Pride of the Pine Belt: Southern Pine EPA recognizes long time employee

Charlie Robinson, 81, started his career with Southern Pine Electric Power Association on February 15, 1949 at the age of 17.

"I wanted to work and I needed the money. I knew I was going to have to work. I thought this would be a good place for me to start," said Robinson.

Robinson remembers that working for a power company in those times meant hard labor and long days.

"It wasn't but two can't's out there. If you can't do it, you can't stay. So, I promised them if they would give me a job and let me have a chance, if I couldn't do the work I would quit. They wouldn't have to terminate me," said Robinson.

Robinson proved to be a hard worker. He says before his 18 birthday he received his first check. He keeps a copy in his office. Robinson says he and his wife didn't have much, but they could have a good time with less than a dollar.

"We could go to the movie on pay day week that was every two weeks. We could get a bag of popcorn, and we would split that bag of popcorn. We'd pay thirty five cents a piece for our tickets to get into the drive in," said Robinson.

From those humble beginnings, Robinson moved up through nine positions over 65 years. Now he is the district manager in New Hebron. He says he's watched operations go from manual to electronics changing the entire industry.

"In the beginning we did everything by hand. We didn't have any digging trucks, bucket trucks. We dug our holes by hand. We toted our poles to the location by hand. Technology has brought us a long way. Today it would be hard for the people today to understand where we came from to get here," said Robinson.

Some members of Southern Pine EPA believe Robinson holds the record within the company for longest continuous employment. Robinson says he doesn't know if it's true or not, but the one thing he knows for certain is he's not planning on retiring anytime soon.

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