Commentary and conversations about life in Richmond, Indiana

Community Life

Randy Baker of RP&L on the past, present and future of local electricity

Randy Baker is retiring soon as the General Manager of Richmond Power & Light. In this podcast episode, he reflects on his time there as we speak about how power generation and distribution has happened in our community over the years, the politics of electricity rate changes, and what might be ahead for our municipal utility that was built in 1954 and meant to last fifty years.

As he’s also an accomplished musician the music at the beginning and end of this episode is played by Randy, a rendition of Doyle Dykes` Jazz in the Box.

I hope you enjoy the conversation. If you find it interesting or useful, please share!


The below transcript was generated with the use of automation and may contain errors or omissions.

Chris Hardie: The word is you’re going to be retiring soon. How long have you been at Richmond Power and Light in your time there?

Randy Baker: I actually started in 1999 as a consultant, as an IT consultant during a time when the state, as well as other states were thinking about going to deregulation in the electric business. Then I came onboard as an employee in 2000.

Chris: Wow. You’ve been there through a lot of change. You grew up in Richmond originally, is that right?

Randy: Yes. I grew up partly in Cincinnati, Ohio, but I was born here in Richmond. I did graduate from high school here. Then, pretty much except for sometimes I was on the road, pretty much lived here the rest of my life.

Chris: You mentioned starting out in kind of a technical role. I think I first encountered you as someone who was working more on the technical and operations side of things. I know our paths had crossed in various local tech and software circles. You’ve done a lot since then. How did you end up starting in that role and then working your way through the role of general manager? What did that path look like?

Randy: The joke is that I tell people that I just hung around here long enough till they finally gave me the keys. I did start in that technical role as a consultant and then took over the IT department. I’d been doing consulting for quite a while, did a lot for the government, but some private companies too, like Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble and things like that. It’s funny now. My goal in the beginning was, “Hey, this could be another great vertical for me to consult in. I’ll stick around here and learn the business really well.” Something happened along the way.


Chris: You learned it really well.

Randy: Yes. My original contract was for one year. It’s probably been the longest year in my life.

Chris: Wow. How did you know that it was time to retire?

Randy: I’d been thinking about it. I never dreamed I’d be here this long to begin with because I would just get– One of the reasons I was a consultant is because you could do something and then before it got dull, you could move to something else. Things like that. In terms of time itself, I’m just to a point where I think it’s time to pass it along and get some younger folks in there probably, and honestly, do some other things in my life.

Chris: We can talk a bit more about your future plans and all of your different interests, but I want to just orient ourselves to what Richmond Power and Light has been and is now in the community.

I should probably apologize because I want to ask you a bunch of really basic questions about electricity and how RP&L works. My understanding of how the power plant works before and just the science of it, we had coal coming in by truck or maybe rail. We burned it to make steam. The steam rotated the turbine. The turbine created AC current and that got sent out to our homes via wire to provide what we know as electricity.

Is that a fair description of what RP&L was doing for a long time?

Randy: That’s a pretty complicated process you put in a very short time frame. Yes. The steam, you generate the steam, whether it’s by coal or it’s by natural gas or whatever it is. Yes, that turns the turbines.

Chris: For listeners outside Richmond, obviously, that’s power in town. How far outside of Richmond did that transmission go and where did it start to be taken over by other agencies?

Randy: It was always kind of a local thing here. Now, since the grid came about all those decades ago, because there was a time when Richmond just kind of sat out here on its own, and all the towns did, so if your power plant went down, your town went down. Even when we were generating, we sold that on the grid. We’ve been in a contract with the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, IMPA, since 1982. We buy 100% of our power. There’s some advantages to doing that. Any of these questions you ask, you are going to have to keep me on track because it is its own conversation within itself almost.

Chris: Right, right. Yes. We’ll come back around to IMPA. The version of electricity generation that you mentioned where we were kind of on our own before maybe the grid was developing. I mean, that version of electricity had lots of implications right? You had transporting coal. I think I read something like 150,000 tons of coal per year at one point that RP&L was burning, so it’s getting it here. You’re managing a stockpile of surplus in case the incoming load doesn’t make it on time or something like that. You have air pollution–

Randy: It’s always been kind of the opposite. We kind of generated here and then for what we couldn’t generate– We, for decades, have not been able to generate as much as the town needed so then we bought from the outside.

Chris: Okay, got it.

Randy: That’s all changed now, but that’s the background.

Chris: Then you had to think about air pollution and the rules sort of evolving over the years around that. That decision about when burning coal on any given day or week might be more profitable than buying it from the grid. It seems like there was a time when that was a kind of a regular decision being made. It seems like a really complicated and strange endeavor and it’s all happening at this place out of the town. It all sounds kind of scary, I guess, or it sounds really complicated. Is that how you experienced it when you first arrived there?

Randy: You’re talking about the wholesale market when you’re selling on that. Yes, that has changed a lot. That started changing after deregulation. The best analogy I can make is it’s kind of like the stock market. Generators bid into the market at a price, an amount of electricity that they can produce at what price, and people buy it, and so dispatchers do that and call for that. Where we see a stable price or sell at a stable price here in town, in that wholesale market, that price can vary. It can go from anywhere- and if I get into too many acronyms here, you tell me.

Chris: Sure, yes.

Randy: We measure power on the wholesale market by the megawatt. That megawatt, I’ve seen it go from almost zero and sometimes negative, where there’ll be so much power out there that you’re selling at a loss. It can average around $60, $70, $75 a meg. I’ve seen that market go to $900 before and then it’ll go back down.

Chris: What are the things that drive that, because in my mind it might be the price of coal or the kind of source material that someone paid when they bought it. Does it get into global events? Does it get into the payroll cost of the person who’s on duty on a given day? What are the factors that figure in to that?

Randy: The price of coal and things like that factor in some, and it’s the same in the gas market. Really what drives that market is who is online and who is generating and what is the load out there. If you have a huge generator– Richmond was always pretty small, so we didn’t have enough power in that market to move the needle too much, but you get a big one that all of a sudden goes offline during a time when usage is really high, in a super-hot day or a super-cold day as well. That’s what drives the price up.

Chris: I think what I heard you say then is that all of the electricity we use now is coming from outside the community. None of it’s being generated locally. Is that correct?

Randy: Yes, and every answer I gave you is simplified so keep that in mind, because we’ve got what? Coming this spring, we’ve got almost 36 megawatt of solar on our distribution system here. We buy directly from IMPA. IMPA’s portfolio, and they have 61 cities in their group. They buy, market, and build, like they’re building the solar here in town. They still got a couple of coal plants that are due to be retired at some point in the future.

We’re also entering into that deal with them. Their portfolio is– When I started, it was more or less 100% coal. At this point, it’s about 65%, 68% coal and the rest is either gas, nuclear, wind, solar, a little bit of bio in there, I think, everything except for hydro, I think. We’ve really been able to diversify our power supply as we’re moving away from the coal here by being in that group. That’s the advantage.

Chris: Is that group constrained to generators in the state of Indiana as the name might imply, or is what you’re saying is we’re getting power from all over the place?

Randy: We’re getting power from all over the place. I can’t remember where everything is at to tell you the truth. There’s even a little bit of nuclear in there. No, it’s not just in Indiana.

Chris: Then what happens at the Richmond Power and Light plant now that is a part of that process? What are some of the things that go on day to day there now? Just so people can imagine the contrast between the days of burning coal versus what’s happening today.

Randy: That coal plant is now what we call a peaker plant, so it is still operational, but it’s only run maybe 20 days a year. 20 to 30 days depending on the market. If the market is high enough for it and the load is needed out there, then they will generate. What they try to do now is just to hit the peaks in the market. We know kind of when the peaks are going to be and when the market’s going to be up, despite weather and all those things, and so it just generates at that point.

Chris: Is it worth it to have all that infrastructure in place for those 20 days a year, because I can imagine that sounds like a lot for only 20 days. That may be a naive question but I’m curious about that?

Randy: Back to my statement, every question you ask has tentacles on it. There is in the industry what’s called capacity market. Everybody that generates in the market pays into this capacity market. The purpose behind that capacity market is to have enough excess generation ready to go in case they need it. There have been years, I’m not sure where it’s at right now since IMPA is actually operating that, but there were years when we would get enough money paid to us from that capacity market to pay all the salaries back there. That is a market to bid into every three years. Generators come on and say, “We’re planning on generating this much, here’s how much we can put in that capacity market.”

Chris: Is some of it a backup option if what can be delivered by IMPA is reduced suddenly, somehow, we can then make up for some of that, or is that not how it works?

Randy: No, not exactly, if you talk about losing on there. The capacity market is for when you don’t have enough basically, not so much the other way, because the other way the prices just go down.

Chris: Then of course, there’s all the folks who, when there’s a problem with the power lines somewhere in the community or new lines need to be installed or new meters, there’s that operation. How many people in total does RP& L employ right now?

Randy: Well, when I started in 2000 we had 151 employees. Their peak of employment which was I think about a decade before that, so about 1990, was 161. Right now, we’re down to about 96. About 25 of those 151 from when I started were in the generating plant, so that other 25 or 30 is just been, over the years we’ve automated things.

Chris: RP&L received an award, I think I saw even in the Municipal Power News that hits our mailboxes, the American Public Power Associations’ certificate of excellence in reliability for 2019. It’s got to be a weird industry where when you get more efficient, when the infrastructure is more robust, then there’s less and less human intervention needed. Is that a general trend in power generation right now, is like working toward reliability and automation? Is it something you see a lot of?

Randy: Yes, technology is starting to be- I shouldn’t say starting. Technology is a big driver in our business now. A lot of things that we used to do by hand, even on the distribution system in terms of maintenance out there on the sub-station, there’s transformers, things like that, a lot of that has been automated. Yes. I don’t know if I answered your question.

Chris: Yes, that’s great. Even turning towards paperless billing and things like that, which I know you all launched recently a new version of changes the way that people interact with paying power bills and that kind of thing too. I want to ask you too about rate changes and how they work. I realize that’s a complicated topic. I know RP&L announced I think March of last year, that you were working on a rate increase. I think you had said for an article in the Palladium-Item that most of that was related to clean up efforts for the coal ash leftover from power generation by coal.

I think the number cited there was something anywhere between $18 million, $55 million to do that project, two to four years. Obviously, that’s something that a lot of communities across the country are facing and I expect it’s gotten more confusing in recent years with different shifts in policy at the federal level confusing things.

Randy: That’s been the tough part for us because the rules around that regulation, they keep changing so we’ve been kind of chasing that. That CCR rule was implemented late in 2015, like November or so. At that point, we wanted all this coal ash cleaned up. You’re right, it’s not only us, it’s Duke and everybody else too. I think, in fact we’re just talking about that today, they extended that out to 2028 right now to get that done. We’ve got like 400,000 tons of coal ash sitting out there behind the plant. It has to be remediated.

Chris: What does remediation look like in this case? Is it moving it or doing something else with it?

Randy: Well, there’s a number of things you can do depending on where you are at and what kind of money you have to spend and everything else. We work really closely with IDEM on the whole project. IDEM is the Indiana branch of the EPA. All our permits, everything we do for that, has to be approved by them. The two options we’re looking at right now and we’ll have a decision very soon from our board, one is cap in place which is basically– I should back up and say we haven’t put anything in an impoundment area since probably 1970, ’71.

The plant started in 1954. From that time till ’70, that’s where the coal ash was put, and everybody else did the same way too. That was stopped at that point, so it’s been sitting out there that long. In fact one of our big issues we had was trees started growing and things like that, so we had trees we had to cut down out there as much as three foot in diameter that had to be all taken down and things like that. Yes, we’ve got up to 2028 to finish that project.

One option is to cap it with a dirt cap. There’s a lot of things you have to do in terms of how the rainwater flows off there, and things like that. The other option is called clean close, where you actually remove it and put it in a lined landfill someplace. That’s the most expensive option. When I start talking about, well it was 18 at first now it’s $26 million to cap it and probably $50 million, $52 million to clean close. In the meantime we’ve put, I think we’re up to 14 wells around there that monitor anything that possibly could be coming out of that.

Chris: I assume the concern is basically groundwater contamination or general pollution at that point.

Randy: The idea of the dirt cap is to keep any groundwater from getting back down in there.

Chris: When you talk to someone in the community and they say, “Don’t raise my rates” or “How could you?” Is there like a 30-second pitch that you’ve refined of how to say like, “Hey. It’s actually worth it because—” or is it just such a complicated conversation?

Randy: I have no pitch, but even without all this. This is the most expensive project that I’ve seen since we’ve been there, but it has to be done. Most people in town think that we get tax money, but we do not. We exist solely on our rates. We run more like a business than a government institute. In fact, we pay back a PILOT payment, which is an acronym for payment in lieu of taxes. We pay that back to the city every year.

Chris: You’re not technically required or legally required to pay those taxes, but do so voluntarily.

Randy: Yes, that’s right. That goes right back in directly into our city budget.

Interviewee: You’ve probably studied the implications for an individual rate payer, residential rate payer, with this proposed rate increase. Do you have a sense of what it would mean on a typical power bill?

Randy: Yes, in fact, this is pretty timely on this call because we just got the okay from the IURC, which is the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission that regulates us, to go ahead with that rate increase. We’re not going to implement it until probably quarter two of this year.

It’ll be about 3% for a residential user. For some of the industries, it’ll be less than that the first year. The only ones higher than that I think are some of the real low projects we’ve got that don’t cost much like a dusk to dawn light. I think that’s going up 4.5% but that’s on an $8.58 charge.

Chris: It sounds like folks could feel good, in a sense, knowing that that increase is going to help resolve this issue, which if we don’t address, sounds like we go on in environmental implications for that.

Randy: You get people on each end of the spectrum, because you get people that are really green, want the environment at any cost taken care of. Then you get the other people that just care about saving a buck. We got an email the other day that said, “If the solar is not saving us any money, why are we doing it?” In my position, I have to answer all of those questions from each end of the spectrum.

Chris: Obviously there are people in the community where saving a buck can make a big difference in their day to day if they’re struggling in some form or on a budget, so I don’t want to downplay that, but to say that something like groundwater contamination. If that were to become a community-wide issue, obviously the cost for that could be much bigger both in terms of finances and personal health. I’m sure it’s hard in your position to help people zoom out to that big picture and to see all those different points of view, when from their perspective, it’s like this month, it’s a hardship or something like that.

Randy: I will say to the financial end of it, we are a nonprofit and we’re regulated by the state. They know everything. They’re right now regulating our charges and things like that. We’re a little different than a business, we don’t have shareholders and things like that, so whatever it costs us to get electricity to your home or business, that’s what we charge.

Chris: It’s not lining everyone’s pockets for a life of luxury because you figured out a business plan to bilk the residents of Richmond out of their money. [laughter]

Randy: No. If you look on the OUCC or the IURC site, Richmond in particular right now is the lowest cost in the state, even after a rate increase. These things move around because rates change all the time around the state with all the various cities and companies, but it looks like we’ll still be in the median on that.

Chris: Let’s talk about that. There used to be a lot of conversation about RP&L and the idea of having a municipally owned utility as being a really huge asset for the community when it comes to cost of living and economic development and other factors. Now that we have solar parks going up and were a part of IMPA, and there’s talk of- what would you say, more like federated grid approach, kind of like what IMPA is coordinating. Solar power’s getting cheaper and battery technology is coming along. The landscape is just changing so much.

Randy: It is. That’s true.

Chris: What does that mean for the future of any kind of power generation in Richmond? Will RP&L even exist as a traditional utility in a number of years or will it mostly be about local line maintenance and repair? Can you help us see the future a little bit?

Randy: Yes. Right now we’re just distribution only. What happens in the future is yet to be seen. There are several different scenarios out there. I guess in any of those scenarios, what I would like to see is a little more– I hope some of these technologies come down a little bit so users have a little more control over the power source and things like that. We’ll see. I’m hesitating because there are just a lot of things happening at the federal level right now that we don’t know how they’re going to affect us. We don’t how they’re going to affect cost.

Chris: I’ve heard there’s been some change at the federal level recently. [laughs] Do we even have the control, like if we set a goal? I don’t know if this would be a good goal, but if we set a goal and we wanted to say we want to be the lowest price point for industrial power in the region. Is that something we can even work toward or do, or is it just controlled by so many other factors that it’s not?

Randy: Well, you could make that goal. Here would be and is the issue with making a goal like that. We buy power directly from IMPA. We get one bill a month. It’s our job to distribute that cost evenly among the different rate classifications across the city. You get into a discussion on, “Hey, if we’re going to be the lowest industrial cost but we still have to pay this wholesale bill, should a little more of that weight towards that bill come from the residents?” Does that make sense?

Chris: Yes, sure.

Randy: From the commercial class that would aid the industries a little bit or the other way. Should you charge the industrial classes a little more and have less for the residentials?

Chris: I guess it speaks to, we’ve talked, even in this conversation, just as you mentioned the number of acronyms. Your work is overseen by a lot of different bodies, regulated by a lot of different bodies. In particular, you report to a body of elected officials, the Richmond Power and Light board, which is the same group of people who make up Richmond Common Council.

I know in that arrangement, you have to balance prudent decision making that serves the community, serves businesses, serves future generations, while also being mindful that any given issue, like a rate increase, for example, could make it into the local news or the public conversation, even be a matter of controversy. Knowing that you have that background in business and consulting, what’s it been like to do business that way? Reporting to that kind of entity and balancing all those considerations?

Randy: Well, even before I came to Richmond, I did a lot of IT work. As you know, people might not know, but a lot of programming, things like that, for the government. Somehow along the way, I’m not sure exactly how it went down, but I kind of became this, when I was doing work for the feds and the state over there in Indianapolis, at some level I became a little bit of a liaison between the IT folks and some of the elected officials. I didn’t realize that was going to be a lot more of that in the future. That’s how that happened.

Chris: Do you enjoy navigating the balance of management and the political bureaucratic side of things? Is there a part you prefer to stay away from or go toward?

Randy: Well, like any job, you have things you really like to do and things you would rather not do. It just depends too. I don’t have any problem getting along with the board or anything like that. I just kind of handle like that. I try to treat people how I like to be treated.

Chris: You mentioned already that people have misperceptions about RP&L, such as it’s taxpayer-funded. If you could tell people in the community one thing about how power generation or distribution in our community works that you think most people have a misunderstanding about, what would that be?

Randy: Most people do not understand that wholesale market, even at the level that we’ve just talked. That’s going to be news to some of your listeners and things like that. 

Chris: Does it feel important for people to be educated about that or does it mostly just come up around the occasional rate increase, things like that?

Randy: I think it’s important because– It’s probably more important now than it used to be, especially moving forward and you see all this technology coming on and the effect that’s going to have on the utility and the markets and everything else. I thought when I first started this job, 21 years ago now, I thought, “Well, this idea of a big central power plant someplace will fade as technology changes and it’ll be a lot more distributed energy.”

The guy that hired me, Dave Osbourne, who was the GM at the time, we’d have discussions about, well maybe someday Richmond Power and Light won’t be so much into generation as they are into selling and maintaining distributed energy products. Maybe that’ll be a bigger part of our business going forward.

Chris: What would be an example of a product like that?

Randy: A gas generator or even something solar in your house. At the time there were some experiments going on with some small scale natural gas generators that would even drive a small business and things like that. Now that solar has really started to come pretty strong now, solar and the wind. It’s a much bigger job to get to those technologies than I imagined when I first started.

I think as time goes on and no matter what you think about the environment and things like that, people just don’t want the coal anymore, so it’s going to go away, so I try not to get into those arguments. I think the education piece on it is more important than it’s ever been.

Chris: If someone were building a new home today and had the option to invest in a solar panel array on their roof maybe with a battery, is that still something to aim for when it comes to power generation at the hyper-local level, or is it better for us to be thinking about how can we support the construction of the solar parks like we’ve seen around town now, and have those be providing energy at some level for the community?

Randy: Well, some of that’s going to depend on your personal outlook on that. Right now we’ve got, I think, four solar customers residential and one commercial.

Chris: Four households in the city that have solar on the roof?

Randy: Right.

Chris: Not quite a trend.

Randy: [laughs] No. The reason for that, and we get lots of calls, and we do have one customer now that has bought some kind of, I’m not familiar with it, but it’s some kind of battery storage as well. You see a lot more of that out West where there’s a lot more sun, frankly. The barrier to entry on some of that home stuff, it’s just been the cost. The costs for the infrastructure itself. Even on the commercial level, industrial level where we’re at, the price to build a solar plant or a natural gas plant, or a coal plant are all the same. It cost about the same amount of money to build one of them.

The problem being with the wind and the solar is obviously the sun goes down at night. Some of the trends, if you want to call it a trend, or at least the idea conceptually has been to, if we can get enough solar during the day, enough of the wind at night where it works better there and some kind of storage coming on, that could be where we’re going in the future.

Chris: I assume with better battery technology, some of those concerns start to go away as well.

Randy: That could be a game-changer.

Chris: I think that the notion of cost, it probably starts to get into the political arena, but in terms of cost today versus cost to future generations versus costs to the environment and different kinds of factors go into that. I can see your point that it’s a matter of outlook at some level, but it’s interesting to grapple with that as a community.

Randy: It’s a matter of cost too. Think about it, if you’re building solar that costs the same as everything else, which is about $2 million a meg now. So our load in Richmond is between 155 and 160 meg at its peak, and you have to build out generation for your peak, to be able to handle that. At those kinds of prices, you’re talking about a $300 million investment to get 8,10 hours worth of sun. Then you have to turn around and get something for the other half of the day. I’m just not saying it’s wrong or right or anything else. I’m saying that is the scope of the problem.

Chris: Well, and it’s engagement with those facts that are so important in helping people understand why they pay what they do, or why a given manufacturer might choose to locate here or somewhere else, so it’s really good to be thinking about that. There’s one other weird bit of infrastructure history I want to ask you about. When I first visited the Richmond Power and Light offices, I was surprised to see a stage set with a full kitchen setup and cameras and the lighting to go with it. What was that all about?

Randy: That was started way back. Oh my gosh. It must’ve been in the ’70s, probably. Maybe even before that. Well, had to have been the ’70s because I don’t think that auditorium was built till sometime in the ’70s. The generation plant out there, by the way, was built in 1954. It was designed to be a 50-year plant.

Chris: Wow, here we are.

Randy: Yes, we hit that in 2004 because the maintenance that was put into it along the way, it still runs. At that period of time, Huffman was the general manager and his goal was to sell electricity and as much of it as we could. He started the program to facilitate and if you notice all the appliances are electric.

Chris: Funny how that works. [laughs]

Randy: That was the start of it. It was to encourage people to use more electricity and it was revived again. It kind of went away and was revived again in the 2000s period. What we did with it was make a touch point for the community. We would bring local chefs in to cook meals and things like that. The cable WCTV would come in and tape the broadcast and re-air it. One of our most popular places on the site back in that day was the recipe page. We got more visits on there then we did the other stuff. [laughs]

Chris: That’s amazing. All the recipes called for an oven self-clean after each cooking session.

Randy: Well, the purpose changed. We weren’t so much trying to sell electric as to be a good touchpoint in the community.

Chris: It was just so funny to walk into a utility building and see a stage look like something you’d see on any given home cooking channel. It was pretty cool.

Randy: For what it’s worth, we never knew of any other utility that ever did that.

Chris: Is that still there now or has it been dismantled?

Randy: The kitchen and everything is still there. Everything is still there.

Chris: We’ll look for that on the tour.

Randy: Due to budget and things like that, we finally closed and so many of our restaurants now. This was an interesting side note. All your chain restaurants, they would not let their chefs come in there.

Chris: Interesting.

Randy: We had to find all local people from local restaurants to do that show.

Chris: The chain restaurant recipes were super protected, or they just didn’t see the connection? 

Randy: Whatever it was, I’m not sure but we were never able to get any of those folks in there.

Chris: You’re also a musician, and I think any local live music aficionado has probably heard you play around town or maybe lately online. How did you get into that? What originally influenced your interest in music?

Randy: Well, even with my 21 years here, I’ve played music a lot longer than I’ve been in the electric business. I started playing at 13 and I started playing professionally at 15. Pretty much that’s what I did up until I was 30 or so. 32. I really didn’t even go back to college until I was in my 30s then.

Chris: Wow. Does that mean touring and bands and everything else you can imagine?

Randy: Yes, I had the– As the song goes, wore a younger man’s clothes. I had a contract at Nashville for songwriting and some different things back long ago and far away, in a galaxy far away from here. That is still a big part of my life and what I do.

Chris: Should we expect to see you on stage more or less often after you retire?

Randy: I don’t know if it’d be more or less often. Right before the pandemic hit, I did look at a job that was going to be a tour with a Western Swing group touring. Of course, that’s not a big genre so don’t think multimillion-dollar tour buses and things like that. I was just a sideman anyway, but it looked like fun. I was going to do it for a month. They had 15 gigs in 30 days. I was going to do that and then the pandemic hit. If the opportunity comes up, and it looks good again, going forward, yes, I’d do some more of that stuff.

Chris: I bet you’ve got a good following here in town that would love to follow your adventures in that realm too.

Randy: I’ve been fortunate enough to keep busy all these years and doing it, and playing with other people. I don’t book too much myself anymore, a little bit, not much. I like doing the sideman gig and things like that.

Chris: Do you have a favorite local venue to play?

Randy: Well, about the only one left around here to play a lot in terms of full bands is– besides The Legions and things like that is New Boswell. I play down there quite often with Sean Lamb and do some solo or duo gigs every once in a while. Got some feelers, whenever this stuff starts to go away.

Chris: Good. Well, Randy Baker, thanks so much for letting me ask you lots of questions about how all this works and what it means, and thanks for your service to the community in RP&L and otherwise.

Randy: No problem. When I took this gig it was like coming home a little bit because most of the work I did before that was out of here, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Dayton in the area, and then further out for some of the big corporations. I do have some roots here. When I do things it means something to me too.

Chris: Well, we wish you the best in your last bit of time in RP&L and, of course, the very best in your retirement. Good luck.

Randy: I appreciate that, Chris.

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