Wayne Lynn, and his son, William, are shown on a storm restoration in Louisiana in September 2021.

Spotlight on the Line Trade: Wayne Lynn

Oct. 20, 2022
Wayne Lynn, and his son, William, are shown on a storm restoration in Louisiana in September 2021.

E-J Electric

  • Raised in Texas and has four brothers and a younger sister.
  • Has a 27-year-old son, Dylan, and a 18-year-old son, William.
  • Enjoys dirt biking, four wheeling, snowboarding, boating and hanging out with friends and family.
  • A family friend in East Texas introduced him to line work.
  • Believes battery-operated and more ergonomic tools are making a big difference in the line trade now.

Early Years

In 1986, I was hired on as an apprentice lineman with the City of Austin Electric Department. I started my work day early getting ice and water for trucks and hustled trying to learn everything being thrown at me. I worked with a lot of knowledgeable linemen in Austin like my first foreman, Frank Graves, who taught me a lot about the trade. We climbed a lot as apprentices even when the poles were on the road. It was a tough place to work, but you had the opportunity to learn all the different aspects of line work like transmission, substation and distribution work. It was definitely a great place to get started in the trade.

Day in the Life

I now work as a project manager for E-J Electric in New York City. In this role, I manage a distribution contract for Con Ed in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. My typical day is spent checking crews and then working on estimating jobs, billing, equipment and manpower issues and interacting with Con Ed to make sure things are going well.

Challenges and Rewards

Working in New York City, you have all the regular challenges of the trade plus more. For example, you are challenged with  the traffic, hauling poles and driving equipment down narrow congested city streets. It can also be difficult to gain access to work sites. Even the poles are busy with up to six house services and a riser that all must stay energized on a pole change out.  One of the biggest rewards is seeing crews working safely and productively and getting the jobs done. I also enjoy seeing new apprentices come out and watching them progress in their abilities and careers.

Safety Lesson

In 1989, while working on St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands, Pete Cepeda, a lineman from Guam, died when the pole he was working on broke. We were the same age—24—and at the time of his death, it made me think about the risks we face daily and the consequences of a mistake whether it is made by you or someone else and this made me much more safety conscious.

Memorable Storm

Hurricane Hugo was my first storm. When we arrived in St. Croix, we were met by a WAPA rep, who told us all power and generation sources were out on the island. We were instructed to cut whatever was in the way to clear the roads. I rode on the headache rack of a bucket truck leaving the airport and cut wire out of the way so we could go down the road. They had 12 hours of winds above 150 miles an hour, and everything was a wreck. We stayed in a condo complex with broken windows and no facilities at all. I worked on the east end of the island, and it was a total rebuild using whatever we could salvage.  It was such a great experience working on a different system in a new place with different people. By the time we returned to Austin, I had already made up my mind to finish up my apprenticeship and hit the road.

Family Tradition

One of the things I am proudest of is helping to get both my children and my nephew into the trade. My oldest son, Dylan, is an electrical engineer with PSEG of Long Island. My nephew, Taylor, is a lineman with TECO in Tampa, Florida, and my 18-year-old son is presently attending Northwest Lineman’s College in Florida.

Plans for the Future

I would 100% do it again. It’s a great trade with adventures and great people to work with. In the future, I plan to continue doing Con Ed distribution work and storms as they come up. I plan to possibly move into a safety field role. I have been taking more safety courses, and I’m an OSHA authorized trainer and CUSP.

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