When Rose M. Volpe started working for the power company, times were a little different. DTE was still known as Detroit Edison, the world was only starting to heal from WWII and wages were $23 per week.  

“I started working on Dec. 10, 1945,” Volpe said. “I felt like the luckiest person in the world. Anybody who got a job for Detroit Edison was lucky at that time and I felt that way until the day I left.”  

Volpe stayed with the company until her retirement 43 years later in 1988, spending much of her time breaking new ground for women.  

“I was one of the first female supervisors in the Macomb division,” she said. “None of us women ever believed we could even think about that. When they told me what they were considering, I almost fainted. I thought to myself ‘oh my God, where am I?’”  

But making history was nothing new for Volpe. Before coming to DTE, she was a riveter for Briggs Manufacturing Company, building B-29 bombers for the war effort. Volpe worked on bomb bay doors, working with frozen rivets and inspecting the doors to make sure they would function when the time came.  

She lost her job when the war ended and Volpe found her way to our company. There, she was happy to find a culture of caring that lasted throughout her decades with us.  

“There were real nice people that worked there,” she said. “They were always concerned about you. If you got into trouble they were right there to help. It was a nice company and it still is a nice company.”  

That culture carried over outside the business, too. In her years at Detroit Edison, Volpe dedicated her time to a retirement home, volunteered to run a church fundraiser and pitched in at the Mount Clemens Symphony Organization.  

“The company sponsored me to work with a Girl Scout troop to help out at a retirement home,” she said. “So once a month, I got to provide entertainment for senior citizens while working.” 

The company also worked with Volpe in her role at the Mount Clemens Business Association to bring the community’s concerns about Detroit Edison to the office so they could be resolved.  

Volpe even used her business savvy after her retirement to continue to help her community, leveraging her skills to help meet fundraising goals for numerous organizations over the years.  

“I spent 20 years at my church doing a fundraiser that supports the archdiocese,” she said. “Each one has a quota. The priest asked if I thought I could do it and they ended up keeping me on it for 20 years because the priest said I was the first one who ever met the quota.” 

Volpe still lives in Michigan and takes pride in having dedicated her time to serving with energy, being sure to bring one valuable piece of advice to the forefront every day.    

“My father told me I should do an honest day’s labor for an honest day’s wage,” Volpe said. “So I was a perfectionist. I worked hard at everything I did.”