There’s institutional memory and then there’s big time institutional memory. When Ed Allred retired recently after 39 years working for the Town of Lovell, he took a wealth of knowledge with him.
Luckily, he’s just a phone call away.
Lovell clerk/treasurer Valerie Beal, herself a 15-year veteran of the town office, said Allred has been the steady, constant presence at town hall over the years, the guy with historical knowledge during changes in administration or personnel.
“He knows how things have been done, and how they needed to be done,” she said. “His memory is amazing. He’s been a great colleague. He was always really good to have there to make sure we were on track.
“He was a sounding board for different questions that might come up, to make sure we’re doing things the way we’re supposed to. He knows how to research state statutes. He also is amazing with maps and mapping, knowing the things that transpired through the years including additions and what the addresses are.
“For years he held onto his water and sewer certification, and he’s been such a benefit here, having that firsthand knowledge while working with the crew.”
Ed Allred wasn’t always that knowledgeable about the town of Lovell. He had to learn it. The son of Arlene and the late Garth Allred, he grew up on the family homestead four or five miles southwest of town on the west end of Lane 13, a half mile west of the golf course.
He graduated from Lovell High School in 1970 and worked a lot of jobs over the years including road construction, sugar factory campaigns, Georgia Pacific and the SaveWay convenience store (now Good2Go). His first official job, he said, was working for Goulding “Goldy” Johnson at the Husky station in town.
Allred married Carrol Mayes in January of 1978, and that summer he worked for the Mayes Brothers body shop, but while working campaign at the sugar factory the following winter, a friend who worked out at the Town of Lovell water plant, Mike Rossiter, told him “one of the old guys” at the plant, Beanie Hansen, was going to retire. He put in an application at town hall and requested the water plant job.
Town Manager Bob Snedeker interviewed Allred on March 30, 1979, and told him to report to work on Monday. When Allred arrived Monday, Snedeker wasn’t there, having resigned. Bob Brandt was hired a few weeks later as town manager.
When Allred started work for the town, the water plant job wasn’t quite open yet, so he worked on the sanitation crew, riding the garbage truck with Butch Fink and Russell Wainscott. When Hansen retired in September, Allred went to work at the water plant with Rossiter and Dennis Carriker.
The trio worked two alternating shifts per day from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., but quitting time depended on how long it took to fill the town’s two water tanks each evening, the water tower behind the LDS Church gym and the 300,000-gallon tank atop the Shoshone Avenue hill.
The water plant crew took water samples and ran tests, working out of a lab at the old brick water plant next to the highway west of town, also adjusting the water treatment chemicals as necessary. They also back-flushed the sand filters several times a week and monitored the intakes and the three settling ponds near the Shoshone River.
When Rossiter quit to work for NL Baroid, Doug Savage Jr. worked at the water plant, then Rod Allred. Both are still part of the town crew.
The new water plant – now the community center – was constructed in 1981 and started operating in 1982. When Carriker quit, Allred became the water superintendent. Ed and cousin Rod Allred ran the plant until October of 1991, when the Shoshone Municipal Pipeline came on line.
Allred had earlier applied for the manager’s job and then the chief operator’s job with the Shoshone Municipal Pipeline. He didn’t get either, and when the pipeline management offered him an operator’s job, he turned them down. Earlier that same year, Phyllis Hill announced that she was retiring as town treasurer, and Allred spoke to new mayor Bruce Morrison about a job at town hall after the pipeline jobs didn’t come to fruition. He started at town hall July 1, 1991, and went back and forth between town hall and the water plant until it closed in the fall.
Allred worked side by side with new treasurer Marilyn Croy and was named assistant treasurer. Valerie Beal replaced Croy in 2003, Allred said.
In the office
Allred started working fulltime at town hall in October of 1991 and quickly took to the more public position.
“I’ve enjoyed the work,” he said. “There’s a lot of sameness, I guess, and a routine: getting out the water bills and the accounts payable. Yet, there’s always something a little different, too, and it’s always been interesting. Working with Val has always been good. Valerie and I work well together. I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated her.”
Asked about his great knowledge of the town, Allred noted that he knew very little about the town of Lovell until he started working for the town, having grown up on the farm. He said he has benefitted from a few talents that have served him well.
“I have a good memory for numbers and addresses, which has developed through the years,” he said. He also has a way of remaining calm under pressure, such as when a customer comes in to complain.
“Sometimes my personality hasn’t been an asset,” he noted. “I do not like confrontation, so I’ve always been a pushover when people want to take extra time to pay a bill, which is not popular with the treasurer. I also have a weird sense of humor. But we have had a good camaraderie over the years. It’s been really good.”
Another skill Allred developed was that of a videographer. He started videoing meetings in 2004 for TCT, then was asked to video ballgames, concerts, meetings and events as an employee of TCT. When TCT stopped the program, Allred continued recording programs for the schools on a volunteer basis.
After living on Fifth Street for 25 years, Ed and Carrol Allred bought a house on Lane 13 in early 2003. Carrol died in 2012, and Allred married her cousin, Geraldine Mayes Hendershot, in 2013. Geraldine is retiring from the school, too, but they’ll stay in Lovell, Ed said.
For her part, Beal said she already misses her colleague of more than 15 years.
“He’s an all-around great guy,” she said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with him. There’s a very calming demeanor about him. There are times when the first person (encountered) in the office gets the wrath, and his people skills are tremendous.”
Thankfully, Beal said, Allred has “made himself available to us in case we have questions about things he’s taken care of for years.”
Years of service and knowledge will be hard to replace. Asked to compile a list of town officials he has worked with in 39 years, Allred listed 25: mayors Pres Workman, Herman Fink, John Nickle, Bruce Morrison, Ray Sonners, Kim Jameson, Glen Olsen, Bruce Morrison again and Angel Montanez; town managers Bob Snedeker, Bob Brandt, Bob Richardson, Bill Space and Don Richards, town manager/administrator Todd Wacaser; town administrators Doug Russell, Scott Campbell, Bart Grant and Jed Nebel; treasurers Delsa Rounds, Phyllis Hill, Marilyn Croy and Valerie Beal; and clerks Don Negro and Valerie Beal, who serves as clerk/treasure.
And throughout all the years there has been Ed Allr,ed, the constant presence at town hall. That kind of institutional memory will indeed be hard to replace.
By David Peck