SAN LUIS VALLEY— San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Foreman Ronnie Spencer hung up his hardhat after approximately 40 years with REC. To make the best of his retirement plan, he retired in early May, ending his 27-year stint as foreman.
The Valley native and Monte Vista graduate began his REC career as an equipment operator in 1980, then worked as a warehouseman before starting his apprenticeship in 1988. After journeying out in 1991, Spencer was promoted to his current position — foreman — in 1994.
Spencer loved his job and took a lot of pride in it.
“When I journeyed out, that was one of the greatest memories. It only took me three years to do it; I was proud of that,” he said. He was also happy to say that he was never late for work. “I get up at 4 a.m. and am usually the first one there.”
Through 40 years with the co-op, he worked with many linemen, eight or nine CEOs and observed various generations of “kids” learning the ropes. The biggest change he witnessed through his tenure was technology. Computers changed the process; paperwork is different now. Reports are more detailed, and the information available is more comprehensive.
Looking back on the years that have “gone by so fast,” Spencer will always remember his foreman, Dale Clark, and Jimmy Clare, who helped him a lot along the way; Martin Christensen, Kelly Mortensen and Lee Stehwien were all big influences on his line career.
“There are so many that helped me through the years — too many to name, but I want to thank them all. They are special to me,” Spencer added. “I am going to miss all the people I’ve worked with; the guys have changed through the years, but I’ve always enjoyed working with them.”
Offering advice to the next foreman, Spencer stated, “Be yourself; trying to be someone else doesn’t work. And you have to be tough; you can’t be wishy-washy.”
His plans for retirement include remodeling his house, hunting, fishing, camping and spending time with his family — his wife Jacque, who has been there for him through the years, as well as his son Joshua, daughter-in-law Misty and two grandkids, Courtney and Cory. But what he’s really looking forward to is having more time to ride his Harley; like the ending to a good story, he plans to end his career riding off into the sunset.