T&D World Magazine
Brandon Matthees, Xcel Energy

Brandon Matthees, Xcel Energy

Born in Farmington, Minnesota. Lives in Rosemount, Minnesota, with his girlfriend, Kristin. Enjoys being active, working out and spending time outside. Also likes spending the Minnesota summers on his motorcycle and cheering on the Minnesota Wild during the hockey season. Has many relatives in the utility industry, including his father, Dale Matthees of Dakota Electric, and his cousins: Ross Matthees in member services at Goodhue Electric; Matthew Matthees in dispatch for Dakota Electric; Kyle Lodermeier, a lineman at Steele-Waseca Electric; and Chad Matthees, an apprentice at People’s Energy. Considers tools as very important to the success of the field crews. Right now, his utility is equipping the linemen's trucks with computers, which will make their jobs easier.

Early Years

Working in the power industry is a family tradition. My father has worked as a lineman for more than 40 years for Dakota Electric, and I became interested in working as a lineman because of him. I remember my dad bringing home his hooks and climbing gear. When I was about eight years old, I would climb the utility pole he set for me in the front yard.

Day in the Life

I started working for Xcel Energy in 2002, immediately after I graduated from the Dakota County Line School. Now, as a foreman lineman, I oversee workers who are setting poles and running underground cables. I’m also responsible for storm restoration and electrical maintenance. Every day is different, and I like the variety that I experience on the job.

Safety Lesson

When I was an apprentice, I was involved in a flash accident. If not for my personal protective equipment and training, I would have been severely injured. After that, I had a new respect for the work that I do.

Memorable Storm Experience

Back in 2007, I worked in a blizzard that hit Austin, Minnesota. I couldn’t see 5 feet in front of me because of the snow, and the conditions remained that way for about a week. I was part of the Xcel Energy team rebuilding 5 miles of line. We were the only people allowed on the roads at a time.

I also had the opportunity to work in West Virginia and New York during Hurricane Sandy for three weeks. So many people were appreciative of our work to get their power back on. I also got to see a new part of the country and see the destruction left by a hurricane.

Challenges and Rewards

The biggest challenge is ensuring the safety of the crew. Safety is a core value for the company. The rewards are working with the people, being outside and making customers happy. I am lucky to work for such a great company.

Hardening the System

Xcel Energy and our crews are improving our systems. For example, we are currently rebuilding lines that are more heavy duty to withstand stronger storms.

Future Plans

I would absolutely go into this industry all over again. I love what I do, and I want to continue to grow my career with Xcel Energy. It is a great career, and I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking about getting involved in the profession. It is unique that so many generations of my family are involved, and I hope to pass it down to my own family one day.

Editor’s note: T&D World is looking for linemen who have made a valuable contribution to the industry. If you would like to nominate someone for a future profile, please e-mail Amy Fischbach at [email protected] with the person’s contact information and a brief description about what makes him or her stand apart from the rest of the field crew.

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