TECO manager retires


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Longtime Teco employee Doug Gibbs celebrates his retirement after 43 years. A party was held for him on Wednesday and Friday was his last day of work.

 

Following graduation with the Madera High School class of 1978 Doug Gibbs worked at a few minor jobs.


Then in October, he went to work at the Thompson and Gill Company, generally known as TECO.


Gibbs put in his last day as manager on Friday, a journey 43 years in the making.


“Carl Gill hired me,” Gibbs said. “I worked for him until his retirement.”


The Gill/Thompson family serves the community’s hardware and metal manufacturing needs, and has provided employment for many of its siblings and children.


Gibbs started out in the very active shipping department sending manufactured metal farm implements and parts all over the country and overseas. He also worked on the sales floor in the hardware store.


Throughout his career with the company, Gibbs worked with Carl Gill, Ken Gill, Cheryl Berry, Bob Howe and Stan Cadenassi.

Born in Long Beach in 1959, the Gibbs family moved to Madera in 1963. He attended classes at the old Webster School and then Eastin Arcola School from the third through eighth grades.


On the last day of 1989, he attended a friend’s New Year’s Eve party that forever changed his life.


At that party, he met his future wife Beth, who is from Tucson, Arizona. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Beth moved first to Blythe, California, and came to Fresno in 1980. The party hosts were mutual friends of Doug and Beth.


The couple was married in August of 1990.


Beth taught kindergarten for 20 years. Since her retirement after the 1994-95 school year, she has helped out as a bookkeeper at TECO.


Plans for retirement have Doug and Beth enjoying things they have been too busy to pursue. A trip to visit family in Palm Springs is slated to be the first stop on the journey of their new life.


Doug looks forward to scuba diving and fishing. Beth wants to spend her time crafting, baking, singing and playing the piano.

Camping with their 22-foot travel-trailer plays a large role in their near future.


“It has a king-sized bed, a full bath and kitchen and a pop-out slide,” said Beth.


This also accommodates a pair of recliners and their television set, she said. The wiring for satellite and Wi-Fi services is all connected. A 2015 half-ton, Chevy pickup is their preferred method of pulling their home away from home.


They ultimately intend to settle in Sierra Vista, a community in Southeast Arizona, about 20 miles from Tombstone.


“I’d like to study interior decorating,” said Beth.


Doug looks forward to finding out what he likes in retirement.


Together they enjoy bicycling, bowling and want to take up golf.


Should he get bored being retired Doug, will take a part-time job in a small hardware store, he said.


Retirement is something of a mixed blessing for Doug.


“I will miss the friendly people in this community,” he said.


Many of the friends he has made through the years came to a reception held on Wednesday at TECO.


A custom-made white congratulations banner hung on the outside wall of the store. Attendants were able to express their good wishes and sign their names on the banner.


Now with Doug’s retirement, Garry Fowler has been promoted to manager.


“We are going to miss Doug and Beth a lot,” said Fowler. “We hope they enjoy this new chapter in their life.”


Fowler has been with the company for three years. He and his wife Kim has three children ages 5, 3 and 1.


Presently TECO employs three salespersons and a mechanic. They will be hiring a new employee in the near future for the sales department, Fowler said.