Matt Richardson (right) competes in Duke Energy Florida Lineman’s Rodeo in Winter Garden, Florida.
Matt Richardson (right) competes in Duke Energy Florida Lineman’s Rodeo in Winter Garden, Florida.
Matt Richardson (right) competes in Duke Energy Florida Lineman’s Rodeo in Winter Garden, Florida.
Matt Richardson (right) competes in Duke Energy Florida Lineman’s Rodeo in Winter Garden, Florida.
Matt Richardson (right) competes in Duke Energy Florida Lineman’s Rodeo in Winter Garden, Florida.
Matt Richardson (right) competes in Duke Energy Florida Lineman’s Rodeo in Winter Garden, Florida.

Spotlight on the Line Trade: Matt Richardson

July 13, 2023
If Matt Richardson had to do it all over again, he would go into the power industry.

Duke Energy Florida

  • Born in Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Married to his wife, April, for six years. They have a four-and-a-half year old son named Matt (MJ).
  • Enjoys being on the boat with his family and friends to go fishing, lobstering, diving or going to an island to hang out for the day.
  • Works out of the St. Petersburg Operation Center.
  • Focusing on storm hardening projects and pole changeouts. With the way everything is being built up in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, he says the lineworkers will be building new construction for a long time to come.

Early Years

Before I entered the utility industry, I climbed trees for a residential tree service. My wife brought up the opportunity, so I applied. I figured I already had the climbing part of it, so I gave it a shot. None of my relatives or friends were in the industry before I got into it, but it has inspired quite a few to look into it since then. My first job at Duke Energy was a groundman position. I went through the apprenticeship and passed all the tests to become a journeyman lineworker.

Day in the Life

My main responsibilities on a day-to-day basis are to run my truck and teach my apprentice. On a normal day I’ll receive prints in the morning. My job is to get those jobs done correctly and safely. While completing the work, I’m teaching apprentices and making sure they get the opportunities they need so they can be journeymen lineworkers one day.

Challenges and Rewards

Some of challenges I face while working is the area I’m in. We are often called to respond to outages that can take us away from our day-to-day work. We work a lot of hours and get called in all through the night as well, but it is rewarding getting power back to customers who are out.

Safety Lesson

During my time here I have responded to a few emergency tickets with tree trimmers and electricians who got into our lines. When you show up and see these individuals being loaded up in ambulances or still in a bucket, it changes you. There have also been a couple accidents that involved my coworkers as well. When you see those types of events or even hear about them, they make you take a step back and realize how important safety really is.

Memorable Storm

I have responded to storms in Florida and out of state from the Carolinas to Louisiana. My most recent storm was the most memorable. We responded to Hurricane Ian in October 2022. We traveled to Pine Island, which is very close to us in St. Petersburg, Florida. Upon entering the area, we saw poles on the ground as far as you could see. We rebuilt everything from the substation out. We had an opportunity to do some barge work and rebuilt a line on a beach in 2 ft to 4 ft of water. We took boats out there and waded through the water and set poles with a barge crane. We then climbed all the poles and put up the wire. We stayed in a camp and showered and slept in trailers. We were deployed for 12 days but due to the amount of work we did and sleeping conditions, it felt like a month. It was extremely hard work but very rewarding.

Tools and Technology

The new compression tools and drills have changed the way we do work now. Battery-operated tools have helped us tremendously. There’s no more leaning out and had pressing connections. Over a long period of time, this is going to save our shoulders. The new test equipment that we are getting now improves safety and productivity because we can identify underground cable with ease.

Future Plans

If I had to do it all over again, I would go into the power industry. This field of work is hard, it’s demanding and it requires you to always be on your game. It’s not easy, but it teaches you good qualities that can be used on and off the job. My plans for the future are to stay in the journeyman role, to continue learning and to teach everything I can to the next generation so they can become successful lineworkers.

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