Someone who often sees beyond what seems possible, Raymond Buchanon, Alabama Power Distribution system operator, has been an unsung hero for a while now.
As a child, he loved taking things apart. “Anyone who’s spent significant time creating with their hands can appreciate the distinctive satisfaction it evokes,” Buchanon said. “Picking up a familiar tool feels comfortable, spending time at one’s own workspace feels like time in a secluded oasis.”
When he’s not in his workshop, Buchanon oversees the day-to-day activities of providing electricity to customers in the Mobile area. He’s responsible for implementing programs that ensure Mobile’s Distribution Control Center (DCC) delivers the best customer service.
“Raymond uses his knowledge, experience and devotion to all customers to set an example to fellow co-workers by always putting the best interests of others first,” said Patrick Turner, DCC supervisor.
The Mobile DCC is responsible for directing the safe and reliable, maintenance and restoration activities for a distribution system that serves about 235,000 customers.
During his 37-year career, Buchanan has collaborated with employees across the company. He’s always liked line work and working with employees in field operations. He remembers his days as a lineman. He understands what linemen are talking about because he’s been there.
With retirement approaching, Buchanan realized he would soon be leaving with his knowledge and expertise. He wanted to leave a legacy to the next generation of employees. He was concerned that some new employee candidates were having trouble passing parts of the Utility Assistance Entrance Test. Buchanan decided to do something about it.
With the help of Mt. Hebron Church and Carol Weaver, Human Resources recruiting consultant, he started an informal program to prepare potential employees for the written and hands-on sections of the test.
“I believe young people are looking for mentors to show them the ropes; this program was a good start,” Buchanan said. “My hope is that other employees will pass on their knowledge and nuggets of wisdom to others.”
“Raymond is a conscientious employee who always thinks of the customers and fellow employees first. He uses his field experience to aid the crew with resolving system problems,” Turner said. “When he calls a customer to inquire about their outage issue, he takes the time to listen.”
Alabama Power’s DCCs are located in Birmingham, Montgomery, Anniston, Tuscaloosa and Mobile. The DCCs have operational authority for lines and equipment operated below 40 kV.