Kenne Dailie will retire from Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative (WVEC) after a 17-year career. His last day is Friday, March 3, and members who wish to congratulate him are invited to WVEC’s headquarters for cake and ice cream at 3 p.m.
Kenne began working at the coop as an apprentice electrician and HVAC assistant on November 1, 2005, just before a major winter storm struck the region on Thanksgiving weekend. High winds and heavy accumulations of ice caused several thousand power poles, along with thousands of miles of power lines, to come down. Damaged and downed trees also contributed to widespread outages. Hundreds of utility workers from South Dakota, Minnesota, and nine neighboring states worked 14 to 18-hour days in frigid conditions to restore power.
Kenne was one of them. And, he says his first 1000 hours at WVEC went by fast due in part to that eight-day storm. He remembers weathering several storms since, but none quite as devastating.
His workdays remained busy, although, not as harrowing. He says, “I changed out over 300 water heater controllers during my employment.” He also pointed out that as the years rolled by, things tended to get bigger. “The electric services being added are larger and require larger wire. Bigger heating and cooling systems and motors are also being installed.” He noted how lighting needs are now being met with more energy efficient LED options and that electronic meters, load controllers, and other electronics have greatly improved members’ service.
Kenne and his wife, Sheila, have added a camper to their retirement plans in hopes of visiting and spoiling their grandchildren. The Dailies have four daughters: Laura (Scott) Mueller, Milbank,; Shaunna (Scot) Johnson, St. Paul, Minnesota; Julanne (Steven) Keil, Alexandra, Virginia; and Ashley (Ethane) Robish, Fargo, North Dakota. Ten grandchildren will also keep them on their toes and entertained. They include: Kenadee and Olivia Mueller; Micah, Caleb, and Nehemiah Johnson; Jack and Luke Keil; and Mya, Parker, and Flynn Robish. Kenne also plans to spend time on the farm rebuilding his ’49 Chevy, his ’74 Chevy short box, and tuning up his “old tractors.”. “Whetstone Valley Electric has been a great place to work,”
Kenne stated. “I will miss my co-workers. They are all so willing to serve our members.” According to a spokesperson at WVEC, Kenne’s friendliness and willingness to help others will also be greatly missed.