Patapsco alum recognized for decades of keeping the lights on
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 13:07

Former Berkshire resident (far left) Lawrence “Larry” Barto received the Georgia Power Engineering Association’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony on Dec. 8.

Electrical engineer Barto honored in Georgia

by Nicole Rodman

    Former Berkshire resident Lawrence “Larry” Barto knew that he wanted to be an electrical engineer from a very young age.
    Beginning his study of the career in high school, he went on to attend Georgia Institute of Technology before going on to work for Georgia Power.
    Now, after 31 years, Barto has been recognized  for his hard work, receiving the Georgia Power Engineering Association (GPEA) 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award.
    A 1976 graduate of Patapsco High School, Barto became interested in electricity early on.
    A bright, eager student, he spent his last two years of high school dividing his time between classes at Patapsco and electrical engineering courses at Essex Community College. 
    Given the chance to transfer his credits from Essex Community College to the well-established electical engineering program at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, he jumped at the chance, moving to Georgia in the fall of 1976.
    According to his mother, Elaine Barto, who still lives in the Berkshire neighborhood where she raised her son, Barto worked tirelessly throughout his time in college - balancing school, internships and work.
    Majoring in electrical engineering, Barto divided his time between semesters spent studying at his school in Georgia and those spent at home, working as an intern for Baltimore Gas & Electric.
    Graduating from college in December of 1980, Barto almost immediately went to work for Georgia Power, which services all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties.
    Though he has worked in many departments throughout Georgia Power during his three decade career, his most notable duties were as project manager for Georgia Power’s Olympic Games Command Center during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.   
    As a July 25, 1996 Eagle article pointed out at the time,
    “The center is responsible for making sure that everything from vending machines to stadium lights is operating properly.”
    For his efforts, Barto was previously awarded an Outstanding Working Group Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1999, as well as the GPEA’s Outstanding Service Award in 1992.
    Currently, Barto manages a team responsible for designing and applying revenue metering systems for residential and commercial locations across Georgia.
    With decades of dedicated service under his belt, Barto was recognized for his work with the GPEA 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award on Dec. 8.
    According to his mother, though the winner of the GPEA’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award is generally kept secret until announced at a ceremony in December, Barto had to be told in advance so that he could travel home from a business trip in Arizona.
    As she noted, he was completely surprised and delighted to learn that he had been selected to receive the honor.
    While Barto himself may have been surprised by the award, his mother was not.
    Noting her son’s habit of perfect attendance and honor roll grades throughout his education, she noted, “He always knew [that he wanted to be an electrical engineer]. He had priorities. Nothing ever stood in his way.”