UI employee marks 60 years
ORANGE >> Donald Emond likes to joke that he was 8 years old when he started working at the United Illuminating Co. as a meter reader straight out of Bridgeport’s Bassick High School in 1957.
But Emond, a Trumbull resident, has a record of longevity at the utility that is no joke. Now in his late 70s, Emond is celebrating his 60th anniversary at the company and shows no signs of slowing down.
“I may do another 60,” he said after a recent ceremony in his honor at UI’s Orange headquarters. “I enjoy doing my job and I enjoy the people that I work with. It’s doesn’t really feel like I’m working.”
Having started his own career fresh out of high school, Emond said he has the utmost respect for the latest generation of UI employees.
“The kids that are coming to work for us now are really smart and talented,” Emond said.
Joe Thomas, vice president of electric system operations at UI, was among the utility employees young and old who paid tribute to Emond at the celebration.
“Don Emond is representative of all our employees: He’s dedicated and committed to excellent customer service,” Thomas said.
Emond decided to go to work for UI after a childhood friend had gotten a job with the company a year earlier.
“Back then, meter readers used to carry around these big books with a single page devoted to each meter,” he said. “Now, that information is all electronically transmitted.”
Emond advanced from reading meters to working in the power line department and then to engineering. He currently is a construction manager, a job he has held for 24 years.
“The way the job is done has changed, but for the guys in the trenches, the guys who are working on repairing our system during storms, it is still a tough, dangerous job,” Emond said.
Emond said that for all UI’s changes UI over the years, the pace has quickened since the utility became part of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola at the end of 2015.
“You knew there were going to be big changes and to some extent that’s still going on,” he said. “And overall, I would say they have been changes for the better.”
Emond noted Iberdrola’s reputation for being a leader in renewable energy projects has helped move UI into a leadership role in Connecticut in that area.
The company operates a solar farm on the former Bridgeport landfill at Seaside Park and has a fuel cell generating power there, as well. In addition, UI owns two other fuel cell generating units: one in New Haven’s Annex section and the other at Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge.
Call Luther Turmelle at 203-680-9388.