Ringing in 2019 Pam Harper, plant accountant at Okefenoke REMC, is closing the book on her OREMC career on Jan. 31 after 44 years of service, and stepping confidently into the next chapter of her life—retirement. “The only thing I haven’t done is climb a pole,” Pam chuckled as she reflected on her OREMC experiences.
Her story began in 1974 when she first came to OREMC as part of the Vocational Office Training program at Brantley County High School. Back then she, along with Ronnie Crews, used to feed the machine that would imprint documents and forms.
Pam recalled, “It was all very mechanical back then, and computers were only just being introduced. Mark Middleton and I used to work on the billing machine. It was as big as and higher than a desk and we would have to manually insert a ledger card and a billing card for each member and punch in the meter reading. It is just amazing to think about all the changes and computer conversions. Today we have tablets and laptops, but back then the computers took up a whole room.”
As computers shrank in size over the years, OREMC’s headquarters building in Nahunta expanded. Pam’s office used to be an outdoor patio in the middle of the
building. The east wing was added on, and what used to be the garage is now the break/meeting room. Pam not only saw the headquarters building change, she was pivotal in opening the Hilliard and Kingsland district offices.
“After I graduated in 1976 I worked as a front counter cashier,” Pam said as she scrolled through her various positions at OREMC. “I did that for seven years. When I had my second child, I left to raise my kids. I came back part-time for a couple years before returning full-time in 1985.”
Coming back to OREMC she became a clerk in the Service Department answering phone calls, creating new service order requests and taking outage calls. Next Pam worked as a clerk in the Engineering Department entering data for staking sheets and issuing service orders to the job foreman. Having a comprehensive understanding of co-op operations, Pam was tapped as the customer service supervisor and opened the Hilliard, Florida district office when it was built in the mid-1990s, then moved on to do the same at the Kingsland office a couple of years later.
Pam eventually made her way back to the Nahunta office to work in Finance, where she closed out her tenure with OREMC. What will she miss most about coming to the office every day?
Choking up a bit, Pam said, “I’m going to miss the people. I’ve been here since I was 16 years old. Then and now the co-op is one big family. You know you can rely on your coworkers when you need them, particularly during times of change. The co-op has always had a good reputation for not only helping its members, but also helping employees better themselves by being a good place to work.”
Pam’s thoughts turned to her husband, spending more time with her grandkids and being able to set her own schedule as she shared a final thought, “I’ve had some fun times here, but I’m ready to have the freedom to do what I want, when I want to do it.”
After 44 years, she has earned it.