Ferdinand hires Becher to lead town’s utilities

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — After three months without a town utilities superintendent, Ferdinand has found its man.

Becher

The Ferdinand Town Council approved the hiring of lifelong town resident Steve Becher as the leader of both the water and electric departments at its regular board meeting on Tuesday night, pending his passing of a drug test.

Becher — who currently works for Paoli-based ElectriCom, Inc. — is slated to begin work at the end of the month.

“I know they’ve got a lot of projects going on, so I guess I’m just going to get on them and see what needs to be done,” Becher said. “After that, (I’ll) just take a look over the (town), see what needs to be done, and kind of prioritize it.”

He added: “That’s going to be my biggest challenge — to prioritize what needs to be done first. I know there’s a long list of things to do.”

Town Manager Chris James said ongoing town projects include the replacement of a water main on Missouri Street and extending water service to the Royal Ridge apartment complex on the town’s north side. Later this month, work will begin on a water main replacement on Virginia Street and West 16th Street.

Becher previously worked for Ferdinand’s electric and water departments in other capacities for over 27 years. He was a certified electric lineman and water department employee. Becher handled installation and maintenance of overhead and underground electric lines; did storm work; installed and maintained water mains and services; and operated excavators, trenchers, bucket and digger trucks. He also worked for Huntingburg’s electric department for seven years and is a Class DSM water license holder, the license level required for a distribution-only water system like the one in Ferdinand.

In his new position, he will manage, plan, organize and direct departmental activities involving the operation, construction, maintenance, repair and modification of the town’s electrical and water distribution systems. This includes scheduling, directing and supervising day-to-day operations for both departments while also participating in daily work projects.

But why have one man lead both departments? James said personnel are shared between the two areas. So, if the shared employees are in the middle of a water project and something pops up on the electric side of things, they would have to get permission from the wastewater superintendent to complete the electric work.

At the meeting, Sicard said the council engaged in discussions about possibly splitting the position and bringing in two employees, but ultimately decided against it.

Pending his passage of the required drug test, Becher’s first day will be Monday, July 31. Former Utilities Superintendent Henry Haake resigned in April, and currently works for the Jasper Electric Department.

“I’ll have to see that when I get there,” Becher laughed when asked if he was worried about the workload of the two departments. “I know it’s going to be a challenge, but let’s just see what you do.”

Becher lives in Ferdinand with his wife, Chris, and his sons, Bryce, 18, and Ben, 17.




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