your retirement plans?
I have a sawmill, so I plan to enjoy building furniture and other things in my woodshop. I also plan to spend a lot of time fishing with my grandson, Tristan and visiting with my three sons, Brian, Kevin, and Patrick. Finally, I have to thank my wife, Coleen, for putting up with all the late nights and for always reminding me to be safe. She was a tremendous support for me.
Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015.
Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.