After 35 years with DTE Energy, Debbie Galik packed up her things and stepped out of the downtown Detroit headquarters for the last time as a full-time employee. She was ready to make a change and begin a new chapter of life. Debbie and her husband, who also worked for the company, were also ready for yet another change, a move to Brownstown, Mich.
After buying a new home in a new community, she decided to spend the first year attending local functions and events to see where she could get involved and add value. She first joined the Brownstown Historical Society in an effort to engage, educate and preserve the history of the township for others. She is currently serving as the president of the society. She also serves as Chair of the township’s Historical/Beautification Commission.
This past year, she also chaired a committee of Township representatives to morph the township’s tree lighting event into the inaugural ‘Holiday Night in Brownstown,’ creating a hallmark event for the community and bringing in nearly 3,000 attendees.
“I so enjoyed working with the township to help bring this new event to our community,” said Galik. “I feel really good about making a difference in people’s lives, volunteering my time, and sharing the skills and knowledge I learned at DTE to make things better for people in my community.”
Galik spent the last several years of her career at DTE managing the company’s sponsorship portfolio and major events. She was passionate about her work in the communities and in 2011 she was honored with the Alex Dow award, the highest distinction at the company, for her work in the Traverse City region.
“You don’t retire from a lifetime career and just turn that passion off,” said Galik, who volunteers nearly 20 hours each week in different community-focused roles. “I learned at DTE how important it is to be part of the community and make it better for those who live and work there.”
The company noticed. In March, Galik was honored with the first Alumni Energy Impact Award, for the highest number of volunteer hours logged by a retiree, during a recognition ceremony with Mark Stiers, president and COO of DTE Gas, and Nancy Moody, vice president of Public Affairs.
In 2017, Debbie logged 509 volunteer hours into the company’s online volunteer portal, Care Force, which allows individuals to sign up for company-organized volunteer opportunities or log hours for individual passions and volunteer involvement.
“Deb has taken the skills she learned at the company and continues to use them to help her community grow and thrive,” said Moody during the recognition ceremony. “She is a great example of how we hope to engage all our retirees, and encourage them to become part of our Care Force.”
For Debbie, it’s also an opportunity to stay connected to the place that she spent her career at, and the people who made it all worthwhile. That’s why she’s so excited for the new Alumni Network that launched in November 2017.
“I’m still part of this company and always will be,” said Galik, who spends her time with family and doing community work. “It’s wonderful how the company is keeping the retirees connected now. It was the one thing I really missed.”