Jesse Langston graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1985, with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Langston came to OSU with a scholarship intended for minorities in the engineering field. In the 1980s, it was difficult for minority students to get into the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math industry. This scholarship program recruited and retained Oklahoma talent in minority groups to become successful in their future engineering careers.
Immediately after graduation, Langston entered the workforce with an eager mind to gain hands-on experience in the industry. His first job was with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, starting as a distribution engineer in Enid, Okla. In 1991, he was promoted to work in Oklahoma City, Okla. as a regional engineer working in power plants, transmission lines and across the company, working on various engineering problems.
Three years later, Langston was promoted into marketing, becoming responsible to forecast how much energy consumption there was for companies to determine what resources were needed. With good work, he was promoted into a new position as the manager of resource planning. In that role, he determined the number of power plants and which types were needed to meet electrical demand. This helped develop portfolio needs for customers.
“One of the things that supported my success was that I worked in a multitude of positions and carried the knowledge throughout OG&E,” Langston said. “I understood how the work was applied and liked the change and growth that came along with each of my positions.”
In 2002, Langston became the strategic manager of corporate planning for OG&E. For three years, he oversaw and developed the long term plans for the company. In 2005, he was nominated to become the director of commercial operations. Shortly after, he was promoted to vice president of commercial operations, working in this position for five years until 2011.
From 2011 to 2015, before he retired, Langston served OG&E as the vice president of retail energy; overseeing all marketing and sales, customer service and business development for the company. Everything that made contact with customers, from billing credit to actual delivery of sales, Langston oversaw.
Langston worked with OG&E for 31 years, holding a diverse amount of positions within the company. For students that have similar goals as his, he encourages them to volunteer and obtain real-world experience.
“Be willing to take the ‘grunt jobs’,” Langston said. “If you can do a good job doing the small things, then you will have the opportunity to excel at doing the large ones.”
“The most important thing is that the work you do is more important than the title you have. The work becomes the labor of love and you are not obsessed with a title. Being good at doing what you love is more desirable than the title associated with it.”
Today, Langston serves as a member on the diversity board for OSU and works to support and continue to attract more minorities into the engineering field. The diversity board is a way for him to give back to OSU students and to help others who have come behind him with similar backgrounds.
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