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Jeff Wilcox: Retiring After 35 Years

November 24, 2020

 • BY Rob Ford

Jeff Wilcox will retire at the end of this year after 35 years of service. During his time at Tipmont, he’s served as a lineman, line working foreman, serviceman and a substation technician. He also oversaw the construction of Tipmont’s Battle Ground office that opened in 2009. Prior to joining Tipmont, Wilcox was employed with Public Service Indiana (now Duke Energy) for eight years.

What were some of your memorable experiences?

I was selected to be in a national Touchstone Energy commercial in 2004. It was filmed in Galena, Illinois. They liked me enough to invite me to Universal Studios in Los Angeles for the next commercial a few years later. It was filmed on the same lot as Little House on the Prairie!

I also remember being part of hurricane rebuild efforts in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. The people were always so appreciative of the co-ops providing mutual aid in times of crisis.

I will never forget the 1991 ice storm. It took us two and a half weeks to restore everyone, working 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. In total, it was over six months before we had our system completely repaired and cleaned up. Back then, not many restaurants were open at night, so people were always bringing us food and coffee, which was so nice of them.

The last 12 years, I also enjoyed judging 4-H Electric projects in Clinton, Tippecanoe, Montgomery and Fountain counties.

What will you miss?

I will miss the Tipmont members, my Tipmont family and my beast of a truck. I designed that truck and was always very proud of how well it worked in the field.

What would you tell young people thinking about a career as a lineman?

Seek all the knowledge you possibly can during your apprenticeship that is offered at no cost to you. Continuous hard work brings great rewards, and you will never find a more rewarding job. If you are passionate about a career in linework, the sky is the limit.

Who were some key people in your career?

I owe thanks to John Carter, superintendent at PSI, and Steve Burkle who hired me at Tipmont. To former Tipmont co-workers Ken Ritchey, Steve Traylor, and Rollie Rhine. To Debbie Schavietello, whose vast knowledge of every single benefit granted to Tipmont employees and her encouragement during difficult times meant the world to me. To my dad who was there for me when I needed him. And last, but not least, to my wife, Debbie, who is the love of my life and my rock.

What are your retirement plans?

My wife and I plan to travel and see the great USA. We’ll also visit our 13 grandchildren and spoil them to no end! And I’ll sit on my patio, drink coffee, and wave to the Tipmont trucks as they drive by.

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Rob Ford

Rob Ford

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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.

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