Prouty Retires After 45 Years with VEC
The longest working Verendrye Electric employee is hanging up his hardhat after 45 years of dedicated service to the cooperative. Bob Prouty started at Verendrye on September 7, 1971 as an apprentice lineman in Velva.
Bob spent most all of his years at the outpost in Harvey where he transferred to in 1977 and was promoted to Harvey outpost area foreman in August of 2002.
As most lineman will tell you, it’s the weather stories that stick out the most about the job. With many years of experience, Bob has quite a few stories to tell. His most memorable storm was the “snirt” storm in 1976. “The wind was horrible and it was pure black,” Prouty said. “The wind blew and you couldn’t see anything.”
Prouty most likely will not forget about his most recent storm experience that happened in March and left him stranded in the Verendrye truck for 11 hours. “I couldn’t see driving down the road, I never looked out the windshield, just out the side window and tried to stay on the side of the road,” said Prouty. “I sat in the truck from 3:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. when Nathan Ammon pulled me out of the ditch.” Prouty kept himself entertained, you could say, by talking to his wife Mary, daughter Amanda and Verendrye dispatcher Pat Gingles.
After 45 years, a lot has changed in equipment and technology. Prouty says, “The best thing that has been introduced over the years is probably the SCADA (Superviosry Controls and Data Acquisition) system. It changed how outages are handled and saves a lot of time on our end as well as the member - as far as restoring power and fixing the problem.”
If you live in or around Harvey, you may have seen Prouty ride his Yamaha QT 50 motorcycle around town. That’s been his main mode of transportation to and from work and anywhere around town for the last 30 years and what started his love for motorcycles. “It has 10,357 miles on it and I drive it at least 3 miles a day when it’s nice outside. It doesn’t like gravel and the top speed is 25 mph,” he said.
Prouty bought his first Harley Davidson motorcycle 5 years ago and rides every chance he gets. He plans on taking many trips this summer, places he’s never been. First destination will be Beartooth Pass with his daughter Emily over Father’s Day weekend. One place he’s really looking forward to is tackling the Tail of the Dragon, a mountain pass along the North Carolina and Tennessee state line that has 318 curves in 11 miles. He also loves the New York Yankees and plans to watch them play at Yankee Stadium.
He always enjoyed working outside in the nice weather and working with a good group of guys.
“Bob gave 45 years of dedicated years to the co-op and his leadership will be missed,” says Verendrye Electric General Manager Randy Hauck.
He has and his wife, Mary, live in Harvey and have 2 adult daughters, Amanda and Emily.