While that musical icon certainly had an impact on youngsters in Traverse City that year, 1956 also marked when Michigan Consolidated Gas Co., now DTE Energy, converted a number of small towns from liquefied petroleum gas to natural gas.
Traverse City, Ludington and Cadillac all became part of the MichCon family, which has grown to approximately 320 employees and more than 330 retirees who work and live in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
One of those retirees is John Bristol, who remembers like it was yesterday when Traverse City first became a part of the MichCon natural gas system.
"I think we had around 1,000 customers back when I first started and I can't believe the expansion that's taken place beyond Traverse City into the surrounding areas," Bristol said. "We had a motto that the customer comes first and whatever time of the night, we would go out and take care of their concern."
That customer service philosophy continues today for the nearly 30,000 DTE customers in Grand Traverse County, and the 1.2 million customers throughout Michigan.
Today, DTE Energy prides itself on its community involvement and support, which emphasizes DTE Energy's strong commitment to education and the environment:
The DTE Energy Foundation Cherry Royale Parade will headline the annual National Cherry Festival for the 15th consecutive year. With nearly 150 entries, the parade is one of the Midwest's largest and a great event for the community. An estimated 70,000 to 80,000 spectators are expected to attend the parade.
Now adorned with a banner stating, "Proudly serving the Traverse City community for 60 years," the Foundation's float theme, "Committing our Energy to Traverse City," returns for a second year reflecting DTE's dedication to making the Traverse City region a great place to live, work and play.
DTE Energy employees are known for their volunteerism and support for organizations that make a positive difference in a community's quality of life. Every year, employees dedicate thousands of hours to make a difference. In 2015, they participated in more than 100 volunteer events.
DTE Energy and the DTE Energy Foundation also invest in summer programs and high school partnerships that connect youth to skilled trade careers. These initiatives will be integrated into a broader development and mentorship program that connects students to specific training, apprenticeships and employment opportunities.
"It's been a great partnership with the city and its residents since 1956 and we're looking forward to the next 60 years," said Barbara Rykwalder, DTE Energy's regional manager in Traverse City. "DTE Energy has a rich history in the communities we serve and it's been a privilege to serve them."
About DTE Energy
DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy/.
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SOURCE DTE Energy