Tucson Electric Power employees have deep roots in the Tucson area – setting up homes, raising families and volunteering thousands upon thousands of hours to improve the quality of life in our community.
When TEP began in 1892, Tucson had a population of just 7,000 people. Now, the company alone employs more than 1,200 people who live in 31 communities throughout Southern Arizona.
Most employees live in Tucson, Oro Valley, Sahuarita and Marana, communities that are home to many of the 420,000 customers served by TEP. Some families have two generations that have worked for TEP.
Here are some of the TEP employees in your community:
Since she was a child growing up in Tucson, Alison Rothwell, pictured center above, has made volunteering a big part of her life.
This year, her efforts landed her TEP’s Volunteer of the Year award, mostly because of her longtime work with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, where she organizes food-packing sessions and orange-picking events.
Rothwell’s time in Tucson goes back to age 4, when her family moved from California. Shortly after, her mother, Glynda Rothwell, began a nearly 25-year career at TEP.
Alison Rothwell followed in her mother’s footsteps when she took a job at TEP about nine years ago; now she works as a Senior Regulatory/Legal Contract Administrator.
In addition to volunteering for the food bank, Rothwell has chaired and served on the company’s Community Action Team and helped colleagues learn how to lead volunteer events. She coordinates shopping sprees for children during the holidays and back-to school times. Along with her daughter, Rothwell represented TEP on the company’s Tucson Rodeo Parade float.
She has volunteered with other nonprofit organizations, including the Junior League of Tucson, Pima Animal Care Center and a school Parent Teacher Organization.
“When talking to people in the community, I always share how much I appreciate TEP,” said Rothwell, who now lives in Oro Valley. “I have never worked with a better group of people who truly care about our community.”
When he’s not helping TEP’s commercial customers, Ryan Anderson can be seen around town playing rhythm guitar at local breweries, 2nd Saturdays Downtown and special events.
Anderson, a Senior Customer Relationship Manager, founded the band, Hey Bucko!, with two friends in 2012. During a get-together one night, he and his friends picked up some guitars and started playing spaghetti Western music. None of the members wanted to sing, so they wrote instrumental music, stocking more than three hours in their repertoire.
Before long, the trio became the first band hired to play at Tap & Bottle, a beer and wine shop. The band also has performed at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, at the Fox Theatre, and during an Edible Baja Arizona event at the Rialto Theater.
Hey Bucko!’s music can be heard in some independent movies as well as in the background of an advertisement for Tucson’s Pinnacle Peak restaurant. Beyond Tucson, their music has been picked up by a radio station in Denmark and a small show in Brooklyn.
The band also serves as a business sponsor for the Living Streets Alliance.
“It’s a fun, artistic collaboration,” said Anderson, who lives north of downtown Tucson. “I enjoy communicating with the local audience through music.”
Karen Lee-Yee tried out line dancing for fun during a lunchtime class at work in the 1990s, adding to her already active fitness lifestyle.
Now, Lee-Yee is at the front of line dancing and aerobics classes, instructing about 20 classes a week in gyms, retirement communities, nightclubs, an assisted living facility and the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center.
Outside of her job in Protection Engineering, Lee Yee especially enjoys leading classes for seniors at The Fountains at La Cholla and the cultural center.
“It makes me happy to see them improve,” said Lee-Yee, who lives on Tucson’s northwest side. “The biggest benefit is watching them achieve their goals and having fun.”
Lee-Yee never planned to teach classes. But she agreed to try it out when her step aerobics instructor at a local gym asked her to substitute for a few weeks. Then Lee-Yee decided to take over permanently when the job became open.
The same thing happened for line dancing.
In addition to the dance classes, Lee-Yee volunteers for the cultural center’s Chinese New Year’s event with performances and other tasks. She also sits on the Pan Asian Community Alliance’s board.
“I help them with whatever they need done,” Lee-Yee said.
Ron Petersen visited Tucson for the first time to see the parents of a friend, who was in Vietnam at the time in 1966. During his 10-day visit, he met his future wife and got a job at TEP.
When he retired earlier this year after 50 years, Petersen was one of the longest-serving employees at TEP.
“Who would think that 50 years later I would be so fortunate to still have both?” Petersen said shortly before his retirement.
Throughout his career, Petersen worked in construction, ending as a Troubleman stationed in Green Valley.
Outside of his job, Petersen coached Little League for 30 years and raised two sons: Mickey Petersen became a police officer, and Scott Petersen is a firefighter.
“We are a typical American family,” Ron Petersen said. “TEP gave me the opportunity to stay here and be part of this community.”
Now that he is retired, Petersen, who lives in Corona de Tucson, spends three mornings a week playing baseball on a 60-and-older team at Udall Park. He hopes to start volunteering for Little League again soon.