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February 19, 2024

Celebrating Our Engineers

 Engineers are curious. They become engineers because they like to build, and they want to make something useful.

All across our service territory,

engineers on our team are working to support the safe, reliable flow of power to our customers. To celebrate Engineers Week, we asked them about what led them to engineering and the ways their work supports our customers. Their expertise and creativity enable us to provide our customers with safer, more reliable power, making way for a brighter energy future.

Karmyn Waite
Karmyn Waite, a trained engineer and now project manager for our Energy Delivery team, was first drawn to her field by a desire to see her work come to life in a way that would benefit the public.
Her work now is focused on upgrading and building new assets, like substations and transmission lines, that will power communities in AEP Ohio’s footprint. One of those projects is a risk mitigation program that involves making existing transmission towers taller.
“This technology is not common work and takes a lot of skilled engineering and construction to pull off. We can do the construction of this in a day, making minimal impacts on our customers.”
Seeing the results of her work in the communities we serve has been a source of fulfillment for Karmyn.
“I absolutely love driving past a substation or transmission line and knowing that I had a direct impact on it being installed. Knowing that there wouldn’t be power moving to someone’s home without the work that the team and I did is extremely rewarding.” 
Hongda Ren
As an engineer with the System Analysis group, Hongda Ren focuses on identifying risks and keeping the power system stable. When the team identifies a potential risk, whether it’s from operation and maintenance activity, extreme weather events, or grid extensions, they get to work finding technical solutions to mitigate that risk.
“We consider solutions in multiple aspects, like safety, economics, efficiency, time constraints, and long-term impacts in the future. Sometimes, it is challenging, but it brings me a sense of achievement.”
For Hongda, it’s a career path with an important purpose.
“Engineering brings the opportunity to convert ideas to real things, from design on paper to real-life function to make meaningful contributions and improve lives. Engineering also attracts people with similar skills, knowledge, and interests to work together to fulfill something big.”
Justin Bennett
While in high school, Justin Bennett, EI excelled at math and science and making sense of the complex, but a different subject ultimately drove him to a career in civil engineering.
“I think what shifted me towards civil engineering specifically was my love for history and seeing how civilizations and people throughout time designed and built incredible things like the Great Pyramids or the Roman Aqueducts. By combining math, science, and history together I decided on pursuing a career in civil engineering.”
As an engineer in the Energy Delivery team, his work supports our customers by focusing on reliability and affordability.
“We provide a vital product to our customers, and as time goes on, the importance of electricity in our country grows. Making sure the lights stay on at my level involves assisting in vital compliance efforts and designing our transmission lines from a structural and clearance standpoint in a way that ensures the grid is robust and ready for the future.
“Having a reliable grid is essential, but it has to be affordable to all of our customers as well. In every project, I try to look for ways to be cost-effective in my designs, since at the end of the day our customers will be affected, no matter how small, by the decisions I make.”
Allyson Wilson
Being told she was “good at math” was enough to encourage Allyson Wilson to consider engineering, but it was the problem-solving and critical thinking that drew her in.
“Treating every project as a new puzzle really solidified my initial interest in engineering.”
At Amos Plan in Winfield, WV she is constantly learning while supporting the flow of power to our customers.
“Being able to help the operators and system owners make the control logic more efficient and practical allows them to produce power to the customers in a safe and effective way. Being able to learn new things, literally every day, and apply that knowledge about power plants, the grid, etc. has been one of my favorite aspects of this job.”
Austin Bone
Engineering technologist senior Austin Bone applies his previous field experience to the work his team does.
“I spent six years as a protection and controls technician in Victoria, TX, and I wanted to bring that knowledge to an engineering group to help the engineers understand views and issues encountered from the field perspective and try to enhance any process I could.”
His attention to detail supports field employees’ ability to make sure we are delivering safe, reliable power.
Patricia Mueller
Engineer Patricia Mueller wasn’t exposed to engineering early in life; she simply “liked to draw and wanted to be employable.” That led her to mechanical drafting classes at a vocational high school, and then to complete a degree in electrical engineering. She now works in the Advanced Distribution Studies group at AEP.
“My responsibilities support our customers by planning the safe, efficient, and reliable delivery of electric service to distribution customers. Power systems need to be designed with all three in mind.”
With the power system evolving, she’s excited about emerging technologies that will be needed to address changes to the power system, such as the addition of Distributed Energy Resources (DER).
“Unlike traditional large-scale power plants, DER are connected to the lower-voltage distribution grid, serving homes and businesses directly. When I started as a planning and protection engineer 20 plus years ago, distribution circuits were radial, i.e., power flowing from one source in one direction. Now customers install generators, solar, and batteries for their own consumption, and then send unused energy into the grid via a distribution circuit. Modeling and analyzing these circuits using sophisticated software like CYME (a distribution system modeling tool) is needed to keep up with this new normal.”
Thomas Lentz
Curiosity inspired Thomas Lentz MBA to pursue a career as an engineer.
“Growing up I always was curious how things were made or worked. I was always taking things apart and putting them back together again. Sometimes, that didn’t always work. In high school I was in an electronics class where we learned to wire houses and fix TVs, radios and other small appliances. I still like to tinker with things and fix them.”
His role on the Advanced Distribution Systems team supports a modeling tool for substations and feeders that take power from substations and into the communities we serve.
“I don’t know if I have a favorite part since I like most all of it. We are like an R&D (Research and Development) for many systems, and research on what will make things better is always interesting.”
If these stories from our engineers spark your curiosity, consider joining our team. Find opportunities and internships for engineers at

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