San Diego Gas & Electric
- Enjoys spending time outside in the mountains, desert and beach. He likes to exercise by hiking on the trails, going to the gym or running. He also spends time with his family and attends his kids’ sports games and serves as a coach whenever possible.
- Can’t live without a sharp knife, Kleins, a sling rope and his rope access equipment.
- His father worked for Commonwealth Edison and later retired from Exelon after 38 years of service in mechanical maintenance for nuclear generation. He then continued working for a contractor for 10 more years.
- Married to his wife, Julie, and they have three sons: 16-year-old Peyton; nine-year-old Christian and five-year-old Samuel.
- Born in Sterling, Illinois, and has a younger sister and an older brother.
Serving in the Military
I served six years in the U.S. Navy Seabees with a service combination of active and reserve duty. I served in the construction battalion in the Navy, and we worked on the military bases. We had linemen on our crews along with construction electricians, plumbers, pipefitters and welders. I served as a carpenter builder, so it was good work. During my service, I was deployed to Okinawa, Japan, during peacetime operations. I think being in the military gives you a hardened background in learning to take direction. Going through apprenticeships gives you that baseline for following orders, paying attention to detail and being there for your brother. The military teaches all those values, characteristics and virtues of the person who you want to have in the line trade. I think that the brotherhood in the line trade is very similar to that of being in the military.
When I got out of the military, I moved back to Sterling, Illinois. I started working in the utility industry in September 2001 as a meter reader for NICOR Gas in Chicago. In 2006, I moved over to MidAmerican Energy, and that’s where I was first exposed to the trade. When I talked to the line crews, I knew it was something I needed to be doing. I was determined to make that happen, so I completed my apprenticeship. After I topped out as a journeyman, I moved to California four years ago to work for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
Day in the Life
Right now, I’m working in the transmission department at SDG&E. My crew is tasked with the maintenance and construction of the transmission grid here in southern California. We work on anything from pole replacements to tower work, insulator, changeouts and some reconductor work. We also take care of some underground maintenance and construction on the high-voltage side of the house.
Learning New Skills
Since coming to California, I’ve learned how to work on part of a Human External Cargo (HEC) team and perform work using a helicopter. I’d never done anything like it before, so it has been very cool to be a part of it and go through the extensive training. It’s quite a thrill to be on a 100-ft line and go from the ground to the tower or a tower to a tower to do our work. It’s quite a rush, and I love it. I also just completed the 500 kV barehand training qualification, and it was a great experience to be a part of it. I’m happy that our move from the Midwest to California allowed me to hone the skills of a West Coast lineman.
When you’re on the barehand live line crew, you have 500,000 V all around you, and you have rigging, sticks, ladders and booms. You must be on your A game and be responsive, alert and pay attention to details and to the safety of everyone involved. It’s quite a day to be able to go out there and change V strings or dead ends on an energized line.
A lot of my storm memories are from the Midwest, where we responded to storms with snow and ice. There was always something coming our way, and we were always ready for it. We also did a lot of mutual aid. Because we were in the middle of the nation, everyone supported each other all around us with the crazy weather. Now that I’m at SDG&E, our crews are assisting the local utilities up north as they are responding to the destruction from the recent storms.
Plans for the Future
I believe that this is the greatest trade due to the pride, the work and the service to others. I’m planning to keep progressing, keep learning, keep current and bestow my knowledge on to the linemen just beginning in the trade. I really enjoy being a journeyman lineman. I’ve been asked to take on different roles where I’m off the crew, but as long as I’m capable and able to keep climbing poles and towers, I want to stay in the field.