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Graphics/sqsunbtn.jpg (979 bytes) Our History
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Graphics/sqsunbtn.jpg (979 bytes) Membership Information
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Graphics/sqsunbtn.jpg (979 bytes) The Southwest Wire
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        Our History...

In the fall of 1940, Jesse (Red) Paschall, a dispatcher located in Portland, Oregon, for the Portland General Electric Company, conceived the bright idea that a Dispatcher's Association would be advantageous, serve a useful purpose, and promote good fellowship.

In the early days, tie-line interconnections between neighboring electric utility systems were a rarity and a Power Dispatcher or System Operator Office was strictly a local function. The dispatchers who would be interested in such an effort were employees of various local organizations engaged in public service in the Portland area, i.e., two electric utilities, telephone company, gas company, two airlines, police department, county sheriff, telegraph company, railroad and street railway.

The idea was well accepted by both the Dispatchers of these various organizations and their immediate management representatives. To carry forward the embryo idea, a dinner meeting was held at a leading Portland hotel attended by fifty men. A congenial social evening was spent getting well acquainted. It was the unanimous consensus that a permanent organization should be established and regular meetings should be scheduled. Thus, the "Pacific Northwest Dispatcher's Association" became a living entity on April 15,1941.

Officers were elected: Jess Paschall, President; Sgt. Tho. J. Sheridan of the Oregon State Police, Secretary, and constituition and bylaws were adopted. Several meetings were held during the next few months at such places as a large brewery, and an airline dispatch office in conjunction with a long joy ride.

We can all look back to that fateful day of December 7,1941 when the United States became engaged in World War II and to the resultant drastic changes in our way of life. Those changes left little time for social activities and with a unanimous decision of all members of the newly established association, all further activities were canceled.

Hostilities eventually ceased and the nation centered its efforts on restoring civilian activities locally and thoughts were directed toward the revival of a Dispatcher's Association.

The Dispatcher's horizon had broadened during the war years, altering their outlook considerably. The terrific demand for electric power, the critical shortage of facilities and the absolute necessity for plant operation in the best possible pattern for the benefit of the entire Northwest area had brought about the creation of the Northwest Power Pool.

The operation of this Pool brought the Dispatchers of the various electric utilities forming the Pool very close together, mainly on a telephone communication basis. They became well aware of the meaning and value of cooperation.

Once again, under the impetus of Jess Paschall and others, thoughts went out over the communication network and immediate returns indicated a strong desire for a meeting of Dispatchers, but limited to those associated with electric power utility industry.

In answer to these desires, a preliminary dinner meeting was held late in 1945 at the St.Helens Hotel in Chehalis, Washington. Dispatchers representing electric utility members of the Power Pool attended, experiencing an interesting evening.

Probably the most exciting aspect of the entire evening was the opportunity of meeting faces that had previously been conjured imagination. It was the unanimous consensus that some type of power dispatcher association should be established. The leaders of this movement were highly satisfied with the reception and progress and made the necessary arrangements to carry it forward.

May 20, 1946 turned out to be the official birthday of the American Power Dispatcher's Association. On this day, thirty-eight dispatchers from Oregon, Washington, and Montana representing the following companies gathered for a dinner in Chehalis, Washington.


Pacific Power & Light, Portland General Electric, Bonneville Power Administration, Seattle City Light, Tacoma City Light, Puget Sound Power & Light, Washington Water Power Company, Montana Power Company.

The Association was officially established with Jess Paschal of Portland General Electric elected president and Bob White of Bonneville Power Administration elected secretary-treasurer. Dues of one dollar ($1.00) a year were designated and meetings were to be held semiannually-Spring and Fall with the officers directed to make the necessary arrangements.

A discussion soon developed as to the purpose and goals of the Association and the following was unanimously accepted:

"For the purpose of encouraging and promoting the formulation and attainment of higher professional standards among System Operators (Load Dispatchers & Power Dispatchers) and for the purpose of facilitating the interchange of ideas and information as well as for the development of spirit of fellowship among us."

At later discussions, the group went on record as refraining from affiliations with any labor organization or firm attempting to negotiate a labor contract. This concept was an absolute because the Association membership consisted of both Union and Non-Union members.

The members also went on record to refrain from participating, in any manner, in the Public-Private Power question as Association members were employed on both types of Utilities.

On developing educational interest at the meetings, guest speakers were obtained to discuss subjects that were generally focused on some segment of the electric utility industry. At times, members of management have been guests and it was realized very early that the presence of wives at the meetings added great zest and flavor to the social activities. Beyond any doubt the infant organization was off to a good start on an uncharted course.

The officers were greatly pressed for time to meet the rapidly growing demands for information regarding the fledgling organization and the possibility of expanding the membership because word of the organization had spread rapidly due to the efforts of Jesse Paschall, Lloyd Benson and others.

The Southwest came on board when H.G. Wahlstorm, an employee of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power joined the A.P.D.A in September of 1946. Mr. Wahlstorm did yeoman work recruiting members from Southern California Edison and. The American Power Dispatcher Association became international in August of 1947 when Roland Schou of the British Columbia Electric Company joined ranks.

Dispatchers from San Diego Gas & Electric came in early 1948 with Charles Camp being one of the first. His enthusiasm and efforts as a prolific correspondent greatly assisted in making known the A.P.D.A to many dispatch offices in the United States. The movement was readily accepted in the Texas area where Philip Gilbert was most active.

It was grasped in the Ohio-Pennsylvania area where Noel Madera of West Penn Power became a leader and organizer of the Association.

It was also briskly accepted in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, where Lehman, Farley, Mendenhall, DeWolfe, Detrick, Fauss, Stoddard and Lucas were active leaders.

Interest developed in the New England area where Marshall Bernier and others were energetic in their efforts to advance the benefits of A.P.D.A in their area, in Canada and New York.

As the Association grew, a plan was instituted where by the country was divided into geographic areas and the utilities and their dispatch offices assigned to the logical areas. Members in these areas elected their own officers, who made all arrangements to conduct the areas activities. The area officers were responsible to the National Officers. This plan has proved to be a great success.

Until 1950, the Northwest area was the "National Office," but at this time the National Office moved to the Southwest and thereafter rotated through the other areas every two to four years,

@ 2003 American Power Dispatchers Association Inc.
Southwest Area
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