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Duque Continuously Improves Service to AEP Customers Along With His Skill Set
Jorge E. Ramos Duque, engineer senior, is part of the asset performance and renewal team for American Electric Power (AEP) transmission.
“In the 11 states AEP services, we ensure the transmission infrastructure can meet the demands of the electric grid. What I love about my job is that we get the opportunity to improve and rehab the transmission lines, which means more reliable, affordable electricity for our customers,” he points out.
AEP operates companies that serve customers in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, meaning AEP keeps the lamps lighted and the air conditioners running from the deep South to the deep forests of Michigan, from Ohio’s cornfields to Oklahoma’s prairie. It’s tremendous responsibility, but AEP’s 18,000 employees don’t just embrace it. They perpetually improve delivery and service.
And as AEP’s thousands of workers distribute electricity, AEP is also there for them, distributing opportunities.
“I love the diverse career opportunities here,” says Duque. “AEP has three main business units: generation, transmission and distribution. Our company generates power, transports it over long distances, which is my business unit, and delivers it to customers and communities, so there are a wide array of positions available.”
Switching positions requires courage and adaptability on the employee’s part, according to Duque.
“I think the most stressful moment I went through was when I was looking to change positions at AEP,” he shares. “It’s stressful because you’re already comfortable in your current role, you know the people around you, and the work you’re doing is very familiar.”
However, meeting the challenge makes you a more complete professional, he contends.
“I think it’s important to keep challenging yourself. Once you make the change and give it time, you find out it’s not as hard as you thought,” he states. “In fact, it’s common for AEP employees to take on new roles to learn another aspect of the business to broaden their knowledge of the industry.”
Duque urges job applicants in the energy sector to not limit themselves to one role in their job search.
“Don’t be afraid to apply to a wide array of jobs,” he advises. “Limiting yourself to a certain industry or position can work against you. Keep in mind that each company has different opportunities and maybe exploring a business area or function you didn’t expect can lead you to a job that you’ll love.”
Duque also recommends getting your feet wet before jumping into a new career.
“I think an internship or co-op is the best way to experience and explore all of the different career paths within an electric company. AEP offers internship and co-op opportunities for college students, which include some great benefits, on top of receiving invaluable hands-on experience.”
If you’re hired by AEP, then you’ll enjoy some plush perks. “The amount of benefits we receive at AEP and the flexibility that it gives to employees is pleasantly surprising,” Duque notes. “It’s great to know that a company this size wants the best for its employees, and recognizes they have responsibilities outside of work.”
AEP doesn’t just support its employees with benefits either. “AEP also has employee resource groups (ERGs), which are made up of diverse groups of employees to create inclusion in the workplace. I’m a part of the Hispanic Origin Latin American (HOLA) ERG, and our focus is to support the Hispanic community in Columbus, OH,” details Duque.
And what do the ERGs at AEP do? “In addition to volunteer work with community partners, HOLA gives employees the opportunity to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture,” he answers.
“The ERGs are great because they encourage diversity in addition to giving back to the community - all with the support of AEP.”
Learn more about Columbus, OH-headquartered AEP via LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Explore careers at aep.com/careers.
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