ON THE GRID: Jamie Haxmeier (left) will take over as the new superintendent of Bellevue Municipal Utilities on January 2, 2019. Bob Ploessl (right) is retiring after 35 years.

Bellevue Municipal Utilities Superintendent Bob Ploessl is getting one of the best Christmas gifts he could imagine this holiday – the gift of retirement.

The 1976 graduate of Marquette High School started working for Bellevue Utilities as a power plant operator back on June 10, 1983.

He will retire on Dec. 31, 2018.

“When I first started we were still manned 24 hours a day, seven days per week,” recalled Ploessl. “While we were purchasing power from Interstate Light and Power, the plant still served as a 24-hour dispatch center for the Bellevue fire and ambulance departments. Someone was here all the time to take calls and keep things going. That was before the E911 emergency system was put in place.”

Ploessl, who grew up in La Motte and attended grade school at Holy Rosary school, transferred to Marquette Catholic when the La Motte school closed nearly 50 years ago. After graduation, he worked at a sawmill in Princeton, Iowa before returning to Bellevue.

After the power plant stopped serving as a dispatch center, Ploessl helped to re-configure and automate the system, so it didn’t have to be manned 24 hours per day. He then went on to be certified as a lineman, a role he served in until becoming the official Utilities Superintendent in 2003.  He succeeded Ray Beschen in the position.

Over the past three and a half decades, Ploessl has seen many changes and overseen many large projects. Among them were running fiber optic lines to every home in Bellevue, building two new wells, installing the 6th Street substation, acquiring two new generators for the power plant, replacing the old street lamps with new LED lights and installing radio-read electric and water meters across town.

“It used to take two or three guys about four days to read meters at all the homes and businesses in town,” said Ploessl. “Now it doesn’t take long at all.”

Ploessl said there are things he will miss about the job, and things he won’t miss.

“It’s been a pretty fulfilling career,” he said. “The City of Bellevue is a great place to work. I’ve also enjoyed working with the Ulilities Board.”

Ploessel’s will be replaced by Jamie Haxmeier of Bellevue, who takes the reigns of Bellevue Municipal Utilities on Jan. 2, 2019.

Haxmeier, who graduated from Marquette Catholic High School in 2003, went on to earn his degree as an Industrial Electrician from North Iowa Community College in Calmar in 2005.

He started working for BMU in 2006.

“Jamie's strong work ethic and self motivation makes him a true asset to the Bellevue community,” said Ploessl. “It’s time for the next generation to take over.”