Img 7352 (1)

Spotlight on the Line Trade: Hunter Bourne of the Carian Group

Aug. 19, 2021
During his career in the line trade, Hunter Bourne specialized in aerial line work before moving into management.

• Born in Galex, Virginia, and has a younger brother named Timothy.
 • Married and has two sons: 10-year-old Garrett and seven-year-old Cayden.
• Enjoys bareback riding and riding motorcycles. He competed in many rodeos in high school and beyond.
• Son of a lineman.
• Can’t live without a pair of Kleins, channel locks, a hammer, screwdriver and a wrench. With these tools, he says you can build any power line.

Early Years
After I graduated from high school in 2001, I went straight into line work. My dad was in the line industry, and I joined his crew. He has been a foreman for as long as I can remember, and he brought me up through the ranks. We worked in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s tough terrain, and it’s not easy to work in that part of Virginia, but it’s a great way to come into line work because you have to do a lot of rigging and climbing. I have worked in everything from distribution to transmission, and I spent about five years doing helicopter work. In 2012, I joined the union and started traveling, and I gained a network of brothers. I was married with kids, and it was a hard lifestyle because I was never home and always on the road. For the time that I spent on the bird, I worked three- or six-month stints in different locations.

Day in the Life
 As the director for construction management for the Carian Group, I oversee the construction management for the Maryland side for Pepco. Right now, we are taking the feeders with outages, looking at the outage rates where the main faults are and putting in new feeders. I make sure my guys are doing everything correctly and safely.

Challenges in the Industry
The biggest challenge going on right now is the lack of skilled laborers. A lot of older linemen left the line industry relatively quickly, and there was a loss of manpower and knowledge. Finding the right hands for the right positions is getting more and more difficult. It is a hard job, and it’s not cut out for everyone. It takes true grit. You have to get the job done, even if you are working in 100° weather with your gloves, sleeves and FR clothing on. If you are doing a helicopter-involved job, you will get dropped off and then have to hand dig the holes, climb the poles and be in your hooks all day. In line work, you also have the danger factor. If you get a hole in your gloves or do something incorrectly, it can be potentially fatal or change you for the rest of your life. We have hoses, blankets and insulated buckets, but you have to be mentally sharp with all hands on deck. Everyone involved has to be just as aware as you are.

Safety Lesson
Back in 2008, I had an incident when we were lacing steel in West Virginia. I was wearing my harness, and my safety was wrapped around a brace. When I pulled myself up on the tower, I didn’t realize that a nut had backed out of a bolt. I fell 25 ft from the tower, and I landed on my right side and broke my leg and ribs. It was a quick learning experience. One minute I was on top, and the next, I was down on the ground.

Memorable Storm
After working to restore power following Hurricane Katrina, I moved to Jasper, Texas, which was right on the border. Half of the houses were flooded or condemned, but the residents found a way to cook meals for us. Most of the time that we go on storms, the people come up to us and yell and complain that their power is not on. This experience wasn’t anything like that. It was phenomenal how nice everyone was to the line crews. Another memorable storm event was working in Puerto Rico, where we hauled a generator and plugged it into a school. They were unbelievably friendly considering the conditions they were living in. Miles and miles of power lines were down, and we flew the helicopters through the jungle to rebuild them

Editor’s Note: T&D World is partnering with Milwaukee Tool for 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].

Voice your opinion!

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