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Lighting the way: Longtime right-of-way employee strives for excellent service

by on May 4, 2016
RS spotlight final

Right of Way Agent Robbie S. has dedicated 38 years to serving AEP Ohio customers. By putting herself in the customer’s shoes, she strives to “get the job done” and deliver satisfying customer experiences.

For decades, Athens right-of-way agent Robbie S. has made it her mission to take care of customers’ problems.

“When it comes down to it,” says Robbie, “I just want to fix what’s wrong, because that’s how you give somebody a positive experience.”

Right-of-way agents are responsible for acquiring the rights necessary to build new power lines between customers’ properties and AEP Ohio facilities. But it’s not always so simple: Agents like Robbie make sure that the lines have a clear path from point A to point B, and that they don’t become obstructions themselves.

Robbie works with customers every day, finding ways to connect communities to the electrical grid without burdening landowners.

“Today, for example,” Robbie says, “I’m meeting a customer at his magnificent old red brick house. We have to find a way to run the lines through without intruding on his property in any major way.”

“It’s so important to respect customers’ land. After all, we’re only here to help, and we have to communicate that effectively.”

For 38 years, Robbie has been a part of AEP Ohio’s effort to provide the very best service to its customers. That’s the kind of experience that makes all the difference in a job like this.

It also helps to be an Ohio native. Robbie has lived in southeast Ohio her entire life, and feels a deep bond with the idyllic lifestyle of the area. Every morning at 5, she wakes up to tend to her horses, which she enjoys riding around her property and along the local trails

Her care for her hometown of Athens, Ohio reflects the same care she applies to her work.

“I have spent my whole life here,” says Robbie. “For me, helping customers is much like helping my neighbors.”

This outlook has served her well over the years. Hers is a work ethic that puts customers first, and, by solving service problems that impact communities, Robbie has built a fulfilling career around her role in southeast Ohio.

“I tend to around 60 percent residential customers and 40 percent businesses,” she says. “I always make sure to maintain good relationships with the folks I work with, because, chances are, I’m going to go back and work with their neighbors and business associates.”

For right-of-way agents, getting the electricity to customers means delivering a positive customer experience, as well as powering up business.

“When you put yourself in the customer’s shoes, you can see that all they want is for you to just fix it,” Robbie says. “It’s important to realize what they’re going through, and that sense of understanding motivates me to get the job done.”

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