Heather LaMarr
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Spotlight on the Line Trade: Donald La Marr of Eversource Energy

May 15, 2018
Donald LaMarr

• Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, and has one sister.
• Married to Heather, a stay-at-home mom, and has two daughters, 10-year-old Addison and 8-year-old Isabelle. His wife and daughters are the reason he works safely every day.
• His late great uncle, Matt, worked in the power industry in California.
• Enjoys spending time at his in-laws’ summer house on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and swimming, boating and jet skiing.
• Likes competing in the lineman’s rodeos.

Early Years
My friend started working in the power industry, and it interested me because I liked working outside, and it seemed like the job just fit me. My first job was working for a contractor in the metropolitan Boston area doing “make ready” work so they could fit new cable TV wires on the poles below the power lines.

Day in the Life
As a chief lineman, I plan all the work for my crew. Every day, I make sure we have everything we need to do our jobs safely and efficiently. I also ensure our projects get set up and stay on track, both on a daily and long-term basis until we finish the project.

Challenges and Rewards
The biggest challenges in the utility industry are the everchanging working conditions and making sure the public has the most reliable service. The biggest rewards are seeing the system becoming more reliable and our customers getting better service because of the work that I and my crew are doing.

Safety Lesson
I learned about safety during my early days before I started working for a big utility company. We were pulling in new conductors over old ones, and the brake on the wire trailer let the new sag into the old. It came into contact with the old energized conductor and tripped out the line. Thankfully, we did everything our safety manual said, and no one was harmed or equipment was damaged due to proper grounding procedures in place.

Memorable Storm
During Hurricane Irene and Alfred in 2011, restored power to more than 800,000 people during each storm. These two storms hit eight weeks apart. It took us about two weeks to do
the major cleanup after each storm and another month to finish up what we had fixed temporarily. The working conditions were tough as both storms caused major destruction. For example, heavy tree damage took down many poles and wires.

Hardening the System
Currently we are working on circuit upgrades by reconducting, system hardening, pole upgrades and converting a circuit from 4.8 kV delta to 13.8 kV wye. The company is currently
hardening the system by setting larger class poles, installing larger covered primary wire and new fiberglass cross arms and fusing every transformer to reduce the outages to a minimum. As linemen, we are making sure that everything is being built to the best of our abilities.

Rodeo Memories
The most memorable experience I have was in 2003 when I took 5th place in the apprentice pole climb at the International Lineman’s Rodeo. It was so memorable to me because I was so
young in the trade, yet I was able to be recognized for doing such an excellent job.

Tools and Technology
The tools my crew and I cannot live without are our battery operated drills, cutters and crimpers. They make it easier and faster to do our job that used to be harder and take more time.
These tools also help to prevent injuries. I personally like the new climbing belts and safeties, which make it safer for the new apprentices to do the job at hand.

Plans for the Future
My plans are to keep doing what I am doing or possibly go work for one of our sister companies in another state. I never want to stop learning about the trade. It’s important to always have an open mind about the way a job or task can be done as there are many ways to do almost everything. Also, you should give all aspects of line work a chance as you can always learn. I enjoy doing the work and have learned so much over the years. I have had some great mentors and have made many life-long friends in this trade.

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