April 2018 Back Page – Tribute to Loyd Hodson
Less than two years after AVEC energized its first three communities, the board of directors conducted a nationwide search to find the right leader to guide the fledgling utility in its mission to bring electricity to Alaska’s small, rural communities. The board selected Loyd Hodson—the right person at the right time. Born in Wichita, Kansas, Loyd joined the Marine Corps shortly after graduating from high school. While in the Marine Corps Reserve, he earned a degree in electrical engineering from Kansas State University. Loyd served during the Korean War and attended the U.S. Army Signal Corps Officers School, gaining expertise in electronics and acoustical devices.
Loyd worked for the Bendix Corporation and later transferred to the Martin Company—now Lockheed Martin—as a design engineer and manager on the Titan Missile Project. He drove up the Alcan Highway in 1960—with his wife and two young children—to join RCA as a project engineer for the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at Clear Air Force Base, Alaska. In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis and at the height of the Cold War with Russia, he was site manager—and later general manager—of operations and maintenance.
Loyd became general manager of AVEC when the young co-op was foundering on the brink of bankruptcy. It is a testament to his intestinal fortitude that he took on the monumental task and, almost single-handedly, turned the good ship AVEC around. There were many more pitfalls along the way, including staying afloat during the oil embargo, enduring the nation’s greatest period of double-digit inflation and surviving myriad well-meaning federal agencies with no understanding of the challenges of rural Alaska.
Loyd loved the people of rural Alaska and worked tirelessly for many years to help bring them electricity. He was an advocate of the Power Cost Equalization program and was the driving force behind the establishment of it and its predecessors. Working with other electric utilities, he helped establish a commercial insurance program for nonprofit utilities. He worked with the REA to establish a loan program for the electric cooperatives in Alaska and a mutual fund program for employees of electric companies.
Loyd retired from AVEC in January 1992 and remained actively engaged on electric utility matters until his passing. He leaves behind his wife, Loretta; his children, Ilona Farr, Robert Hodson, Lenna (Bob) Carson, Lora (Eric) Reinbold and Lisa (Jim) Gentemann; 17 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Rest in peace, Loyd. Your AVEC family grieves your passing and we are forever grateful for your leadership.
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