Tdworld 20700 P1000216 2 1

Spotlight on the Line Trade: Mark Ennis of National Grid

Dec. 4, 2019
Mark Ennis serves as both a crew leader for National Grid and a firefighter for his local fire department.
  • Born in Brockton, Massachusetts, and has two brothers.
  • Is the first lineman in his family.
  • Has a 20-year-old son, Timothy, and an 18-year-old daughter, Brenna, who are both in college.
  • Enjoys boating, woodworking and yard work.
  • Can’t live without safety equipment.
  •  Since he started in the trade, he says ergonomics has come a long way, and the new tools are reducing the burden on his body. For example, he used to do everything with a mechanical wrench and ratchet cutters, and now, he uses battery-operated cutters and crimpers.
  • Is working with his crew on a reconductoring project to install 5,000 ft of three-phase spacer cable.

Early Years
Back when my son, Tim, was an infant, I was driving and saw some National Grid linemen working in the transmission right of way. They were running heavy equipment, and I saw them using backhoes and cranes. The linemen gave me some names of people to talk to, and the rest is history. I started off as a transmission lineman, where I worked for two years, and then I went over to the distribution department, where I am now.

Day in the Life
I now work as a journeyman lineman and a crew leader. In my role, I am in charge of a bucket truck, and I go out with the journeyman linemen and run the jobs, make decisions and oversee the line crews as they work on maintaining and repairing overhead lines and respond to power outages and broken poles. From Monday to Friday, I go out with the crews on the backwoods and country roads. As a lineman, the phone rings at any given time—holidays, weekends and birthdays. There is no telling when the phone is going to ring due to car-pole accidents or a power outage.

Serving as a Firefighter
In addition to my job for National Grid, I serve as a call firefighter for Rayham Fire Department. When they can’t fill the shifts with the full-time firefighters, they call upon us to work a shift or detail to respond to emergency situations or fires or provide mutual aid to another town. I have been working with them for 23 years, and I’ve been with National Grid for 20 years. I think working as a lineman and firefighter are a lot alike. They both respond to emergency situations and serve as first responders. Since I was a child, I’ve always been interested in working as a firefighter, and I loved to go to the fire station and see the fire trucks and sit in them. I pursued it, and I’m very happy with both positions—as a lineman and a firefighter. I feel like I get the best of both worlds.

Memorable Storm
In 2008, we had a freak snowstorm in October in Buffalo, New York. I was gone for 17 days, which is the longest trip I had ever been on. We climbed every day in the pouring rain in our raingear restoring power. We had multiple trees and power lines down. We were working on backyard construction in the woods, and we had to try to get around the branches, snow and downed trees.

Challenges and Rewards
I think the biggest challenge is the weather. We work in all extremes—the heat and the cold. In the Northeast, we get snow and hurricanes. The reward is restoring power and helping people in their time of need when they are without power for multiple days. The reward is that we are the ones to make the repairs. After we restore the power, we make a victory lap around the neighborhood and see customers waving and clapping.

Memorable Moment
Two years ago, we had a horrific rain and wind storm come through in March. We worked for about 18 hours on and six hours off for four or five days. We had done a lot of work in the town of Easton, Massachusetts, and we pulled over on Main Street to get a bite to eat after four long days of work. A mom pulled up alongside of us, and she brought her daughter over, who was six years old. She made a plate of homemade cookies for us and a card to thank us for our hard work. To this day, I still have the card in my line truck and the picture. Someone also took a picture of me and the girl and posted it to social media, and it went viral.

Safety Lesson
From start to finish in my career, safety has always been our number one priority. I understand the importance of it every day and how much National Grid is committed to the safety of all of its people. Safety will be number one in my book until the day I retire.

Future Plans
I love my job, and I can’t see myself doing anything else for any other company than National Grid. They are a great company to work for, and they supply us with the best tools and equipment. I plan on continuing to grow with them in the

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!