Name: Mike Rumbaugh, federal employee
Location: Montrose, Colorado
Region: Rocky Mountain
When did you start working with WAPA? Feb. 25, 1985
What is the most interesting thing you have worked on with WAPA? Only one thing? That is a problem, as I have been lucky to be involved with so much at WAPA. The most rewarding was probably building and presenting the Electrical Safety Demonstrator Trailer, also known as the hot dog trailer. The most challenging was the development of the Electrician Apprentice Program, and the first Fall Protection Train the Trainer program. The most intense was participating on the Transformation Focus group for WAPA's first reorganization. The one with the most direct future and economic impact was developing and rolling out Maximo, the new computerized maintenance management system. The one that I take the most pride in is the opportunity to represent the craftspeople that are the backbone of this organization in its efforts to "keep the lights on." All of these projects were interesting in their own right.
What do you wish people understood about your job and the work you do? I wish people knew the breadth and depth of knowledge and skill that one needs to perform any of a craftsman's daily tasks. Probably the most under-recognized requirement of our jobs is the ability to shift gears at a moment's notice. Going from a simple job to a task that involves all of our experience and abilities in an instant is a challenge. Many times there are opportunities for a team to pool its skills and knowledge, but there are times when we are called upon to perform as individuals and the weight of that action can be the difference between an outage or not.
Tell us something about yourself we wouldn't find on your resume. I've spent my entire career in Montrose, where we were virtually expected to travel four out of four weeks at times. It's very important that we have somebody at home that can take care of things while we are seeing to keeping the lights on. While I was gone, my kids took their first steps. While I was gone, the septic system failed, the boiler broke down or the car quit. While I was gone the kids needed special attention, they needed someone to pick them up from practice or to drive them to games. My wife is my foundation, and without foundations like her WAPA would not be able to perform with the efficiency that it does. That you will not find in any resume.
How is what you do tied to WAPA's mission? As an electrician, my responsibilities are directly tied to delivering reliable power. We wouldn't have much to market if the transformers were down and the breakers didn't operate or the lines went dead!