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Spotlight on the Line Trade: Wesley Seaburg of Duke Energy

June 7, 2019
Wesley Seaburg works as an A-Class distribution line technician, a construction crew lead and a safety co-chairman for Duke Energy.
  • Born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and has three half-siblings.   
  • Married to his wife, Katy Beth, and has three children: Weston (5), Walker (3) and Libby Kate (six months). 
  • His father worked as a phone technician for AT&T for 37 years.
  • Enjoys golf, fishing, hunting and spending time with friends.

Early Years
I graduated with my associate’s degree during the down economy, and not many jobs were available at that time. My father told me about the need for linemen, and he encouraged me to attend the lineman helper training at York Technical College.  After graduating from this program, I applied and acquired a job as a flagger with William’s Electric.

Day in the Life
I currently serve as an A-Class distribution line technician, the crew lead for one of the construction crews and a safety co-chairman.  I assign and schedule job duties each day, ensure everyone gets to the job site safely and lead a pre-job briefing to discuss expectations and responsibilities for that job. While the job is in progress, I make sure everyone is safe and the job is being completed appropriately. Once the job is finished, I administer a post-job briefing to discuss what went well and what we could do to improve the next job. 

Challenges and Rewards
One of the biggest challenges is being able to keep up with the constant change of work standards and safety requirements. The greatest reward is experiencing the gratitude from customers once their power has been restored or a long-term electrical issue has been resolved.

Safety Lesson
After working with William’s Electric for two years, I restored power following a winter storm. My crew was working on the side of a mountain changing out a broken single-phased straight-line pole with no access.  While we were trying to move the pole out of our way and float the new pole in with the wench line, an automatic broke loose causing the top of the pole to fall and land on one of our workers.  After this experience, it opened my eyes to how quickly something can happen and the importance of safety. 

Memorable Storm
During Hurricane Sandy in 2012, we worked for two-and-a-half weeks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  We did not see some of the hardest hit areas, but we did wind and vegetation damage. After the storm had passed, working conditions were cool, but comfortable.

On the Job
We are changing multiple poles out on extremely outdated areas on our power grid and trying to bring them more up-to-date.  Duke Energy is very adamant about broadening our self-healing network to where customers will see momentary outages instead of extended time outages.  As linemen, we are pushing very hard for more vegetation work because it seems to be one of the main reasons for outages that customers can’t live without.

Career-Defining Moment
In the fall of 2015, during a torrential rain, two individuals were caught in heavy flooding.  I used my bucket truck to help them to escape their flooded vehicle and save their lives. Because of this rescue, I earned the James B. Duke Award in 2016.  It is considered to be the highest achievement award in the Duke Energy Company.

Tools and Technology
It is exciting to see the way the industry is going with SmartGrid systems in the way the grid can isolate the faults and self-heal. We are using new battery-operated presses, battery-operated impacts and battery-operated cutters. Duke Energy implemented a smart tablet that assisted Duke Energy’s eco-friendly goal of becoming paperless. It organizes linemen’s responsibilities and duties, manages working stock and keeps track of working hours.

Plans for the Future
I have come to realize that being a lineman is who I was meant to be.  Because the job is constantly changing, it keeps my interest.  I have a love for helping others, and this job gives me this opportunity.  I plan to continue to build my resume by acquiring more knowledge in all aspects of line work and continuing to advance in the company.

Attention linemen: Do you know of a journeyman lineman, foreman or field superintendent who we could profile in a future Lifeline? If so, please email Amy Fischbach, Field Editor, with a description of the lineman and his or her photo. 

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