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ESMO 2019: Q&A With Ed Hunt

Nov. 13, 2018
Ed Hunt of Western Area Power Administration is one of the panel chairs for the ESMO conference.

ESMO 2019 attracts utility professionals from more than 40 countries for a four-day program. The event includes two days of outdoor field demonstrations and exhibits and a two-day technical program, which also includes an indoor exhibit area. 

By attending the conference,  which is slated for June 24-27, 2019, attendees can learn how to build, operate and maintain power-delivery systems. Here is a Q&A with Ed Hunt of Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), one of the panel chairs for the conference. He is leading a panel session on alternatives to climbing T-line structures. 

Q: Talk about your education and background.

A: I graduated from Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado, in 1978. I did a bit of college night classes, but that wasn’t for me. I also spent a few years of hard labor in construction and then landed a job as a groundman for the City of Longmont, Colorado. I topped out as a journeyman lineman while working on distribution for the city, and I worked for them until 1992. I started with Western Area Power Administration ( WAPA) in 1992 as a journeyman lineman and then became a foreman II in 1996. In 2003, I landed my present position as a foreman III.

Q: How did you get interested in a career in the energy industry?

A: Actually I knew nothing more about electricity than when you flip the switch, the lights came on. I was looking for a job that didn’t require constant travel. I saw the groundman position in the paper, and I thought why not? and I applied, interviewed and landed the job. The funny thing was when they offered me the job, I thought I was still going to mow the parks since the job title was a "groundman." I got a wake up call, but I loved every minute of being a lineman. 

Q:  What are your favorite and most challenging parts of your job right now?

A:  I really appreciate and enjoy being a part of such a great and challenging career. I learn something new from the guys every day.

Q: What is the working title for your session? 

A: The session will be called, "Alternatives to Climbing T-Line Structures."

Q: What can attendees expect to learn about this topic?

A: After the 100% attachment rule from OSHA, there was a big push to learn and educate the industry on how to comply with the rule. WAPA sponsored several symposiums on the subject over the years. So when we were looking for topics for ESMO, we started with fall protection. Because I thought we had ridden that horse into the ground, I thought we should look at alternatives so you don't have to climb. 

Q: Who are the panelists, and what criteria are you using to select them?

A: At present, we have WAPA presenting on Human External Cargo (HEC) longline with the Helicopter and Tri-State Generation and Transmission presenting on rope access. Both utilities have used both methods successfully as alternatives to traditional climbing as a way to access work locations at heights.

I would love to find a third utility or contractor who is doing something different. If anyone knows of a company that would like to join us on the panel, email me, and we can discuss it. 

Q: Why is this topic important to the industry?

A: The OSHA compliance has made it more time consuming and cumbersome to access heights, and I think people would like to see some alternatives.

Q. What will be different or special about your session?

If all works out, what we talk about at the panel session, we will demonstrate in the field. I haven’t ironed all the logistics out yet, but that’s my hope. I guarantee we will have the best and most attended presentation at ESMO.

Q: What goes into planning a session for ESMO?

A: There have been many steering committee meetings between EEE ESMOL, AEP and others to come up with a one-of-kind, awesome agenda. As far as the panel sessions go, we have to make contacts and basically organize our sessions.

Q: Why should people attend ESMO and your session? Who do you think would benefit?

A: Anyone that has anything to do with transmission climbing would enjoy attending. The distribution guys would probably like to see what goes on also. As for ESMO, anyone in the electric utilities or contractors will learn something new by attending.

Q: What’s the most important thing you can impart to the readers about your session at ESMO?

A: Climbing structures is such an important and huge part of our job that seeing something different will be of great interest. Plus we have fun doing it!

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