For 102 years, there has been a Filgo at DTE Energy. Rich Filgo says that his wife, Debra Filgo is the last of their name at the company. Debra retires in February, thus retiring the Filgo name at DTE.

Richard J. Filgo in an ice storm in Oxford, MI.

It all began with Rich’s grandfather, who traveled the country as a contractor. When his wife said she wanted him home more, he applied to Detroit Edison, became a lineman and the first Filgo began working at what is now DTE Energy. Rich’s grandfather worked at the company through the Great Depression, leaving him the only family member who still had a job in tough times. His job at Detroit Edison helped him provide for the rest of his family.

Rich’s grandfather had such a great experience at the company, that his son George (Rich’s father) and uncle came to the company next. Soon, Rich grew up and went into the armed forces, then worked for GM and the Detroit Police. After, Rich was looking for something new when his father suggested a familiar family name: DTE.

During his time at the company, Rich held various roles ranging from security to plant operator and eventually landed on lineman, where he remained for 30 years before becoming a supervisor. Rich has been retired for 12 years.

When asked what his favorite part about the company was, Rich said, “I really enjoyed the people. All of the different people. There is also a sense of satisfaction when we went out in a storm and restored power for customers.”

He joked that sometimes customers were so excited to have power restored, they said they would name their next child after him.

Debra on the other hand, did not know anyone at DTE when she began. She applied after seeing an ad in the newspaper. Although they didn’t meet at DTE, Debra married Rich, thus adding another Filgo to the DTE line.

Initially, Debra spent some of her time in safety then moved to the Howell Service center where she’s handled payroll and timekeeping for the linemen, including Rich’s stepson who still works at DTE.

Debra will be retiring in February, retiring the Filgo name at DTE. Her favorite part of working here? “The people. I know my husband said the same thing!” she laughed.