Image4 (1)
Image4 (1)
Image4 (1)
Image4 (1)
Image4 (1)

Spotlight on the Line Trade: Bladimir Rodriguez of E-J Electric T&D LLC

Sept. 17, 2021
For Bladimir Rodriguez, working to restore power following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was an unforgettable experience.
  • Born in Washington Heights in New York City and has one sister.
  • Has a nine-year-old son,  a baby girl and a fiancée.
  • Is the first one in his family to become a lineman or work in the power industry.
  • Enjoys traveling, dining out and spending time with his family.
  • Can’t live without his channel locks, goat wrench, universal sockets, and battery-powered cutting and crimping tools.

Early Years
In 2006, after my exit from U.S. Army, I had several jobs, but they were not career-driven, so I decided to further my education. I wanted to join a competitive and rewarding industry, so I attended NYIT for electrical engineering. I earned my degree in 2013 and joined the IBEW apprenticeship with Local 3 a year later. My first assignment was in Pennsylvania on a street light job.

Day in the Life
Currently, I am the general foreman with EJ Electric in Staten Island, New York. I have been working in Staten Island for ConEd for more than five years. I oversee the day-to-day overhead electrical distribution operations.

Safety Lesson
There is not a moment where I don’t think about safety. Everyone must get back home at the end of the day the same way he or she arrived. During my journey as an apprentice all the way until now, I have either experienced or learned from accidents as small as a muscle strain to the worst, loss of life. Complacency is extremely dangerous.

Memorable Storm
Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was the most devastating storm moment in my career. At the time, I worked with Northline Utilities as a foreman. We were the first utility with boots on the ground in November 2017. Seeing the people’s reactions and appreciation to see us there was unforgettable. The power grid and homes were gone, and the damage was beyond repair. Many locations had to start from scratch and rebuild. We worked for seven days a week 16 hours a day until March 2018. It was exhausting and draining, but when we restored power to a customer, the gratitude and emotion and sense of relief made it all worth it. Almost every household had tears of joy running down their faces. It’s sad to say that after we returned home to New York, not everyone was fully restored. To this day, many homes in Puerto Rico have temporary power as the utilities are still working on the electrical grid.

Life in the Trade
The utility industry is one of the best choices I have made in my life. The skills I learned as a journeyman and leader play a big role in everyday activities. We are a distinct group with a set of skills working on a system that is used worldwide. It is a very prideful occupation especially when you know your abilities can help others in need. To be a lineman, you must be mentally and physically fit and understand that you seldom know when we will return home. This is not a 9 to 5 job, and when Mother Nature calls, we leave behind our families for weeks at a time. It is not easy, but nothing in life is, and if you are committed, it is a very appreciative and rewarding vocation.

Plans for the Future
If I knew everything I know now, I would have joined the power industry at an earlier time in my life. I always welcome a challenge and, in this field, every day is different and worthy. We have a skill set that allows us to go out during emergency situations and put a smile on people’s faces. In the future, I’d like to continue my education and move into a position where I can increase awareness and engage employees in a safety program. My second plan for the future is to hopefully own my own line company. 

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!