Shafer retires from Carroll White REMC

Posted on Apr 10 2024 in Carroll White REMC
Tom Shafer

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” — William Arthur Ward

When fellow Carroll White REMC employees describe Meter Technician Tom Shafer, they talk about his keen knowledge and sense of humor. The two characteristics seem to go together in the same sentence. What a gift!

Shafer spent 38 years serving Logansport Municipal Utilities before beginning a career at REMC in February 2016. From the depth of admiration and feelings of friendship expressed by other team members, one would think Shafer’s lifelong career has been at Carroll White REMC. It’s hard to imagine him not there. Shafer also loves classic rock music. To some REMC employees, this is a sign of timeless good taste.

Raised in Logansport and a graduate of Logansport High School, Shafer began his career as a lineman at Logansport Municipal Utilities. He served in this capacity until the late 1980s, when he became a meter technician. He attended the Great Lakes Electric Meter School.

At REMC, Shafer tests, calibrates, programs, and repairs meters before field installation. He installs and tests meters in the field. He accurately programs and oversees meter change-outs as needed. He investigates voltage and power quality, maintains documents on the procedure, and sets and maintains single-phase and three-phase metering. Maintaining inventory is another job requirement, as is troubleshooting storm and lightning damage in the field.

“I’ve always enjoyed the storms,” said Shafer. “I help take the crews out to work on the system. It’s a good feeling to help members. We put ourselves in their shoes and go the extra mile to fix the problems. I see that dedication every time.”

Shafer provides maximum service to REMC members and the cooperative by providing prompt meter testing and personally responding to members’ concerns. This position requires a person trained in technology and customer service while being self-reliant and always keeping safety as the highest priority.

“When I started working, an electric meter cost $30 and would last 100 years,” said Shafer. “Now, they cost $150 and become obsolete quicker because of technological changes. Today, you can have one meter do the work of two or three previously. This may be surprising, but in my 45 years working with meters, I’ve never had a bad one.”

Technology has been the most significant change in Shafer’s career. “Keeping up with all the changes is challenging,” he said. “Meters keep getting better, and more advanced technology creates change.”

The new automated meters, or Smart Meters, contain a communication chip that sends meter reading data by radio signal to Carroll White REMC’s office.

“SmartHub is the best thing REMC can offer,” said Shafer. This service provides members with a secure and convenient way to access account information on the web or with a mobile device. Members can view bills, make payments, and monitor usage patterns. Currently, over 50% of REMC members utilize SmartHub as a service.

When reflecting on his time at REMC, Shafer said, “This place is such a good place to work. These are the best people I’ve ever worked with. Continuing education is important here. Employees are encouraged to further their education, and there are always opportunities.”

Shafer sees that the biggest challenge facing REMC is maintaining a competent workforce. “Finding quality guys who want to work today in the field can be challenging,” said Shafer.

Shafer and his wife, Kellie, live south of Monticello. Kellie works as a patient scheduler for Franciscan Health of Lafayette. The couple have two sons, Ren and Ross, who live in Logansport and a daughter, Meg, in Kokomo. Ren farms and is getting married soon.

Ross is “contemplating getting engaged,” quipped his dad. Ross recently purchased Heartland Crane & Rigging LLC in Logansport. This business offers professional rental services for residential and commercial clients, playing a crucial role in the construction and logistics industry. Shafer plans to work part-time with his son in this new venture.

Meg lives in Kokomo with her husband, who is a lineman for Duke Energy. The couple has a daughter, Cambreigh, age seven, and a son, Brookston, age five.

Shafer and Kellie like to travel, which is part of their plans in this new season of life. “We like to visit the Smokey Mountains and National Parks, and we would like to go out west.”

Shafer’s hobbies include restoring classic cars and gas pumps. He has restored two 1970s Plymouths and five gas pumps, including a Gulf Station pump. He is a member of Winged Warriors, a national car group, and Tuesday Night Cruisers. He is also an avid Cubs fan.

“I would like members to know that no matter what the problem was, I always tried to solve it to the best of my ability,” said Shafer. “I will miss the great people I’ve worked with, serving the members. I made it to the end and wasn’t in any accident.”

As for his future and what he will be thankful for, Shafer said, “That I wake up!”

Carroll White REMC is thankful that part of Shafer’s journey was part of their story. His quick wit, dedication, and contagious smile will be missed.