Danny Begley’s days often feature crashes, disputes and broken equipment.
Such is the life of OPPD’s claim representative, who travels around the utility’s service territory to determine liability.
Whenever OPPD equipment is damaged or service is disrupted, whether by human hands, the weather, or even the unusual, such as animals, Begley is called. Begley also deals with governmental entities such as the City of Omaha, other utilities and insurance companies.
Recently Begley was called to inspect an underground vault transformer that was damaged when a contractor’s boring caused a trench to collapse. Begley had to inspect the site, document the damage and determine fault and liability.
The job, by its very nature, means there is often conflict, or at least the potential for conflict. But spend some time with Begley and it’s clear he is a people person. Someone who builds relationships and works well with others.
Those skills were honed over years working first as a meter reader and then as a field collector at OPPD before his current position.
He enjoys all aspects of being a claim representative. There are times it can be challenging, but people are genuinely thankful and appreciative of the work he does.
“In the end, it is always about the customer-owners we represent,” said Begley.
He credits the success of the claims department to the team he works with and the working relationships they’ve developed.
It’s vital to have a network of contacts to help the claims department carry out their work effectively and efficiently, he said. No matter how large or small the claim, Begley reminds the claimant that he represents OPPD and the utility’s rate payers.
“It boils down to knowing how to negotiate,” Begley said. “Not every claim is the same. I’m here to protect the customers and OPPD’s best interest. The decisions are not taken lightly.”
Along with negotiating, Begley’s job also requires investigative skills. A lot goes into settling claims. And those skills also come into play in his other role at OPPD.
Begley is the vice president of the IBEW Local Union 1483 at OPPD. His union involvement can be traced back to his roots.
The Begleys have long been involved in Omaha civics/politics. His father, Dan Begley, was a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service and lifelong member of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).
His mother, Mary Kay Begley, was the first woman elected to the Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) Board of Directors and served 22 years until her passing in 2010. She aggressively pushed for the utility’s heat aid fund and her passion helped those in need – the elderly and working poor, he said.
Jim Begley, his brother, was elected to the same seat held by their mother in 2012 and again in 2018.
“Politics, serving the working class and dedication to serve others runs deep in our family,” he said.
Conversations at the Begley family dinner table were centered on understanding the culture of unions, willingness to help others, and making an impact in the lives of people they come into contact with.
“They taught us to be passionate about what we chose to do in life,” he said.
Begley is passing those same characteristics along to his four children: Megan, John, Molly and Madelyn. He’s proud that the beliefs and sense of civic duty he learned from his parents will live on in his own children. As does another family tradition – passionately cheering on the Fighting Irish. Being a Begley also means having a deep love for Notre Dame football.
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