Dean Stange

StangeDean1671_2_pro.jpgFor those of you who don't know me, I am one of those members who grew up in Muscatine and worked in the Muscatine office
before transferring to another office. I never "officially" transferred to the Denver office, I just went there for a project 20 years ago
and somehow never moved back to Muscatine. But more on that later.

I joined Stanley Consultants in 1972 as a draftsman in training.
After graduating from a 6-week drafting course I spent a year or so working as a draftsman. I loved the work but my poor lettering skills limited my career opportunities. Fortunately I was encouraged to try other positions within the company. Initially I worked with the Electric Systems planning group doing studies for many of our rural electric cooperative clients. Then I was asked to assist with a line design/ staking project in Osceola. It was in the dead of winter and Don Osborne said "I would be good at it since I was a farm boy used to cold weather."

I also began working in construction inspection and administration. I was working on a Lee County Electric Co-op (1979-81) project in Florida when Gregs Thomopulos asked me to join our project team in Yemen (Ta'izz Water and Sewerage system). The original engineering firm had basically been kicked out of the country and the client (USAID) asked Stanley Consultants to take over construction administration. It was the biggest project I'd ever worked on but I had experience with power line design and the conductor type that the client was using. The project eventually turned out fine but the food was another matter. To prepare for supposedly a year and a half abroad I shipped 250 pounds of air freight and 1500 pounds of sea freight to Yemen. The sea freight was mostly groceries – things like soup, pickles, canned meat. The air freight arrived within six weeks, but the sea freight was held at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah for five months while additional "handling fees" were negotiated. When it finally arrived there wasn't enough time left to eat it so Jim Edgmond and I set up a grocery store in our house and invited other Stanley families living in Ta'izz to go shopping.

In 1983, Walt Jones asked me to provide construction inspection for an Intermountain Rural Electric Association project in Colorado. I believed him when he said the project would only last for seven months. But somehow that "seven month project" has turned into a 20-year stint in the Colorado office.

During my 40 years with the company I've worked with many outstanding members and clients. I can't cover all the memorable stories today but I will share one that came close to life and death. It happened while I was surveying for the North Coast Highway in Jamaica. Our job was to set up the tripod and total station every 25 meters near the centerline of the proposed highway and then take elevation shots left and right of the centerline out to about 100 meters.

We encountered a lot of brush, vines and foliage, so we hired local labor to clear line of sight. Usually we had two or three fellows clearing line. The tool of choice was a machete or cane knife.

One day Brian Dean, Tony Garcia and I were surveying with a local named George when I heard on the radio "George just hit his leg with a machete and he's bleeding pretty bad!"

Tony and Brian helped George out of the brush and began to compress the deep wound, which ran half way thru the tendon just below his knee. We used the biggest bandages we had (2"x3") and wrapped up his leg in a towel. With no surgical tape, duct tape or electrical tape, we secured the towel with many yards of hot pink survey ribbon. George lost a lot of blood and when we moved him to the truck it looked he could go into shock. All the way to the hospital Brian kept up a constant conversation with George to keep him conscious.

At the emergency room we learned that the doctor had gone home for the day. The nurses assured us they could take care of George – until they got a good look at the wound – then they called the doctor back in. It took the doctor an hour to repair and patch George's injury. He instructed us to bring George back in one week for a checkup.

We took George home to his village, gave him half a week's wages and said we would be back to take him to his checkup. A week later George could not be found. I've always hoped that he wasn't killed him for the extra cash we left with him. He would likely have been crippled if we hadn't taken him to the hospital. And Brian's running conversation likely kept him from going into shock and dying.

Throughout my career with Stanley Consultants there have been maybe six days that I had to argue with myself about whether or not I wanted to go to work. If I ever get to the point where I have those arguments with myself on a regular basis then I'll have to walk away and find something else to do. In the meantime, retirement lies somewhere in my distant future. I have a retirement plan - I may consider retiring when I have the lowest active member number. My member number is 1671. There are still more than a dozen members with lower member numbers than mine, so as of now the plan is not in action.

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