Time for Graeme to turn his energies to fishing
MANY people in Ballina would know Graeme Carr.
He has worked for Country Energy and its predecessors for 41 years and is currently the Ballina area manager.
But he has decided to retire, with plans to spend his new-found free time fishing and travelling.
Mr Carr looked after Country Energy's Ballina, Ewingsdale and Woodburn field service centres and their 70 or so workers for the past eight years.
He started working for Northern Rivers County Council in Grafton in 1968 as an apprentice linesman and came to Ballina in 1970.
“I stayed because it was a good life here and I enjoyed the outdoor work. It's gone in a blur,” he said.
“When I came to Ballina there were only about 1700 people here.
“Over the years we've done a huge amount of work improving service levels and interconnecting the network and that will continue.”
One of the highlights of Mr Carr's career has been watching young locals take on apprenticeship opportunities and develop their skills within the company.
He also started Country Energy's osprey conservation program.
“Ospreys like to nest on our power poles, which is not the safest place for them,” Mr Carr said.
“With National Parks, we started recording breeding cycles and putting cradles on 'dummy' poles for them, where they could build their nests away from the live conductors.
“We started with one pole on Ballina Golf Course and now there are nesting sites throughout the area.”
Mr Carr said the region's severe storms in May were some of the worst he had seen in his 40 years with the company.
“I've seen some big weather events in my time here, and the last one was one of the worst, certainly in duration,” he said.
“One of the best things about getting the power back on in adverse conditions is the positive customer feedback. I've done a lot of on-call work and it's very rewarding when you can solve someone's problem.”
Country Energy's regional general manager, Richard Wake, said Mr Carr would be missed.
“Graeme is very dedicated and has a vast amount of local knowledge and experience,” he said.
“We really appreciate his efforts over the years and the qualities he's brought to the job.”
Mr Carr's replacement is Mark Summers, who has been with Country Energy for 24 years - 21 of those in Ballina.
He is a dual qualified linesman/electrician.