- Lives in Grain Valley, Missouri and trains at the Cedar Point Training Center.
- Started in the trade after being a walk-on for a Boot Camp.
- In his second year of his lineworker apprenticeship program.
- Has pride in his work, is always punctual, has a good attitude and works well with others.
- Just learned how to operate tools to find and locate underground faults. This technology will save time locating the problem and expedite power restoration.
- Enjoys spending time with his three daughters: twin 13-year-olds and a four-year-old “Mini Me.” They do home activities, play, take walks, ride bikes and go bow hunting and fish on the lake.
Inspiration to Work in the Trade
I became interested in line work from a few buddies of mine who are lineworkers. They talked about the work they do, ethics, pride, workmanship and the community that comes with being a line brother. They also shared their experiences of giving to others by getting lights and power back on to families. After talking with them, they kept nudging me to leave my career as a superintendent carpenter and start this new career in becoming a lineworker. They believed I would make a good fit with my work ethic and would be able to provide a better life for my three daughters.
Practicing New Skills
I am now learning about transformer banks, switching, covering and working in the minimum approach distance. I am always trying to do better work by following the idea, “If you don’t know, ask,” and realizing that there is more than one way to safely get the work done. We are always honing our pole setting skills, work practices, climbing, and situational awareness to keep ourselves and our coworkers safe.
Look Inside the Training Center
We have a top-notch training crew at our Cedar Point training facility. We have a pole barn where we can climb, work on terminations, make up elbows and practice splicing. We can simulate hot work on single-phase and three-phase on 35-ft poles set within the barn. As we move outside, we have a climbing yard and a transformer area for working on and building banks and making up pots. We also have an underground area for doing switches and finding faults with the equipment. Inside, we have a classroom set up for teachers and student learning, hands-on simulators, book work and testing.
Learning on the Job
My day-to-day job at this time is loading material and poles, using digger derricks and augers to set poles and transferring three-phase or single-phase from old poles to new ones. Right now, I’m working in a small town upgrading and improving the line. Our two crews are made up of a leadman, journeyman and an apprentice. Sometimes, we team up and work together and other times, we break off and do individual crew tasks. My daily work is second nature from the training we get at Cedar Point. We familiarize ourselves with running equipment and picking, loading and unloading poles. This training makes the start to the day flow safely. Having the training and simulating hot work in the yard has given us the confidence to do the work safely and properly in the field.
Apprentices today have access to better equipment, and they can learn and grow with more types of tools and technology. In the past, they usually had a one-way track, and now, journeymen and lead men give apprentices the opportunity to look over prints, talk about the job and even give perspective and ideas about the work at hand. By allowing us to step in and be part of a job from the beginning, it helps with confidence. It is also a way of teaching leadership and good habits to pistole in apprentices with the idea that one day, we will be journeymen and lead men teaching apprentices. By changing the training and setting forth the respect and good work ethic that apprentices are show today will maintain that and keep that for future years to come.
Over a year ago, I had the honor of working a storm and tornado that blew through Overland Park, Kansas. Poles snapped, wire was down, power was out for blocks and many homes were damaged. We worked to safely assess the area, set new poles, and pull up primary wire. We also installed new three-phase and/or spliced new secondaries back together to get the lights back on. We coordinated with multiple crews and contractors to get the work completed as soon and as safely as possible for our customers. I’ll never forget when we got the lights on a little after 3 a.m. At that moment, we could hear cheering, clapping and praises of thank you in the silence of the night. The families just needed some hope that life was going to get back to normal. It was one of the most humbling, heartfelt emotions I have ever felt, and it filled my heart with so much joy.
Spotlight on Safety
I keep myself safe and the crew who I’m working with safe by sticking with the plan or regrouping if the plan changes. At the beginning of each job, we fill out a safety tailgate, which identifies the task at hand and what we will do to complete that set task to get the job finished safely. We also note dangerous obstacles and what to keep your eyes looking out for. You must have your head on a swivel. It is always very important to keep safety first when doing your work. There is no excuse for putting safety second. There is always a way to do your work and complete your job safely. Everyone’s goal needs to be to end his or her day the same way he or she started it: safely and at home.
Life in the Line Trade
Line work is amazing. It’s awesome to see a line go up, and the feeling you get when you drive by it years later, knowing you built that. Being a lineworker is a honor. We are our own heroes, and if things go astray, we save ourselves. It’s an honor to work next to someone who believes in pride, doing good safe work, and that we always have each other’s back. My favorite part of being a lineworker is knowing that I am working with some great people, building lifelong bonds and friendship. I’m a part of something bigger than any one individual. I’m a part of a community of honest, prideful, hardworking men and women.
I see myself in five to 10 years being a leadman for my company. I enjoy doing line work and I also enjoy helping others learn and grow. To reach this, I’m going to keep on my path of doing great schoolwork, hands on testing, and continue to soak up and retain the knowledge that’s being shown to me every day. I also plan to continue to show up on time and do great work in the field.