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Two employees celebrate 30 plus years with VINLEC

Two employees celebrate 30 plus years with VINLEC


As this company’s sole electricity supplier, VINLEC prepares to celebrate fifty years as a corporation, two of its long standing employees are celebrating an even bigger combined milestone.{{more}}

Maintenance Supervisor, Edwin Gibson joined the company on July 6, 1976. His counterpart, Shift Operator, well known for his batting prowess as one of this country’s former leading national cricketers, Monty Warner, did so, according to the records, on July 12, 1976. Together their years of service to the utility company adds up to a whopping 70 years.

Gibson joined the company fresh out of the St. Vincent Technical College as a fitter, having studied auto mechanics at that institution. He has naturally seen a lot of changes take place at the company over the last thirty-five years. He is proud of the experience and training he has received thus far, having been exposed to numerous training opportunities both locally and abroad.

Gibson started off as a Fitter and moved all the way to Senior Fitter, then to Maintenance Supervisor in 2006, a position he still holds and in which he supervises eight persons or more at various times. He is responsible for the maintenance of all the company’s hydro stations at Cumberland, South Rivers and Richmond.

The best part of his job, he notes, is when there are staff meetings and he can get to interact and receive feedback to know if things are going well or not, information he can use to ensure that the job gets down. The reliable, dependable, Gibson gushes when he speaks of his VINLEC experience, a place he has already spent well over half his life.

“It’s like a University here in the maintenance section at VINLEC…when you go to College you get the theory, but here at VINLEC you get the practical side….it’s good working here, there’s room for advancement,” he explains.

The former shop steward for VINLEC admits that there is some challenge finding people to work on this field, but he acknowledges that the company’s apprenticeship programme is helping to address this somewhat.

“When I came here, I came with one intention – to do my best. I am serving my company, and in the back of my mind I’m serving my country, and in the process I can take care of my family,” Gibson acknowledges.

Outside of VINLEC, the father of two enjoys playing the guitar and keyboard, and does so for the Faith Temple Church, where he is a member. He is also an avid gardener who adores his pets.

Former national cricketer Monty Warner is another of VINLEC’s top scorers. He joined the company officially on July 12, 1976, after an earlier stint the previous year. He credits former General Manager and Businessman Ken Boyea with giving him his big break at the company.

He had just made it to the national cricket team, and Boyea, an avid sportsman himself, recognised the then young Warner’s talent. The two also played on the same local team, and Warner remembers that Boyea always brought him a sandwich when they played together on Sundays. “I always remember that. I was small, a young man of nineteen then,” Warner reminisces.

Boyea, not one to miss good talent when he sees it, bagged Warner for the VINLEC team as well, and the rest is history. Thirty-five years and counting Warner, who joined the company as a trainee electrician, has moved up to the position of Shift Operator. “When I’m working, I’m serious. I don’t play with the Company’s work…nobody sleeps on my shift,” he asserts.

As Shift Operator, his typical work day begins with ensuring that his assistant checks with all the stations to make sure that all is well. He notes that this is necessary since there’s a so-called peak hour (8.00 AM) when the demand for electricity is huge, as this is about the time when businesses throughout the country open their doors. And as such, the demand for electricity is major, “so you have to be ready.”

Monty Warner, much like his colleague Gibson, has witnessed a lot of changes during his thirty-five years at VINLEC. Chief among them is the company’s transition to computerization, a challenge that he himself has overcome and embraced with open arms.

For him, it’s also a labour of love. He recalls that when he first came on board it was difficult for the company to retain staff in his line of work. Many could not withstand the rigours of the job. He stood up, he says, because he wanted to remain in St. Vincent. He has had numerous opportunities to migrate but has turned them all down. If he has any regrets, it’s that he did not accept greater responsibility within the company sooner. He credits former colleague Julius Anthony with giving him the final push in that direction.

“He (Anthony) is a good person, good for young people, and never picks sides. He pushed me to take the mantle of responsibility and was always pushing and encouraging me,” Warner acknowledges.

As far as he is concerned, the best part of the job is sharing his knowledge and skills with the younger employees who come under his purview. He acts as their mentor and advises them that VINLEC is the place to be. He believes that once they remain strong and focused, they will be duly rewarded and access the boundless opportunities available at the company.

“If I didn’t like VINLEC and SVG, I won’t be here, “ Warner maintains.

Looking ahead, Warner sees his own business in the future. But in the meantime, this former national sportsman whose highest first class score is 102 run out against St. Lucia has an impressive 35 not out and counting at VINLEC.