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Spotlight on the Line Trade: David Rendon of Mastec

July 17, 2020
The line trade isn’t for everyone, but Rendon says it changed his life.
  • Born in San Antonio, Texas, and has five brothers and four sisters.
  • Has one daughter and five sons.
  • Comes from a generation of linemen. His fathers and older brothers all did line work.
  • Enjoys playing sports with his sons and doing yard work and barbeque on his days off. He also competes in the Seguin Lineman Rodeo for his company, Mastec, in the cookoff competition.
  • Can’t live without his lineman’s wrench, his knife, climbing gear, cordless impacts and electrical crimping devices.

Early Years
My older brother was a foreman and asked me to go to work for him when I was 20 years old. Since day one, I have fallen in love with line work and have progressed in the industry. During my first job as a groundman, we were doing a reconductor job from 1/0 wire to 795. With no rope rig, I had to pull it by hand. It was rough coming up in the industry at that time. One of my most memorable experiences was climbing my first pole. I was told to climb before I could ever run a bucket, and it made me who I am today—working banks off of hooks, stringing in rope off of hooks and working off of a baker board. It teaches you value in being a lineman and taking pride in what you do.

Day in the Life
As a general foreman for overhead distribution for Mastec Company in Austin, Texas, my responsibilities are to bid jobs, line out work for all crews and hold Monday morning stand downs. I also call in locates for all jobs and obtain city permits to work on roadways and set up traffic control for certain jobs as needed. Currently, we are working on a lot of make ready projects for the power company and the communications company. We are upgrading systems with better and updated materials and switches as well as regulator banks, capacitor banks and air switches.

Challenges and Rewards
My biggest challenges have always been to receive a new position and to excel at it. I hate to fail at my job, but I was once told I will never know if I fail until I try it. I have lived by that motto my whole life. The greatest rewards are interacting with a bunch of great line brothers. I enjoy being able to share my knowledge with each on and help to turn groundmen into linemen.

Safety Lesson
I think safety has always been a big factor in my career since day one. I remember first hearing the sound of electricity as linemen were heating up a new section of line. From that moment on, I knew to always respect the line and never take a shortcut nor get complacent.

Memorable Storm
When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, I was shipped out on Oct. 28, 2017, and I didn’t come home until a year later. I went as a foreman, and then two months later, I was promoted to a general foreman and then a superintendent. More than 450 linemen were restoring power across different parts of the island. The destruction and the living environment were unlike any other storm. There was a shortage of so many things, and necessities were hard to come by. It was an experience I will never forget, and I will always be proud that I took part in it.

Life as a Lineman
The line trade changed my life, and it is the best career. I think anyone who has gotten into it would agree. It’s not for everyone. We are a certain breed, and it separates us from everyone else.

Plans for the Future
I plan to retire doing line work. If I move up to operations, I still want to be able to share all my knowledge with the younger generation. I take pride in all of my work. I love to drive all over the country and know I have built a line or two just about everywhere. To see a line and see that it is straight with no leaning poles and pretty jumpers reminds me of why I am still in this industry. Being a lineman makes you feel like Superman. We are a rare breed, and I will always be proud to be a lineman. 

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