Forge of Experience
He started first as Assistant, and later as Chief Engineer laying out the canal and diversion system to transfer water from the Dolores River to the fields around Cortez. It was while working on the Cortez project that Fellows gained valuable experience in creating tunnels and irrigation systems that could be developed in the Uncompahgre Valley. It was also during his 10 year work on this project that he learned to grapple with living in what was still very much the wild west.
He often rode out to remote work-sites to pay the laborers who were working on the irrigation system, often carrying as much as $5,000. In one instance, when the payroll was late, he had to retrieve some equipment from a camp. When he showed up at supper time, his firm presentation convinced the angry unpaid laborers that they should help him load the wagon. Later, as he drove off in the twilight he uncocked the revolver that he kept handy to defend himself. He was often in the saddle up to 12 hours a day and camping in the wilds, but the naturalist in Fellows allowed him to revel in the outdoors. Whether he was on a slow or a swift horse, he noticed everything and often jotted down every detail of the landscape.
William W. Torrence
Almost from the time he arrived in Montrose in 1896, people began to realize an improvement in their electric service. He started as an electrician with the Montrose Electric Light and Power Company, but rose up through the business and walked "as straight as a bloated bond holder" when he was later named Superintendent of the company. Managing the business carefully, he convinced the owners that growth of the business would be good for the company, and the community as well, helping the town to come out of the economic depression that started in 1893.
Will Torrence was born in Ohio in 1873, and though little is known of his early years, it appears as though he had some schooling. In Montrose he spent much time extending electric service to homes and businesses around town, wiring buildings and outdoor lights as well. Then working with A. Deniston of the Water Works plant he insured the replacement of the old dynamo, or generator, in 1899, which improved reliability and made possible expanded service to the community.