Mike Wilhite marks 30 years with Associated Electric Cooperative
Mike Wilhite of Huntsville, operations maintenance specialist at Thomas Hill Energy Center, marked 30 years with Associated Electric Cooperative, the wholesale power supply cooperative for six regional and 51 local electric cooperatives in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma.
Wilhite started as a general utility and then progressed to auxiliary operator and assistant control room operator before moving to maintenance in 2013. He has always enjoyed the busy pace of the plant. “You never know from one day to the next what might happen. You have to know how to troubleshoot, problem-solve – it makes you think.”His positions have taken him almost everywhere in the plant, from the basement up.
Growing up in the area, Mike studied electronics at the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg. AECI and Thomas Hill were the natural place for him to continue his interests.
The plant and its operations have changed over the years, Wilhite said. He remembers when the plant converted to low-sulfur coal, reducing sulfur dioxide emissions more than 90 percent to meet air quality requirements, and closing the scrubber that was a state-of-the-art addition in its time to remove sulfur and particulates from flue gas. While he admits they were difficult times, he is proud of the plant’s and his fellow co-workers’ adaptability. “Some of these events were unbelievable, but we rolled with it,” he said. “We went from paper and pencil, hand-written work orders and tags to a lot of technology.”
Adaptability is a skill Wilhite thinks will be important in the future. “In the long run they’ve been good changes and kept the job interesting,” he said. “Now we have to be ready and competitive for the next set of changes and regulations.”
Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. is owned by and provides wholesale power to six regional and 51 local electric cooperative systems in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma that serve more than 875,000 customers. Associated’s mission is to provide an economical and reliable power supply and support services to its members, including the “Take Control & Save” energy efficiency program, www.TakeControlAndSave.coop. Associated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.
An equal opportunity employer and provider/disability/veteran