Claremore Daily Progress

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July 11, 2013

Ward retires after 44 years working with electricity

CLAREMORE —

After 44 years of working in electricity, 19 with the City of Claremore, Supervisor of Operations Jim Ward is set to retire. 
Ward has made contributions to the utilities and the community. 
He received the 2008 meritorious service award by Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma, as well as numerous other awards with the electric department. 
In June, Claremore Electric employees received their sixth Municipal Electrical Systems of Oklahoma Award in 10 years. 
The award is given for workers’ outstanding achievement in electric operations and safety.
At one time, Ward managed as the Claremore Electric Department’s director of utilities.
“It was a job I was asked to take. At first I didn’t want it, but then went back a few days later and accepted,” said Ward. 
He said he remained director for about three years until he was asked to step down. 
A few years later,  he again had the opportunity to become director of utilities, but wanted to stay where he was as supervisor.
“I found myself more suited in working with others, rather than working in management. I was fine with getting jobs together and lining out crews, finding work for them to do.”
Ward began his city electric career as an apprentice in January 1969 in Stillwater. He worked there for four years before moving to Cleveland.
“Guys today have to go through four years of schooling to become a journeyman lineman. When I started there was no schooling,” he said. “It wasn’t until I got to Indian Electric in Cleveland that I realized I needed to learn more. I learned most of what I needed to know by asking questions one-on-one with my supervisor.”
After becoming a 4th-year apprentice at Indian Electric, Ward was told he would receive a raise by his supervisor.
“I did receive a raise, but it wasn’t as much as what the other journeyman were making with the same amount of training,” he said. 

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