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Spotlight on the Line Trade: Ryan Araujo of Southern California Edison

Feb. 17, 2021
As a troubleman, Ryan Araujo tries to encourage younger journeymen linemen to give back and pay it forward in the line trade.
  • Born in Montebello, California, and has several siblings.
  • Married to Donna, who has been his strongest supporter in his journey. They have three children: Ryan, Isiah and Alyssa and a baby grandson named Xavier.
  • Enjoys spending time on the river, going off-season camping or hanging out with his family and friends. He also likes to exercise at the gym and practice for the Lineman’s Rodeo.
  • Has had other family members work for utilities, but he’s a first-generation lineman.
  • Can’t live without his climbing tools and a hot stick tester.

Early Years
 I started working for Southern California Edison as a meter reader, and I had no clue what a lineman was. I just knew I was making good money for a 19-year-old. After four years of reading meters, entry-level groundman positions began opening up throughout the company, and I applied. About 14 months after I topped out as a journeyman, I was promoted to an E-crew foreman, and it’s been a great ride ever since.

Day in the Life
As a troubleman, we have our hands on everything from drone introduction to smart grid resiliency, circuit balancing and field utilization of automated equipment. For the last four-and-a-half years, I have served as a troubleman for transmission and distribution. As first responders, we deal with and experience a lot of things. For example, we respond to residential and commercial accounts experiencing abnormalities with electrical service. In an instant, we can be working with our switching center to resolve an emergent problem or a hazard on a larger magnitude. The best way to describe our day is “valleys and peaks.” Our day can start a little boring, and then the next thing you know, we have a circuit interruption, and now the clocks are ticking, adrenaline is flowing, and it’s time to work.

Safety Lesson
The importance of safety was instilled in me from the gate, always being reminded of the somber side of the trade and all the good hands we lost way too early. I’ve experienced some unanticipated close calls throughout my career, but I’ve always accounted for my crew and kept them in the clear. As a first step apprentice, I adjusted my belt with only one gaff in the pole. It was before the days of full fall protection, and I fell 38½ ft straight down to the ground. I was fortunate to walk away a little sore, embarrassed and humbled because I’ve known guys who have fallen half the distance and had their careers cut short. I learned to never make the same mistake twice.

Training Future Linemen
I am grateful to be part of our company’s hot stick classes conducted at our training facility in Chino, California. We train our apprentices in the proper technique of using insulated sticks instead of rubber gloving. We try to help in preparing them to be safe, productive and well-rounded journeymen linemen. They are the future of our company and the trade.

Plans for the Future
I’d choose a career in the power industry again and again. It’s allowed me to form some great relationships and memories. I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else. Movement opportunities are always available combined with great benefits, competitive pay and numerous opportunities for advancement. My plans for the future are to stay healthy, save and put away for retirement. I’m not sure what other positions I’d like to experience or advance to, but I know for now, I hold one of the best positions in the company, and I’m still learning and having fun. 

Editor’s Note: T&D World is excited to partner with Milwaukee Tool on a sponsorship for the linemen profiled in our Lifeline department. To thank the linemen for their dedication to the line trade, Milwaukee will send a tool package to each lineman profiled. If you are interested in being profiled in our monthly Lifeline department or know of a journeyman lineman who would be a good candidate, email T&D World Field Editor Amy Fischbach at [email protected]

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