Dustin Curry, PG&E
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Spotlight on the Line Trade: Dustin Curry of Pacific Gas & Electric

Aug. 13, 2018
Dustin Curry is a lineman for PG&E.
  • Born and raised in Turlock, California.
  • Married to a very supporting wife, Gabbie, and has one son, Declan. They hope to expand their family in the near future.
  • Enjoys swimming and running. He and his wife ran a half marathon together, and he also ran a full marathon.
  • Likes to golf and is interested in cars and motorcycles. He currently owns a 1966 Dodge Dart.

Early Years
I learned about the line trade while I was working as an electrician for Kirkes Electric in Turlock, California. As we were pulling wire into a big industrial building, I asked someone where the power came from, and no one could answer my question. I did some research and found Northwest Lineman College, and I joined the program at the Meridian, Idaho, campus in January 2012. Upon completion, I was hired on as a preapprentice lineman at Pacific Gas & Electric. I spent one year as a preapprentice and four years as an apprentice lineman. I topped out as a journeyman in September 2017.

Day in the Life
Today I work as a lineman for PG&E out of the Stockton yard. We maintain and construct power lines and equipment. Through the hot summer in the valley, we have been working on more emergencies as the load increases. We also have been installing more pole line extensions for farmers to install more pumps to water their crops.

Grandson of a Lineman
My grandfather worked as a lineman for both Turlock Irrigation District and Modesto Irrigation District after returning from World War II. He then moved to the Bay Area and still worked in the trade until he moved to Turlock. Looking back, I wish I would have gone into the trade much sooner and talked to my grandfather about the power industry.

Safety Lesson
I believe safety has always been a top priority. You can’t make short cuts in line work. While I was in school at Northwest Lineman College, and from my first day at PG&E, I learned the importance of paying attention to my safety as well as the safety of all my crew members. It was instilled in me from day one.

Challenges and Rewards
The biggest challenges of working as a lineman are the long hours and being called away from family. But, on the other hand, storm work can be the most rewarding. After people have been without power for several days, you can restore their power and help them to return to their normal lives. During the holidays, you may not always be able to spend time with your own family, but you can light up others’ homes so they can celebrate with their loved ones.

Memorable Storm
My most memorable storm started off in Fort Bragg, California. After severe storms had wiped out power, we worked all the way down to San Luis Obisbo, California. It took several days as we continually repaired downed wire, broken poles, backyard transformers and even underground systems. I remember working to restore power in one area and then moving on to the next. It was great to have people come out while it was raining to thank the crew for turning the power back on.

Tools and Technology
All the ergonomic power tools we have today are amazing. They help to prevent shoulder injuries so you can do the work longer and not break down your body.

Life as a Lineman
This job always has new, fun experiences, whether you’re doing something for the first time or doing something repeatedly. For example, you may be climbing transmission towers, performing helicopter sets in the trees or doing crane sets in backyards. Each job has its own little quirky thing to it.

Future Plans
I definitely would go into this line of work if I had to do it all over again, but I would go into the trade right out of high school. Right now, I just want to be a lineman and work with a great crew. I have considered possibly working as a supervisor in the future, but I have plenty of time to consider these possibilities. I plan to work in this trade for the next 30 years.

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