Multi-generation PPL employees share the pride their parents and grandparents felt working for the company.
Jessica Rosato was 11 years old when she accompanied her father to PPL Electric Utilities’ Scranton Service Center for Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.
A worker there snapped the young girl’s photo as she tried on lineman safety equipment, including an orange PPL jacket, a helmet, eye protection and protective gloves.
“A few days later, my Dad said, ‘Jess, they put your picture on the wall.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s cool,’” Rosato said.
Fast forward 11 years and Rosato was hired by PPL Electric Utilities as a collections assistant in the Customer Service department in 2010. On her first day, as she walked through the Scranton Service Center, she found her 11-year-old self smiling back at her – the poster she had posed for a decade earlier remained on the wall.
“I thought the picture was just this little one, maybe on his desk,” she said. “It was huge.”
On that day, Rosato became a third-generation family member to work for PPL – a scenario that isn’t uncommon for the family-oriented company. Rosato’s father, John Rosato, was recruited by Rosato’s maternal grandfather, the late Frank Fumanti.
“I saw how proud my grandfather and father were to work for PPL and I feel that same pride,” Rosato said. “It’s a family-like atmosphere here.”
Fumanti started at the company in 1964 and worked as a lineman and store room supervisor. John Rosato joined PPL in 1985 as a meter reader, before serving in a number of different roles including service tech, lineman, journeyman and troubleman.
Jessica Rosato has grown since her hire, too. She moved up from a collection assistant to a customer service representative to a digital media specialist to a process improvement specialist to a communications and marketing specialist. The Fumanti-Rosato family’s work service spans 56 of the company’s 100 years.
Jessica Rosato recalls her father and grandfather frequently donning PPL T-shirts and hats and telling work stories as she was growing up.
“When I was little, we would go to church on Sundays, then go out to lunch and while we were driving around, my dad would say, ‘I installed that transformer’ or he’d teach us about the lines and the work he performed on them,” Rosato said. “He has always had such great pride in working for PPL and keeping the lights on.”
‘A chip off the old block’
Mal Roach Jr. knew he had huge shoes to fill when he joined PPL (then PP&L) in 1950. Eleven years earlier, Roach’s father, Malcolm Roach Sr., had gained much attention for saving a co-worker’s life in 1939.
“A lot of young men back then were drawn to their father’s occupation, out of pride and fascination,” Mal Roach Jr. said. “I was such a young man and after graduation from high school, I was hired by PP&L on Jan. 15, 1950.”
Mal Roach Jr. would go on to work 40 years with the company as a lineman, safety instructor and safety and health consultant, retiring in 1990. All the while, his father’s legacy endured.
Malcolm Roach Sr., a lineman, is credited with saving the life of fellow crew member Daniel Tauber on Oct. 5, 1939 after Tauber contacted an energized 4,000-volt phase wire. Malcolm Roach Sr. was on the ground nearby, heard Tauber call for help and ran to the pole and climbed it. Tauber fell unconscious and was draped across a transformer cross arm. Malcolm Roach Sr. put Tauber in position to receive pole-top resuscitation and did so until Tauber regained consciousness and began breathing again.
Malcolm Roach Sr. was presented with an Edison Electric Institute medal and certificate during a dinner presentation in front of 300 employees that was covered by Allentown newspaper The Morning Call. The medal is composed largely of copper from the original cable installed in New York City by Thomas Edison in 1881 as part of the first underground system in the world.
Malcolm Roach Sr. was 34 at the time and in his 16th year with PP&L. He spent the next 30 years working for the company.
One photo of the father and son that Mal Roach Jr. recalls fondly appeared in an internal PP&L newsletter when Mal retired. Mal has his right arm draped over his father’s shoulders and the caption headline says, “A chip off the old block.”
Now 88, Mal Roach Jr. still remembers that photo and how warm it made him feel.
“I joined PP&L because I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” he said.
Jessica Rosato and Mal Roach Jr. didn’t just follow in their fathers’ footsteps, they forged their own paths at PPL in an exciting and constantly-evolving industry – one that promises to support generations of employees for decades to come.