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‘I Feel Like I’ve Made a Difference’

April 9, 2024

Monday, March 25, was the start of a new work and school week. Some of us were thinking of the long weekend ahead, spring vacation or the even upcoming spring weather.

For Todd Wilkin, Project Manager Principal based in Fort Wayne, it was much more than that. It was his 50th anniversary with AEP.

“This is such a super company to work for and I’ve always been encouraged to try new things and create my own way,” Wilkin said. “I’ve always felt integral to the vision and the mission of AEP and I&M.  I know it seems like a boast – but I feel like I‘ve made a difference.”

It’s not a brag – Wilkin has truly made a difference since 1974, when he clocked in as a draftsman for the first time with AEP Ohio. He’s held many titles in his more than 18,250 days with the company, including designer, P&C technician, electrical superintendent, commissioning manager, Generation and Distribution Operation Project Manager. Wilkin also served on an important AEP project team.

Steve Baker presenting Todd Wilkin with a plaque for his 50 years of service.

“I traveled to every plant in the fleet – 62 at the time – to work with plant personnel on upgrading their switchgear equipment for the new arc flash modifications recommended by AEP Generation Engineering Group,” Wilkin said. “In 2014, I transferred to I&M and in 2021 we started a new Distribution Planning Group to provide oversight for new and existing distribution stations impacted with Distribution and Transmission Projects.”

Along the way, Wilkin has had a lot of valuable mentors. His list includes executive vice president of Energy Services, Chris Beam.

“I owe gratitude to Beam for hiring me as a project manager when I was as green as grass. He was a big influence on my development as a leader during system modifications at the Mountaineer Power Plant in West Virginia. I’ll never forget the tough lessons learned working alongside him,” Wilkin said.

And for Beam, the feeling is mutual.

“Todd was ready to learn and played a large part in navigating our team through a complicated project,” Beam said. “I’m happy to congratulate him on his 50 years with AEP and I look forward to what he’ll continue to do as a member of the AEP team.”

Recently, Wilkin was honored at the Distribution Dispatch Center (DDC) spring safety kickoff for his tenure and his status as AEP’s 11th most-tenured employee.

“Marking 50 years is no small feat. A lot has changed over that time with technology, equipment and safety. Todd has always adapted and achieved,” said Steve Baker, I&M president and chief operating officer. “But what’s stayed the same is Todd’s dedication to ensuring our customers have reliable and safe power. Todd, thank you for being on the team and your invaluable knowledge, leadership and dedication you bring each day.”

Wilkin has no plans to retire because he still has a strong drive and passion for his career. He has acquired a bit of wisdom during his more than 438,000 hours as an AEP employee.

“Work is life and life is work,” Wilkin said. “No matter if this is your first week or your 50th year in career, don’t get comfortable. Don’t let any rust collect on you.”

1974 Key Milestones

  • Average Gas Price per gallon: 53 cents
  • Average price of a gallon of milk: 72 cents
  • President Nixon resigned following Watergate scandal
  • Muhammad Ali defeated George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match
  • Stephen King published his first novel, “Carrie”

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