Nick Nelson enjoys preparing apprentices to work in the line trade.

Spotlight on the Line Trade: Nick Nelson

Nov. 16, 2023
Nick Nelson enjoys preparing apprentices to work in the line trade.

IBEW Local 3

Born in Racine, Wisconsin, and moved to south Florida at a young age.

Only child of a single mother and unmarried with no children.

Nominated by John Faiello, an apprentice from Local 3, who says Nick has gone above and beyond to teach him everything about the trade.

Is currently working on Con Edison property starting a reconduct public improvement project.

Played competitive paintball since he was 14. The sport has allowed him to travel all over the United States and the world.  

Early Years

When I was 18 years old, I was asked the question, “Are you afraid of heights or electricity? No? Then I have the perfect trade for you.” I never looked back—only forward. I’m a first-generation lineworker. My first job was working on FPL property learning simple street light circuits and “how the lights come on.” It was an easy enough introduction into what would be a life-changing career.

Day in the Life

I currently work as a working foreman/journeyman lineworker in IBEW Local 3 jurisdiction with EJ Electric. My current job scope is basic outside construction and maintenance of overhead electrical equipment on Con Edison property in the greater New York City area. My normal work day consists of pole setting, conductor transfer/repair/replacement, installation of new electrical equipment and integration of smart grid/smart switch technology.

Safety Lesson

In 2007, I worked on a crew who made a direct contact pole-to-phase, which caused an individual to stop breathing. My foreman and myself were able to perform CPR, saving the man’s life. The incident was not without injury. The man received burns to his body and back. This incident was an eye opener for me. The smallest gap and the slightest error can be near fatal, if not fatal. My view on safety after that day completely changed. The philosophy of “any way possible” became “no job is so vital that it needs need to be completed unsafely.”

Memorable Storm

I will never forget turning the power on to 10,000 people following Hurricane Sandy. Four weeks worth of work paid off. I was fortunate enough to be in a hotel, and I never missed a meal during the storm response. I worked long days and there were tons of broken poles and downed conductor, but it was very rewarding at the end.

Challenges and Rewards

The challenge of any day in this business is to complete all tasks in the safest and most efficient manner possible. Some lineworkers may consider their paychecks as their reward, but I think it’s much more than that. It’s a great feeling to know all your training has paid off and allowed you to complete a task. Another reward is obviously seeing our apprentices grow into strong, capable and confident workers.

Tools and Technology

I was raised on click/clicks or bug wrenches. The introduction of impact wrenches rated for the work was amazing. As for new technology, the high press tools allowing for cutting and pressing without the use of our full body is a huge benefit. Our shoulders and elbows will be saved.

Future Plans

I recommend line work to anyone with a mechanical inclination. This career gave me purpose and still pushes me every day. I would absolutely choose this again if the choice was given.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!