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Spotlight on the Line Trade: Ryan Cormier of Entergy Louisiana

Ryan Cormier of Entergy Louisiana loves the challenge of line work.

  • Grew up in the country as the youngest of three boys.
  • Married to his wife, Charlotte, and has a daughter, Aida Beth, and a son, Cooper.
  • Is the first lineman in his family but comes from a long line of rice farmers on both of his parents’ sides.
  • Participated in tie-down calf roping in high school and team roping in college.
  • Enjoys deer hunting, duck hunting and fishing. He also likes LSU football and professional ice hockey.
  • Can’t live without a trusty pair of Kleins, impact drills and battery-operated presses, hot work gloves and Gore-Tex lined EH lineman boots.

Early Years
I grew up doing farm work and at an early age, I learned how to use a shovel and post-hole diggers, drive tractors, operate equipment and build fences. My dad and I spent countless hours together working cows, training horses and rodeoing all over the state of Louisiana. When I got to college, one of my closest friends was going through an apprenticeship at Entergy. He often talked about how rewarding the trade was, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized a career working outdoors with my hands and my mind was right up my alley. 

Day in the Life
I’m currently a 4th class lineman in Entergy Louisiana’s Southwest region. I’m learning my craft and becoming proficient at it. In my current role, I help construct and maintain distribution power lines and assist 1st class linemen in troubleshooting. In our network, we do everything from overhead to underground to even network. On a typical day, I load poles and materials and construct lines for a job.  I also get a lot of time to train in a bucket, but under the close supervision of a 1st class lineman. We don’t have to climb poles very often, but I jump at the opportunity every chance I get.

Life as a Lineman
In the utility industry, the biggest challenge is that you’re a utility employee 24/7, 365. When I took this job, it was clear to me the demands and sacrifices that must be made. You have to do hard things like miss birthdays and holidays, and your young kids may think you live at work. The most rewarding aspect is your family being well provided for. The time away makes the time you get to spend with family, friends and doing things you love that much more special. I have been married to my wife for three years, and she is my rock. I couldn’t do this job without her. When I’m working long hours, she keeps up the home, takes care of the kids and makes sure I have everything I need to be refueled and rested when I finally make it home. Her sacrifice is just as great as mine.

Safety Lesson
During my first day in the line department, a safety specialist sat me down in his office and read from a book of recorded accidents. It put the fear of God in me and instilled a great respect in me for not only electricity, but all hazards that could come with the job, including an energized conductor on the ground or moving heavy equipment. 

Memorable Storm
I will never forget going to North Carolina to support restoration efforts following Hurricane Florence. I was on a truck with my buddy who inspired me to seek a career as a lineman. Also, the people in North Carolina were so appreciative of everything we did. Their appreciation gave me a real sense of satisfaction in the work we were doing. It didn’t matter that we had to bunk in 18-wheeler trailers for a few nights or that I had to climb a pole or just work my tail off. You forget all that when you see those smiling faces.

Future Plans
If I could do it over again, I would have gone to a lineman college right out of high school. This industry isn’t for everybody, but it’s definitely for me. I’ve never received this much satisfaction daily from an occupation. I’m not going to say every day is great, but the good definitely outweighs the bad. You really must be multi-faceted for this job. You must be a truck driver, equipment operator and a safety specialist all on top of being a lineman. I love the challenge. My plans for the immediate future are to complete my apprenticeship and gain that lineman 1st class title. After I’ve made that achievement, I’m going to see where the path takes me. I enjoy teaching this craft to the guys coming up behind me, especially those who are hungry for knowledge and skill. That being said, a training position could pique my interest in the future; but right now, it’s hard seeing myself doing anything other than working on a crew. 

Attention linemen: Do you know of a lineman who we should profile in Lifeline? Email Amy Fischbach, Field Editor, with his or her name, title and contact information, and he or she may be featured in a future department within the Electric Utility Operations section of Transmission & Distribution World magazine. 

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