Pool with Kids

Spotlight on the Line Trade: Andrew Pool of Central Electric Cooperative

June 9, 2018
Andrew Pool
  • Born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and has an older brother, Aarron, and a younger brother, Jamey
  • Married to his wife, Sandi, who he married in July 2018
  • Is a first-generation lineman
  • Enjoys hunting, playing golf, going to the gym, playing guitar and coaching Little League football.

Early Years
In college, I had the opportunity to work a summer job as a facilities laborer at Central Electric Cooperative in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I wasn’t very knowledgeable about this line of work, but after speaking with a family friend, who still currently works as a lineman at the cooperative, I was convinced that this profession was a great opportunity.

I worked my way up to an apprentice lineman position, and on my first day we built a three-phase regulator bank. It was mid-July, and it was hot and required very involved work. At the time, I was clueless about where I needed to be and how I could help my crew members. Luckily, I was put on a great crew who collectively had more than 40 years of experience. They led me every step of the way and were patient with me.

Day in the Life
I am currently a lead lineman on a five-man construction crew. My main responsibilities include assisting my foreman with paperwork and daily work flow, training our apprentices, running the crew when my foreman is absent, and most importantly, helping to maintain our overall crew safety.

Our work day can change at the drop of a hat, but typically, we are responsible for building new services, conducting service upgrades and performing line maintenance. Currently, my crew has been building new services in different parts of our service area.

Safety Lesson
Within the first year of my career, I was involved in a near-miss incident. While we were installing grounds on a de-energized line, we were not communicating well, and we skipped a crucial step in our safety practices. Because it was a storm response situation, a lot of people on location had been working strenuous hours. Fortunately, nobody was injured during the incident. Since it was early on in my career, I learned the importance of rubber gloves, the use of primary volt meters, communication, and ensuring every crew member must follow safety procedures, regardless of the situation.

Memorable Storm
My memorable storm moment was in the Oklahoma Panhandle in July 2015. On the last day, our crew, along with a few other cooperative crews, were assigned to build about a mile-and-a-half of three-phase line that was torn down during the storm. We showed up early, had a significant job briefing, and got to work. By the end of the day, we finished every pole in that stretch of line. The most memorable part about this was the fact that none of us had worked together on a project like this prior to this storm, but that didn’t matter. We all spoke the same language when it came to this job. Several guys from our crew worked with other co-op crews and visa-versa. It was a great experience and I was glad to be a part of it.

Volunteering Overseas
One of the greatest memories both in my professional career and in my personal life was being a part of the 2017 Energy Trails international electrification project in Guatemala. Journeyman linemen from various cooperatives traveled to an isolated village in Guatemala to bring first-time electricity to the villagers. I was lucky enough to be selected for the Oklahoma crew in 2017. I was blown away how the experience affected me in my job and in my life perspective. I went to the village of Chiis with the expectations of getting great job experience, making new friends, and seeing a beautiful country. All of these expectations were met and then some. The bond I built with my crew members, the people of Chiis, and especially with the children of the village cross my mind daily. The entire experience is one I’m truly blessed to have been a part of; I would go back in a heartbeat.

Future Plans
I plan on working as a lineman for as long as I can. If given the opportunity to move into a foreman position, supervisory role, or any other title that will put me in a position to benefit my coworkers and my family, I will gladly accept it.

Also, I would like to thank the construction crew that I worked with in the beginning of my career for helping me learn every day and keeping me safe along the way, my family for supporting my career choice, and Central Electric Cooperative for taking a chance on me.

About the Author

Amy Fischbach | Amy Fischbach, EUO Contributing Editor

Amy Fischbach is the contributing editor for the Electric Utility Operations section of Transmission and Distribution World. She worked for Prism Business Media (now Penton) for eight years, most recently as the managing editor of Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro magazine. She is now working as a freelance writer and editor for B2B magazines. Amy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.She serves as the national vice president of the American Society of Business Publication Editors. She can be reached at [email protected].

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