By Heather Teter / Special to The Tally Wire
TALLAHASSEE, Fla — The City of Tallahassee provides natural gas to more than 33,000 customers in the Leon, Gadsden and Wakulla counties. This clean, safe and economical energy source is delivered to customers through approximately 920 miles of underground natural gas mains. Helping customers access their natural gas safely at the end of this underground infrastructure is Antonio “Tony” Hayes.
With over 31 years at the City under his tool belt, Hayes is an expert in the Natural Gas Utility Department. Daily, he travels throughout the community, igniting pilot lights so that families can cook meals, dry clothes, heat water, and warm their homes. While Hayes focuses mostly on residential customers, he performs this same service for commercial customers, too.
When Hayes isn’t lighting pilot lights, you can find him reading natural gas meters and testing the reliability of the system. “I love working for the City of Tallahassee,” he said. “I love the organization, the community, and most of all, I love providing excellent service to our natural gas customers.”
Born and raised in Tallahassee, Hayes has never left the area, opting to stay in the Capital City where he has continued to grow in his craft. “I’ve stayed in Tallahassee all these years because everything I need is right here,” Tony said. “I’ve never had cause to leave, and I’ve continued living and learning all along the way.”
Putting that sentiment into practice, Hayes will take part in the Natural Gas Utility’s new apprenticeship/journey-level program this fall. This training program mirrors the existing apprenticeship/journey-level program offered through the City’s Electric Utility Department and applies it to the natural gas field. Throughout the program, he will continue learning with on-the-job training and classroom instruction, allowing him the opportunity to earning additional certifications and increase his wage structure.
“Nearly 40 percent of gas and electric utility workers are slated to retire within the next decade,” Rob McGarrah, General Manager of Energy Services, said. “Our new Natural Gas Utility apprenticeship/journey-level program will allow us to provide the highest quality training to our employees, those new and experienced, so that we may continue to operate and maintain best-in-class utility services for years to come.”
If you or someone you know is interested in having a lasting career with the City like Hayes, view current job openings at Talgov.com. As one of the largest employers in the community, the City is always looking to hire qualified applicants to fill its vacant positions. Candidates applying for specialized positions will receive training.
“I plan to continue serving customers for as long as I can,” Hayes said with a smile. “It’s my pleasure.”