Chemical Technician Paige Aplin has a passion, and she enjoys nothing more than sharing it with her co-workers at Alabama Power’s James M. Barry Plant near Bucks in Mobile County. For the past five years, Aplin has led the Barry Environmental Stewardship Team (BEST), but her love for the environment began in childhood and has flourished over the years.
“I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Whitehouse Forks, in rural Baldwin County, Alabama,” Aplin said. “My parents taught me from an early age to be a good steward of the land and I’ve carried that philosophy with me throughout my life.”
In her job as a chemical technician at Plant Barry, Aplin uses her science background to monitor and improve the plant’s environmental controls. She is proud of the strong environmental commitment that Alabama Power demonstrates while continuing to safely provide affordable, reliable electricity to customers. She is even more proud of the BEST team that she has led over the years.
“BEST is made up of employee volunteers who want to take our environmental stewardship to the next level,” Aplin said. “Our BEST representatives serve each month on a volunteer basis in the community, benefiting projects that help the environment where we all live and work.”
BEST projects are a tradition at Plant Barry. Employees led by Aplin have served more than 5,000 volunteer hours in the past three years working in places like the Mobile County Public School System’s Environmental Studies Center, where injured animals are rehabilitated and nursed back to health. The group has built boardwalks at Splinter Hill Bog, a local nature preserve covered by some of the most impressive white-topped pitcher plants in the world. And the group participates in events like the annual Coastal Cleanup in Mobile and Baldwin counties, as well as Renew our Rivers.
When Aplin and her BEST team wanted to boost their environmental projects, they came up with an innovative fundraiser. The group recycled wooden pallets at the plant into decorative art and held a silent auction. Employees look forward to the BEST fundraiser each year.
Their work has not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year, Aplin and the BEST team received a coveted Environmental Stewardship Award from Partners for Environmental Progress (PEP) in Mobile. PEP is a coalition of business and education leaders who share a common vision of applying science-based environmental practices to everyday work. PEP recognized BEST for fostering employee engagement through community stewardship. Aplin and Barry Plant Manager Michael Burroughs accepted the award at PEP’s annual meeting. Additionally, PEP invited the BEST team to speak at one of the organization’s meetings, sharing ideas that can help PEP member businesses form environmental stewardship teams.
“Paige has brought a great deal of enthusiasm to the BEST team,” said Burroughs. “Her passion for environmental stewardship is contagious and I appreciate all she has done to make BEST so successful in our community.”
Aplin doesn’t volunteer for recognition or praise. She said she is proud to work at Alabama Power and appreciates the company’s culture that not only allows, but also supports and encourages, employees to participate in environmental stewardship.
“I’m part of a team that recognizes and appreciates the value of stewardship,” Aplin said. “We do it because it’s the right thing to do.”