DTE Energy was home to a Raymond Dennis Kelly for 103 continuous years, and if you combined the four men’s careers, it totaled 161 years of service. Four generations of this family brought an unparalleled amount of dedication, energy and innovation to the company, which lives on through our employees.
“The Kelly’s of Connors” earned initial recognition for their annual (and infamous) St. Patrick’s Day celebrations held at Conner’s Creek where coworkers would play friendly tricks on one another, including ornamenting tool cribs with curtains, shamrock plants, Irish themed decorations – all with an orange color scheme (a true-green Irishman is supposed to “see red when he sees orange”).
Raymond Kelly (Senior) was known as quite the storyteller and served as the ringleader for these shenanigans until he celebrated his final St. Patrick’s Day in March 1955 before retiring after 43 years of service.
Although Raymond Kelly (Senior) retired, he left behind his son and grandson who were already working at the company, and eventually his great grandson who continued the family legacy at DTE. The first three generations spent most of their careers at Conner’s Creek, which has since been retired and now the site will be part of a new 5,000 employee auto manufacturing plant
Raymond Kelly III left Conner’s Creek in 1960 for Fermi I then Monroe Power Plant in 1969. He also earned an Alex Dow award, DTE’s most prestigious honor, in 1983 for his work on Monroe Power Plant’s coal blending system, where he was celebrated for managing the required transition during the blending process. He retired from DTE in 1993.
The latest Raymond Kelly IV worked at DTE for 36 years and expanded the family footprint from Conner’s Creek to our Belle River, Monroe and Trenton Power Plants and also worked at Greenwood and Fermi II. During his career, he served as plant director and then shifted to the HR team for nearly 10 years as director of corporate safety and technical training. He too earned an Alex Dow award for his innovative maintenance work on bottom ash systems at the Monroe Power Plant in 1992. The final Kelly retired in 2014.
While the St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans may have ended with the original Kelly, their track record of success and consistent pursuit of innovation lives on through the foundation their family helped build at DTE.
Editor’s note: Since retirement, Ray started a consulting business and primarily works at the national level (across the US) doing workforce development in the utility industry. His hobbies include watching his grandkids’ sporting events, woodworking in his shop, golf and bowling.