Sparks sometimes fly when St. Marys native Bill Caskey is around; while he is known to have a great personality, it's more likely something he's working on in his career as an electrician and supervisor.
Caskey now resides in sunny Long Beach, Calif., but has many relatives living in St. Marys and the surrounding area. The son of John "Hunce" and Sally Caskey of St. Marys, he has seven brothers and sisters: John, Mark, Steve, Scott, Joe, Lynn and Suzi. The St. Marys Area High School and Williamsport Area Community College graduate said his father was an important influence on him growing up and still is today.
"My dad influenced me to become an electrician because it was, and is, the only thing I've ever known him to be afraid of," Caskey said. "He also mentored me with my work ethic that has opened doors for me and kept me working my whole life."
Caskey, an electrician by trade, supervises about 25 tradesmen. He said his career path and his geographic location may have been different under other circumstances.
"I got out of college, went back to St. Marys to get a job in one of the carbon factories, and worked at Speer for less then a year when the big layoffs of the early 80s happened," Caskey said. "After being laid off for a long time, I had a chance to move to Long Beach, Calif., with some friends who needed a ride (I had the van)."
Caskey was in Long Beach for only three days before landing a job with a local general contractor.
"I had never heard of this before because being from St. Marys, I thought everyone knew how to do plumbing, framing, roofing and so on," Caskey said.
Caskey worked for the contractor for about four years and then had the opportunity to get into the area electrical union - IBEW Local 11 - and did a five-year apprenticeship. He has worked for M.B. Herzog Electric, an electrical contractor, for the past 25 years.
"I currently manage M.B. Herzog's industrial division, which covers high voltage, pole work, electrical work of all kinds, fiber optic systems, security and data," Caskey said. "For me, it has been an ongoing, ever-expanding horizon that keeps me looking forward and is rewarding to know that I help keep families going in these tough times."
Caskey has received a number of awards and has been recognized over the years for leadership, job challenges, creative solutions to project problems, and most recently an Industry Safety award, which he said is of particular significance to him.
"That means a lot to me because of where the construction industry was when I started [in terms of safety] and what I've been involved with today," Caskey said.
Known as someone who enjoys taking lots of pictures, especially of people and nature, Caskey said he also has another fun pastime with connections to his rural roots.
"I grew up in St. Marys going on Jeep rides and off-roading, which has led me to what I do for fun now-- off-road races in races like the Baja 1,000 and the Mint 400," Caskey said. "My wife Miriam and I also go for Jeep rides in the desert just to get away from the city.
"Our team has done charity runs for some of the orphanages in Baja."
Caskey said he and his wife try to return to the St. Marys area at least once a year to visit his immediate and extended family.