When Ron Monts started working at Hendricks Power Cooperative 44 years ago, there were some people (not many) who still didn't have electricity in their homes.
Times have changed.
"I can remember years ago when people would send in postcards saying their lights weren't on," Monts said. "That would take several days. Now everything's automated. We know about outages pretty quick. People now expect us to be on 24/7. That's our goal."
Monts has seen most aspects of that evolution. But after 44 years, he's decided to retire. An open house is set for 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at Prestwick Country Club, 5197 Fairway Drive, Avon.
A native of Rockville, Monts' father and grandfather both worked for co-ops.
"It's kind of in the family," he said while seated in his office recently.
After Monts' first job out of high school was moved to Tennessee, he inquired about working at the Parke County REMC, having always respected his elders' jobs. That's when Monts learned of an opening at Hendricks Power. He got an interview and then the job.
Ultimately a co-op's duty is "turning the lights on for people and making their lives easier," he said. Being members only, the co-op elects a representative for each of the 10 districts in its service territory for a board of directors. They in turn help guide the company.
"Our members are our bosses, basically," said Monts, whose last official day on the job is Feb. 1.
He started as a ground lineman, tasked with sending tools up to the regular linemen, among other duties. After about a five- to six-year on-the-job apprenticeship, Monts became a regular lineman and stayed in that position for about 20 years.