JordanChene Pacific Gas and Electric

Spotlight on the Line Trade: Jordan Chené of Pacific Gas & Electric Company

Pursuing a career in line work is one of the best decisions Jordan Chené has ever made, and he plans to continue working in the trade to master his craft.

  • Born in Bakersfield, California, and grew up in Orange County.
  • Has four siblings including an older sister, two younger sisters and one younger brother.
  • Married to his wife, Natalie, and has a six-year-old daughter named Elise and a four-year-old daughter named Maddison.
  • Enjoys golfing, camping and going to the beach or swimming in the ocean with his family.
  • Competes in many Lineman’s Rodeos across the country. His journeyman team placed first at the 2018 International Lineman’s Rodeo. 

Early Years
My road to entering the power utility industry began in 2010. After graduating from high school, I saw only one path to earn a good living and support a family—go to college. I pursued a degree in finance with an emphasis in accounting at Cal Poly Pomona, but I wasn’t passionate about it.  

Over a Christmas break from college, I spoke with a family friend who worked as a lineman for Southern California Edison. He explained the role of a lineman, the prestige of working in the trade and the pride shared by all linemen. I was immediately enthralled. The next day he took me out to an empty field with a row of power poles and tossed me a set of hooks. He chuckled as I attempted to climb as well as a baby giraffe. I was hooked. I stopped going to college that week and enrolled in a trade school for line work in East Los Angeles. The rest is history.

Learning the Trade
Throughout my apprenticeship at Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), I had the opportunity to spend a number of months working in the general construction transmission department. I enjoyed learning different aspects of the trade and acquiring new skills in order to become a better more well-rounded lineman. For example, I worked on a 230 kV lattice tower raise in which we used helicopters to re-insulate and re-conductor with 1113 ACSS.

Day in the Life
As a  journeyman lineman for PG&E and a member through IBEW Local 1245, I am responsible for maintenance jobs including changing out deteriorated or failed pieces of equipment. To improve the safety and reliability of PG&E’s electrical system, I change out insulators, connectors, cross arms, transformers and power poles. In addition, I respond to emergency restoration projects ranging from old failed equipment to storm damage to cars hitting power poles. Restoring power to our customers in a safe and timely manner is the priority.

Challenges and Rewards
One of the biggest challenges to working as a journeyman lineman can be the copious amount of time spent at work away from family. At times it can also be very challenging doing work, which is already hazardous, in adverse weather conditions. The most rewarding part of being a journeyman lineman is restoring power to our customers after they have sustained an outage. There are few things more gratifying than a grateful customer simply taking the time to come out and say thank you for our hard work.

Memorable Storm
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, I helped Florida Power & Light to restore power. For four weeks, I worked from West Palm Beach to Tampa, Florida. It was humbling to experience the strength and power of this storm firsthand. The rain and wind were unlike anything I had ever seen. I had never experienced such grateful and appreciative customers.  On multiple occasions, they brought us hot meals to express their gratitude. It was an experience I will never forget and would volunteer to lend a helping hand again in a heartbeat.

Tools and Technology
For the first couple years of my career in the powerline industry we had very few battery or power operated tools. We mainly used ratcheting cutters and repetitive motion tools. After PG&E rolled out its ergonomic tool initiative, I have seen an incredible increase in battery-operated tools, which make my job safer and more efficient and will allow me to enjoy a longer and more productive career.  

Life as a Lineman
Finding this trade and becoming a journeyman lineman were the best decisions I have ever made.  I could not imagine being in any other career field or doing anything else for a living. Being a journeyman lineman in the power industry is much more than a job or career, it is a way of life. I enjoy going to work each and every day. Looking forward, I can expect my passion for the powerline industry and the trade to continue for many years to come. 

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