Sandy James, a member service representative at Pioneer Electric, retired on Dec. 31 following more than 33 years of service.
Sandy began at Pioneer in 1985. However, her familiarity with the co-op went back even further, because her family had always lived in the Pioneer service territory.
“While I was in school, I remember doing a poster for a contest held by Pioneer,” says Sandy. “We are going back a lot of years, but I think they picked three winners, and I was one of them. I was invited to the annual meeting at Graham School to be recognized.”
Fast forward more than ten years later, and Sandy was hired to be a clerk at the cooperative. She went on to become a cashier two years later before eventually moving to the billing department and serving as billing and capital credits clerk, then capital credits clerk and customer account representative, and finally landing in her final position as member service representative.
Throughout her many changes in title, capital credits became her forte. Sandy was instrumental in changes to the capital credits process throughout her years at the co-op.
“Sandy has a deep knowledge of the capital credits process,” says Pioneer Member Service Manager Lisa Benanzer. “She has led the process for years with a great deal of accuracy — this is one area we will miss her the most.”
The biggest change she experienced during her time at Pioneer was automation. Pioneer began installing automatic meter readers in 2005, which transformed many manual day-to-day tasks to be more efficient than in the past.
When Sandy started at Pioneer, cashiers and clerks were required to key in account numbers, use, and payments. Now a majority of payments are handled online or by credit card.
Sandy spent time checking the key accounts “power book,” a locked book of meter readings, and manually inputting each meter reading, prior to implementing automation. She was alsopart of the group that sent out late notices, a process that was done completely in-house at that time.
Despite all the changes, Sandy says the one thing that has kept constant and that she enjoyed the most about her job were her daily interactions with the membership.
“Sandy has been an asset to our team through her interactions and willingness to go above and beyond for our membership during her career at Pioneer,” says Benanzer.
“Her attention to detail allowed her to diligently perform all of her job responsibilities.”
During her retirement, Sandy looks forward to traveling with her husband and spending more time with her family.