Editor's Note: Years ago, I wrote a story called "Tales of Troublemen" for the annual Lineman Supplement. As I was working on a special issue of Lineman Life to celebrate Women's History Month and International Women's Day in March, I discovered a story about the first female troubleshooter at Eversource Massachusetts. The story, written by Kaitlyn Woods, the Social Media Manager at Eversource, is below. To see her photos, check out the photo gallery showing Tammy Pease on the job as a troubleshooter in downtown Boston.
At Eversource Massachusetts, the underground troubleshooters are the first to respond when there’s an issue on the electric system below ground. It’s tough work, often in even tougher conditions—and Tammy Pease loves it. She’d rather be outside tackling unique challenges in the field than sitting at a desk.
“I have a daughter and I know she looks to me to show her what’s possible—I’ve always told her that she can do anything,” said Pease, whose daughter also works in a male-dominated field taxiing commercial planes on the runway. “When I’m out in the field, women will give me the thumbs up and honk their horn because they’re excited to see a woman in a hard hat. It’s nice, but I’m just doing my job.”
Two years ago, faced with several possible paths for the next phase of her career, Pease decided to blaze a new trail. After completing the company's intensive 12-month apprenticeship program to train as an underground troubleshooter and inspector, she became the first woman in the company’s history to take and pass the 50-question qualifying exam—a combination of verbal and written questions, including drawing accurate diagrams of transformers. She got a perfect score.
“Her drawings were impeccable,” said Don Stirling, senior supervisor for Technical Training. “Tammy’s attention to detail is what sets her apart. She’s never satisfied with just learning how we do things—she wants to know why that’s how we do it.”
Earlier in her career, Pease climbed utility poles working as a service technician for BellSouth in Florida. She’s been working with the company's underground team at Massachusetts Avenue in Boston for more than a decade, starting as a “helper,” then earning her commercial driver’s license, and then her certification as an underground splicer.
“Tammy’s an independent thinker,” said Bob O’Loughlin, director for Electric System Operations. “She has a strong desire to conquer this job and be the best at it, and she’s well on her way.”
That’s critical because Pease’s team depends on her attention to detail to keep them safe. As an underground troubleshooter, her job is to identify the cause of an issue on the underground electric system, make the area safe for the crews who be conducting the repairs, and communicate how to complete the work as quickly and safely as possible.
“It is a lot of pressure—the people I work with are my second family,” she said. “The resources and training that I’ve received here at Eversource have set me up to succeed. Everyone has been so supportive throughout my training. We watch out for each other—we’re a team.”