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Setting the Tone for Safety

Susan Dunlap

How does RUS demonstrate a sincere commitment to safety? While safety policies regulate our work place, it is our actions that set the tone for safety in everything we do. RUS’s President/CEO Dan Cothran came up with a suggestion recently that sends a clear message about the company’s culture of safety.

Two RUS crew members were assigned to a welding job at a hydro facility. They needed to be re-certified in First Aid/CPR before the job started. Susan Dunlap, Director of Operations, scheduled an on-site Red Cross course for the two employees. Due to the small class size, she opened up the registration to the home office employees. When no one was free on such short notice, Dan suggested offering the course to family members (with RUS covering everyone’s training cost).

Two employees responded by enrolling their children– and that’s how Maggie and Avery came to CPR/First Aid training at Regional Utility Services. Maggie is a 26-year-old school teacher – headed off to Maryland this fall to teach high school Spanish at Barrie School. Avery is a rising sophomore who is interested in pursuing a career as an EMT.

“Their energy and enthusiasm made a great addition to our class,” said Donnie Harris, RUS welder. “And it was nice to get to know two kids who we hear so much about

at work.” After receiving her certificate, Maggie thanked RUS for providing her with the training she needed for school. “Now I have the skills I need to help someone during a crisis – at home and at school.”

RUS got the chance to demonstrate their commitment to safety – on and off the job site, at work and at home, for our employees and for our families. That’s the culture of safety that we want to always have in place.

Supporting Our Local Green Spaces

RUS is pleased to support Trees Coalition, a local non-profit dedicated to removing invasive species that damage trees (like kudzu, wisteria and English ivy). Danny Elder, RUS shop manager, repaired two important pieces of donated equipment for the TC work crew. Danny is pictured here with volunteer Dr. Bob Reynolds and Trees Coalition supervisor Anthony Radziewicz, along with a newly refurbished wood chipper and bush mower.

The Trees Coalition (www.treescoalition.org) is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit group located in Spartanburg, SC that was formed to educate and inspire communities to care for their trees, especially those trees planted along our city streets and walking trails. The Trees Coalition is an expansion of the Kudzu Coalition, a group that pioneered herbicide-free kudzu removal.  The non-profit organization is a mix of volunteers and paid landscapers who train and work alongside neighborhoods, churches, schools, colleges, and businesses to provide help in caring for trees. Improvements by TC can be seen at Hatcher Gardens, Glendale Shoals, and the Mary Black Rail Trail – all green spaces that are open to the public.

Thank you to Trees Coalition for all they do for Spartanburg. RUS is excited to be a partner in their mission!

Building up “STEAM”

“I liked the way I could turn on the water and turn the turbine on the model to create power,” said Tyler, a 5th grade student at Roebuck Elementary School. Tyler is a STEAM Scholar, and he participates in a program at his school that focuses on collaborative experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math.

The goal of STEAM at Roebuck Elementary is to build a strong foundation for young learners in these important areas. By providing hands-on opportunities, students are encouraged to become engaged in science and technology-related fields. What better way to peak their curiosity than to set up a working hydro power plant inside their classroom?

Regional Utility Services did just that. President and CEO Dan Cothran and Business Development Director Nathan Faulkner brought a working model of a dam to Roebuck Elementary and let the students generate power. Kelseay grasped the key concept, saying she “liked learning how water can be turned into energy.” Her classmate Lorden made the connection between the demonstration and the ultimate result: “I liked how the engineers create simple machines that can be used for big things.”

As students controlled the flow of water, they began to understand how an increase in the water’s pressure turned the turbine faster and generated more power. They also learned about the history of dams and the important part they play in the Southeast. Kaitlyn appreciated the stories of how Regional Utility Services crew members have to think creatively to repair many of the hydro plants. She explained that “the engineers told us about the places they worked and about all of their imagination to make things better.”

Roebuck’s STEAM Program is a Spartanburg School District 6 initiative and part of the national program, “Project Lead the Way.” Roebuck is one of the first “Project Lead the Way” schools in the nation. The school’s core commitments include community involvement and partnerships with local businesses, providing much needed support for the STEAM Program.

Regional Utility services is proud to support a local school that is encouraging students to become electrical engineers and industrial designers. These STEAM scholars will shape the future of our business and our community. Thank you for letting RUS be a part of your STEAM Program, Roebuck Elementary School!