If you have been to the St. Stephen Powerhouse, you have met Leroy Pinckney.
"Leroy is very personable and the first to greet someone that visits the powerhouse," said Joe Moran, Chief of Operations. "When I showed up to the powerhouse as a fish biologist from Washington, D.C., Leroy was one of the first to shake my hand and welcome me."
While Pinckney is the unofficial greeter at the powerhouse, his "real" job is a mechanic, but he does much more than that. And to top it all off, Pinckney is 70 years old. Most people would have retired when they hit 55, but not Pinckney.
"I am 22 minutes from home," said Pinckney. "I have a good job and I love it here."
Pinckney started with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on April 11, 1988 at the St. Stephen Powerhouse as a mechanic. In 1994, the plant manager asked Pinckney if he wanted to join the four-year mechanical training program in the Savannah District and, at the ripe age of 46, he readily agreed.
"I did rotations through the different powerhouses and dams in the Savannah District before landing at the Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake where I stayed for 12 years," said Pinckney. "I only wanted to be gone from St. Stephen for five years at the most, but it took 12 years to return home."
Since his return to the powerhouse, Pinckney works to ensure that the plant is running smoothly and helps out where he can.
"Each day is different," said Pinckney. "But in general, I check all the equipment for preventative maintenance, I work with the trainees, really I do whatever I can to keep the powerhouse running so that when Santee Cooper wants power or needs it, everything is set and there aren’t any issues."
"Leroy has an amazing work ethic," said Moran. "You rarely see him sitting around, he’s always working on something, researching something, or helping one of the staff complete a task. I can’t imagine there is a job or repair that he has not seen before and he shares his experience with the staff."
He does so much that the previous plant manager asked if he would be interested in being the senior mechanic. Pinckney passed because he enjoyed his current job so much, but suggested that Arthur Brown, who Pinckney worked with at Strom Thurmond, be interviewed and Brown got the job.
"My favorite thing about working here is that we are a close knit group," said Pinckney. "We help each other, the electrical guys help the mechanics and the mechanics help the electricians. That’s not very common."
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and Pinckney’s time at the Corps is coming to end.
"I plan to retire Dec. 31, 2018," said Pinckney. "I have 14 grandkids, all are athletes, and I want to spend time with them, I want to go to their sports events. I feel like I am missing out and I feel guilty about that."
Once retired, Pinckney intends on spending time with his bride of 47 years, Peggy, traveling and visiting family. He also plans to continue to umpire for NCAA girls’ softball tournaments, which he has done for the last 15 years.
"He will be missed greatly," said Moran. "I cannot recall a time in the breakroom with the guys, that he was not telling a joke, or telling a story about one of the games he called last weekend. It definitely won’t be the same without him."