Vern Luft retires
Vern Luft enjoys people. His passion for customer service and a desire to know the customers that he serves runs deep. Just a few minutes visiting with him makes it evident. Vern can tell you where customers live, who used to live in the house before the current family moved in, who owned a local store during a certain timeframe, and some favorite jokes and stories between him and the local farmers.
After 31 years of service as a Dawson PPD lineman, Vern is ready to retire.
A Fullerton native, Vern graduated high school and attained his utility line degree from Northeast Community College in 1980. He spent the next 10 years at Howard-Greely Public Power District. In 1990, he began as a construction crew lineman at Dawson PPD. He remained in that position until a maintenance lineman position opened in December 1994. Since then, Vern has been serving customers in his service territory in the north and west of Lexington.
“The improvement to our after-hours calls stands out in my mind,” he said. “We started with being on call with our home’s land lines, which meant you didn’t wander too far from the house. The Dawson County Sheriff’s Department dispatched us after regular business hours. Then we had pagers. Then Nebraska Public Power District built a call center and we contracted with them. After that, we had cell phones to take home.”
Vern also remembers using paper maps of Dawson PPD’s distribution system to find customer locations throughout the District. That was before digital maps on laptops and iPads in the truck.
He says that the best part of the job has been working with fellow employees and his customers. Vern says the customer appreciation and the big “thank yous” over the years has meant a lot. During storm restoration, he noted that customers have often times brought out snacks and pop.
Vern may be closing this chapter in his life, but his connection with people will not end. His retirement plans include spending time with his grandchildren by moving closer to family, working part-time on a farm and reacquainting himself with his favorite hobbies of hunting and fishing.