Located in the center of Southern Middle Tennessee and along the busy Ellington Parkway is Duck River Electric’s Lewisburg district. This district encompasses an area known for its rolling hills and includes much of the rural farmland of Marshall County and a portion of Giles County.
“We’re a small office here,” says Lewisburg Office Manager Jennifer Gault who supervises the member service representative team (MSRs), “and we work well together because we’re a work family and care about the members.”
Marshall County is home to several outdoor attractions: Henry Horton State Park, Duck River Raceway, the historic Hi-Way 50 Drive-In, and the Duck River access points where people from all around enjoy fishing and kayaking. DREMC provides electricity to each venue plus nearly 8,500 members countywide.
According to District Manager Troy Crowell, the cooperative’s Lewisburg district office was originally located just off the town square. In 1974, the current office building was constructed and later expanded in the 1990s.
In earlier years, the Lewisburg/Columbia District included Marshall, Giles and Maury counties and spanned rural communities from Cornersville to Williamsport. This large area was divided in the 1990s to create separate offices for Marshall and Maury county members. Another office was built in Chapel Hill in 2015 to create a more convenient office location for members in the Spring Hill to Unionville areas.
“I grew up in this area,” says Crowell. “I was previously employed at a local industry, but I always wanted to work outside. When I heard of an opening at Duck River Electric in 1990, I applied and have been here since.”
Crowell began as an apprentice groundman for DREMC’s Lewisburg district, learning the skills to become a lineman. In 1994, he became a journeyman lineman. He remembers well his next career change as he interviewed for the newly created safety coordinator position in the DREMC Shelbyville office; the date was Sept. 11, 2001. Eleven years later, he came back to Lewisburg as the district operations supervisor and then became district manager in 2017.
Jeff McClendon, district engineer, has been with DREMC for 40 years. McClendon enjoys meeting with DREMC members and assisting them with electric construction plans, however, his role changes somewhat during a major storm. When out-of-town crews help DREMC with power restoration, he serves as a ‘bird dog,’ assisting the crews with finding their way around the rural countryside and explaining how circuits are fed from the substations to ensure the crew’s safety while working in the area. He shares one particular story about his ‘bird dog’ experience:
“During the Feb. 2015 ice storm, our system had lots of damage, and many members were without power. Crews from other areas came to assist Duck River with restoring power. One crew that assisted us was from Joe Wheeler Electric in Alabama. They were a great crew to work with, but they were used to working on flat land. One day we were working on Fishing Ford Road, and there were a few hills to climb to reach the damaged power lines. The ground was wet and slick due to the ice, and one fellow from Joe Wheeler fell several times. He must have been getting a little frustrated because he asked me, ‘How do y’all walk on this ground?’