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LineLife: Bob Hall of J&J Electric

July 12, 2022
If he could do it over again, Bob Hall would go into the power industry.
  • Born in a small town in Indiana.
  • Married to his wife, Teresa, and has four grown children and four grandkids: Collier, Kade, Nash and Sutton.
  • Enjoys traveling, home improvement projects and spending time with his grandkids.
  • Can’t live without his personal protective equipment.
  • Assisted on the training grounds and set of the “Life on the Line” movie starring John Travolta.

I was fortunate to land a job as a contractor back in 1995. That led to a career in the power industry. My first job in the industry was with J.E. Reedy, a small contractor in southern Indiana. It is a family business, and they are great folks. My time there offered a wide variety of experiences. I learned how to operate equipment and about the installation of underground services. We even did some tree trimming. We got a lot of experience in a short time there, and that experience was good training to help move me toward the job at the local utility.

Day in the Life

I spent 11 years with Buckingham Manufacturing, which allowed me to travel the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. It was great meeting so many great folks and seeing how they all contribute to our industry. I am back working for a contractor as a journeyman lineman and foreman for Local 1393 in Kokomo, Indiana. J & J Electric of Indiana is a great company that treats their employees like family. The biggest challenge has been adjusting from working with the utilities across the country to getting back into by tools, but it's been fun getting back out there. It's really rewarding to watch J & J Electric grow.

Safety Lesson

I learned early in my career the dangers of the job and not all good linemen make good leaders. It didn’t take long to realize you have to look out for yourself. I also vowed to never treat anyone working for me the way we were treated. Throughout my career. I've seen individuals that have been put into leadership positions for many reasons, and unfortunately, not all decisions to put those folks in that position include a consideration of their readiness. I feel a good lead can get the job done and also look out for the people who are working for him.

Memorable Storm

My first out-of-state storm was a great experience. We spent two weeks restoring power after Hurricane Ivan. We saw the typical wind damage and destruction that those folks near to the coast often see during those storms. The conditions that we were in were as good as you could expect given the circumstances. Unfortunately, the utilities in that area have so much experience with these storms, but they've really learned how to respond to the restoration efforts. I was just amazed at how well they treated us, and I think we actually gained weight during the two weeks we were down there. I couldn’t believe people who had been out of power for two weeks would stop and offer you anything they could offer.

Giving Back to the Trade

I worked with the NSUJL and IBEW Local 1393 on a special license plate for Indiana linemen. It features a lineman on a pole surrounded by 19 stars. It’s great to see that plate as you drive around Indiana. Most importantly, the funds from the plate go back to the NSUJL, which helps lineworkers in their time of need. I also helped my friend, Chad Dubea, with the Climbin’ for Linemen event, and we were able to donate a portion of the entry fees back to the industry.

Tools and Technology

It has been great to see all the innovation in tools. The battery-powered tools are going to save a lot of wear on the body. When they first brought those out, my thought was that the presses were too slow and that I could do it faster by with the old manual style press. But now they're much faster, plus, I'm not as young as I was back then and those presses tend to wear on your body over time. It's amazing how much time these tools save throughout the day.

Future Plans

If I could do it over again, I would go into the power industry. The industry has been good for me and my family. My future plan is to continue to learn. We can always learn something new. In the future, I think I'll be ready to settle down somewhere and and use my experiences and contacts to help out. Then I’ll continue to do anything I can to help the betterment of our industry.

Editor’s Note: To listen to the Line Life podcast episode featuring Bob Hall, visit anchor.fm/line-life-podcast.

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