Meet Mike, who was only going to stay temporarily
Mike planned to take an entry level line crew job with TNMP for just a couple months, waiting for construction jobs to pick up again.
That was 1981. In 2015, he's still with us, supervising service technicians, meter readers and other staff serving our Central Texas communities.
"I said, ‘I'm not moving from West,' " Mike recalls, referring to his hometown. "I was satisfied with construction. But TNMP hooked me.
"It was so different. I was actually being taught a trade. As a lineman, I was being brought up through the ranks."
Mike's boss, Jim, admires the respect that Mike has among his employees and colleagues.
"People see that he truly cares about the guys who work for him," Jim says. "It's one thing to do your job and take care of business, but he really cares. He thinks a lot of his people."
Mike says taking care of his employees really just comes down to looking for ways to make their jobs better, like helping them with problems or by getting new tools and equipment that improve day-to-day work experiences.
"When we hear about new tools, I'll make every effort I can to get them for the guys," he says. "A lot of it is just small things. I'll make an effort and do what I can for them."
Thirty-four years at TNMP seemed unlikely when he started. Mike's a dedicated son of West, with Czech roots and a mother who spoke Czech and German around town - and who taught him how a kolache really should be made.
His office, fortunately, is just 30-some miles away in Clifton, so Mike is able to return home easily, including for Westfest each September.
"Every year, I've got to make it," he says. "I don't make three days like I used to, but I make it at least one. I don't feel right if I don't go."