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Mississippi Power


Mississippi Power’s recent retiree luncheon gave more than 250 retirees a chance to catch up with friends and former co-workers.

Among the retirees who attended the annual event were former plant managers, vice presidents, linemen, plant employees, accountants and their guests.

Before the luncheon began attendees had an opportunity to visit booths about wellness and changes to health care, marketing and energy efficiency, Community Connection, and the Reliables retiree association. Attendees were also able to sign up for the monthly retiree newsletter.

Following lunch, they listened to a presentation covering many of the topics from the recent employee town halls, and watched videos on the company’s recent achievements in safety, reliability and the Kemper County energy facility.

CEO Ed Holland and most of the company’s vice presidents were on hand to answer questions and thank the attendees for their continued support.

Vice President of Corporate Services and Community Relations Johnny Atherton spoke of the company’s appreciation of the work performed by the retirees and of the importance of their continued support for the company.


“Who knows CPR?”

“Can someone dial 911?”

“The A-E-D is located…”

Those three sentences are uttered at the beginning of every Mississippi Power meeting during the safety briefing. And last year at Plant Eaton, these safety precautions were put into practice.

Lisa Kelley, substations manager, Stacy Perry, substation construction supervisor, and Ricky Slade, substation specialist, met with Earl Smith of Vice Construction to discuss work at the plant site.

Transmission group

When Smith complained of chest pains and fell to the ground, Slade immediately began performing CPR, Perry retrieved the plant’s AED and Kelley called 911 and met the EMTs at the plant entrance.

At the Plant Watson employee town hall meeting last week, CEO Ed Holland honored Kelley, Perry and Slade with a Bronze President’s Award for their heroic actions and quick responses.

“This is another example of being our ‘Brothers’ Keeper.’ Our employees rushed into action to save a life,” Holland said. “I am proud to work with a group of employees who are willing to jump in and administer life-saving actions for someone in need.”

Unfortunately, Smith, who worked with Mississippi Power transmission crews for several years, passed away at the hospital a few hours after collapsing.

“Our employees train and practice first aid and emergency response with the hopes of never having to use those skills,” Steve Craig, Transmission general manager, said. “It’s a testament to these employees and their willingness to serve others that they ultimately sprang into action and were able to implement their training as effectively as they did.”

Mississippi Power began the President’s Award in 1986. Kelley, Perry and Slade are the 63rd, 64th and 65th recipients, respectively, of the award.




The second Renew Our Rivers cleanup of 2014 took place on a pair of South Mississippi waterways on May 15. Back Bay Biloxi and Turkey Creek in Gulfport were the target locations, and each saw bag after bag of debris hauled from its waters.

On Back Bay Biloxi, more than 30 Mississippi Power volunteers began the morning at the boat launch under I-110 in d’Iberville. Joined by several boats from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, volunteers hauled away more than a ton of trash.

“It was a beautiful day to make a difference on these waterways,” Patricia Berry, program coordinator, said. “On the heels of an incredibly successful Deer Island Cleanup on Earth Day, the 2014 Renew Our Rivers campaign is off to a tremendous start.”

Volunteers from the Transmission department pinpointed one area of Turkey Creek for their cleanup. A giant pile of debris had accumulated in one bend of the creek. Seven transmission volunteers, who spent the day breaking apart the pile, removed more than 1,500 lbs. of trash.

Most of the trash was classified as nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. As heavy rains fall and snow melts to the north, rivers and creeks pick up and carry away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters. Litter is also a large component of NPS.

“It was absolutely mind-boggling to see this much trash accumulate in one area,” Steve Craig, Transmission general manager, said. “We found tires, a propane tank, a toilet, hundreds of glass and plastic bottles and more out here.”

Renew Our Rivers moves to the northern part of the service territory in the final weeks of May. The annual Chunky River cleanup is Saturday, May 17, for information, contact Al Kennedy. The cleanup of the Okatoma River in the Pine Belt is scheduled for May 31, contact Jerry McBeth for information.

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After two days of tireless work to restore power in our service area, Mississippi Power crews headed to Florida Wednesday to help restore power to Gulf Power customers. A team of nearly 100 line crew and support personnel quickly assembled to leave from various locations from the Coast, Pine Belt and Meridians divisions.

“This was a rapid deployment,” said Distribution Manager Randy Castello who is serving as team leader for this response. “One 10-person team has been in Pensacola since 6 a.m. Wednesday, and they left from Laurel after traveling there to assist our Pine Belt crews since Monday.”

Castello said others left in shifts in order to give crew members who had been working long hours in Mississippi the past two days, time to rest.

“While our goal is to help restore power as quickly as possible, we do so knowing that safe procedures are practiced every step of the way – before, during and even on the way home. Nothing is taken for granted when it comes to getting our employees home safely to their families.”

Crews were asked to pack for three days, however the exact amount of time deployed will be determined by extent of damage.


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Recognizing their contributions in the classroom, the Mississippi Power Foundation has honored six teachers with the prestigious Alan R. Barton Excellence in Teaching Award.

Established in 1990, the award was named for the late Alan R. Barton, president of Mississippi Power from 1980 to 1989. It celebrates Barton’s dedication and contributions to education and is designed to recognize and honor excellence in the classroom.

Award recipients are:

  • Jeremy Bell – algebra I and geometry – St. Martin High School
  • Tonda Farrior – reading – Stringer Attendance Center
  • Lori Fisher – gifted – Pass Christian Elementary and Middle schools
  • Constance Roth – science and math – Bay Waveland Middle School
  • Sara Waller – culinary arts – Wayne County Career & Technical Education Center
  • Angie White – language arts – George Washington Carver Middle School

“South Mississippi has some of the most dedicated and hardworking teachers in the nation, and we’re honored to recognize these amazing educators who epitomize educational excellence,” said Mississippi Power CEO Ed Holland. “Teachers shoulder a very important responsibility by helping our children maximize their potential every day. Because of them, students strive for success making our communities better places to live and learn.”

Though the recipients come from across the company’s service area and teach different courses, one thing they have in common is their sincere desire to engage students in the learning process. How they go about making their classes inviting and keeping students motivated are as interesting as they are varied.

Bell’s patience and compassion for his at-risk students, his fresh approach to problem solving, and dedication to helping students understand algebra I and geometry is producing amazing test scores with struggling students.

Farrior has created a spark among both students and staff with her book club, Get Excited About Reading. Since her arrival, there has been a significant increase in students’ test scores on the state’s standardized testing and has helped earn the school an “A” rating.

Fisher, who addresses each student’s unique learning style, is considered inspiring, creative, challenging, bold and even brilliant by her classes. Her Living History Tour of Live Oak Cemetery has her students researching history, writing speeches and serving as tour guides.

Roth incorporates language arts into her science and math lessons. Her yearlong science program has students maintaining a square foot garden, where they use math skills. Following the harvest, students are able to take home some of the produce and share it with their families.

Waller teaches teamwork, accountability and responsibility along with culinary arts skills. She constantly employs new teaching and classroom management strategies that keep her students interested and eager to learn.

White shook things up on the first day of class by telling her students to leave their textbooks at home. Her innovative teaching style uses songs and advertising to teach everything from sentence and text structure to tools of persuasion and an author’s purpose.

Each winner receives cash awards, one for their personal use as well as awards earmarked for use in the classroom and staff development.


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By Jeff Shepard

Nearly 200 volunteers from Mississippi Power, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and five casino partners turned out for the 5th Annual Deer Island Cleanup on Earth Day.

The cleanup was the first of seven events in the 9th Annual Renew Our Rivers campaign.

Under sunny skies, volunteers removed more than 1.5 tons of debris from the 4.5 mile island.

The Beau Rivage and Hard Rock Biloxi, traditional hosts of the cleanup, were joined by volunteers from The Grand Biloxi, The Golden Nugget and Margaritaville Biloxi.

“With the support of three more hotels and their volunteers, we more than doubled our participation from last year,” Patricia Berry, environmental specialist and Renew Our Rivers coordinator said. “The Deer Island Cleanup is a perfect example of partnerships in action. The casinos have embraced this event and taken it on as their own.”

Renew Our Rivers volunteers have removed more than 280 tons of debris from about 20 different waterways across the Mississippi Power service territory.

For information on how you or your work group can take part in a Renew Our Rivers cleanup, contact Patricia Berry.


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By Jeff Shepard

As a company, Mississippi Power’s top priority is to make, move and sell electricity to our customers.

The employees who build, maintain and restore the lines that deliver that electricity are being honored today on National Lineman Appreciation Day.

“Our linemen are the best representatives of what it means to be a Mississippi Power employee,” Jeff Franklin, vice president of Customer Services Organization said. “They are truly committed to taking care of our customers, whether it’s the middle of the night or they’re facing extreme weather conditions. We should all be thankful for their service to our customers and Mississippi Power.”

Mississippi Power employs approximately 140 line workers to construct, operate and maintain the equipment that delivers electricity to 186,000 customers across 23 southeast Mississippi counties.

While working around electricity is inherently dangerous, weather conditions during the winter of 2014 complicated matters even more. Mississippi Power linemen once again met customers’ needs and safely restored service when outages occurred.

“Our crews were truly tested in extreme conditions during January and February,” Franklin said. “We got to see firsthand how talented and skilled these linemen are. I encourage every employee to thank a lineman if they see one today.”

Lead lineman Joey Ladner
Lead lineman Joey Ladner

Joey Ladner is in his 30th year with Mississippi Power, but this lead lineman knew from an early age that this was the job and the company for him.

That’s because Ladner is a second generation lineman. His father, Howard J. Ladner, Sr., a crew foreman, spent 37 years with the company.

“I had a better idea than the average person about the job,” Joey said.

Like his father, Joey is proud of the job he does and the linemen working beside him.

“It’s a brotherhood. We’re a close group and we look after each other. We care about each other. We all have families, and we want to send everyone home the way they came into work,” he said.

Ladner has seen the lineman’s job change from the time his father put on a hard hat. He remembers the men on his dad’s crew climbing power poles to make repairs.

“Dad had no bucket trucks. They climbed with hooks,” Joey said, adding that Hurricane Camille in 1969 changed that.

“Outside crews came with bucket trucks and Mississippi Power saw all the work that could be done from a bucket truck and started buying bucket trucks.”

In his three decades on the job, he has also seen changes in technology and how that has impacted customer service.

Whether it’s restoring power after a hurricane or maintaining the lines every day, Joey said he’s always touched by the gratitude of the customers he meets.

“It’s satisfying to restore power to people. Every day is different. Anything can happen.”

Mike Collins
Mike Collins

Mike Collins, former Mississippi Power Corporate Services director, was named the interim executive director of the United Way of Southeast Mississippi.

His first day at the United Way is April 1, which is also the first day of his official retirement from Mississippi Power. “I understand the importance of United Way to the community, and I am honored to do anything I can to help in this transition,” Collins said. “Traveling and my new pontoon boat can wait a bit longer.”

With 40 years of service to the company and community involvement, Collins is well prepared for the post. His community involvement includes extensive work with the Area Development Partnership, University of Southern Mississippi Foundation and the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation. He also served on the advisory board of Regions Bank, the advisory board of AmSouth Bank, was a member of the board of the Mississippi Power Foundation, served on the board of the Mississippi Power PAC and was a member of the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg, to name but a few.

“Another one of our retirees makes us proud,” Vice President Corporate Services and Community Relations Johnny Atherton said. “Retiring from the company doesn’t end a love for giving back to the community. With his leadership skills and dedication, Mike will do well in this position.”

His previous work with the United Way includes serving on the board of directors, as board president, past president and as assistant campaign chair.

“The United Way board of directors is thrilled that Mike Collins has agreed to serve as interim director,” said Susan Slaughter, United Way of Southeast Mississippi board president. “He is very well respected in the community, and he will bring a strong and positive presence to United Way as we make the transition to a new director. We are grateful that he would give his time and talents to United Way just as he was starting his retirement.”