Property Maintenance Foreman | Clinton, Tenn.
Danny Gouge is the kind of guy who takes a day off work to be with his wife on her birthday. He thinks his three girls are the prettiest things he’s ever seen, and he’s already dreaming about taking his four-month-old son fishing.
He’s also the kind of guy that doesn’t hesitate to take a call from work—even if it’s his day off.
“I’ve got the best job around,” Gouge says, “and I don’t take it for granted.”
Gouge is a property maintenance foreman at TVA’s Bull Run Fossil Plant in Clinton, Tenn. He and his two-man crew are responsible for keeping the 750-acre site in a safe and attractive condition.
“We do whatever needs to be done,” says Gouge. “We mow. We bush hog. We spray for weeds. We remove fallen trees. We pick up trash. Bull Run is like home to us, and we treat it that way. It’s a matter of pride.”
For Gouge, it’s also part of being a good neighbor. “The people who live next door to the plant count on us to keep it clean and looking good,” he explains. “Bull Run is right on Melton Hill Lake, too, so we have to be very careful to do the right thing for the environment. That’s a top priority for us in managing the property.”
Gouge and his crew also maintain all the equipment they use—from the tractors and bush hogs to the mowers and weed eaters.
“We do everything in house, even the welding,” Gouge says. “We want our equipment to last, and that means taking proper care of it. It’s one of the ways we help TVA keep costs down.”
Taking care of tools, operating heavy equipment, the value of hard work—those were all things Gouge learned from his dad.
“I grew up on a farm in Roane County,” Gouge says. “We had all kinds of animals—the usual horses, cows and goats, but also exotics. We had camels, ostriches, emus, llamas, alpacas, monkeys, macaws – I can’t remember them all. It was a hobby for Dad and a lot of work for me.”
The work ethic was instilled early, Gouge remembers: “I was bush hogging when I was seven years old. I had to get up and clean the barn and feed the animals before I caught the school bus in the morning. Dad wasn’t lazy, and he didn’t let me be lazy either.
“I did my share of complaining at the time. But now I’m glad I grew up the way I did. I learned the skills that got me the job I have now. I learned about responsibility. And I learned to appreciate things.”
There was a larger lesson, too. “My dad taught to be a good person—to try to be someone somebody can look up to. I’d like to think I’m making progress, but I guess that’s something I’ll need to work on for the rest of my life.”
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