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03/26/2014 ~ Keys Energy Services (KEYS) recently dedicated a new facility to house the Transmission & Distribution (T&D) department, at KEYS’ Stock Island Generating Facility. The T&D facility is comprised of two structures, one newly refurbished and one newly built to withstand a category-five hurricane. The construction of the nearly 12,000 square-foot facility was overseen by Biltmore Construction Company at a cost of $3.4-million. The building was designed by Bender & Associates.

The refurbished structure was re-dedicated in honor of former Lineman Rafael ‘Tony’ Medina, for whom the building was originally dedicated in 1987. Medina was hired as an Apprentice Lineman at City Electric System in 1979 and later promoted to Journeyman Lineman. Medina was renowned for his line work skills and for passing on such skills to Linemen Apprentices. While employed at the utility, Medina was diagnosed with brain cancer, yet continued to report to work as his treatments allowed. He lost his battle to cancer on August 25, 1987, at the age of 31. In honor of his courage in the face of insurmountable odds, the utility named the existing T&D department structure in his honor later that year. It previously housed office space and a locker room for the T&D department. After its current refurbishment, the Medina building now houses locker rooms for the entire T&D department and equipment storage.

The newly constructed structure was dedicated in honor of former Lineman Josh Yarbrough, who died tragically in the line of duty on August 30, 2012, at the age of 28. Yarbrough was hired as an Apprentice Lineman for KEYS in 2005 and later promoted to a Journeyman Lineman. Yarbrough was greatly respected by his fellow Linemen and well known to have a great sense of humor. Yarbrough was electrocuted while responding to a routine after-hours partial power call at a Lundy Lane home in Big Pine Key. In honor of his ultimate sacrifice, and to help raise awareness of the dangerous work KEYS’ employees face on a daily basis, the utility named the newly constructed building in his honor. The Yarbrough building was built to withstand category-five hurricane force winds, a first for a KEYS’ facilities. It houses all the office space for the T&D department, in addition to training, meeting, and break rooms.

During the dedication ceremony Utility Board Chair Peter Batty stated that, “while we are working to harden our system against hurricanes, we also now have a structure that will stand up to the elements and be able to act as a safe haven for our employees, as well as the technology that we depend on to service our customers.” The Yarbrough building will house a backup for the computer system that controls the local electric grid and will serve as a back-up operations center should KEYS’ Service Building in Key West be compromised.

KEYS’ General Manager & CEO Lynne Tejeda stated that, “for years the T&D department functioned out of different locations, and for a department where teamwork is of the utmost importance it has always been a goal to unite these employees under the same roof.” She went on to add, “that goal has now been realized”.

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