San Diego Gas & Electric
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Married to Robin for 21 years and has two children, Broc and Emily.
Enjoys competing in triathlons, doing home improvement projects and working on cars.
Can't live without his Bible and laptop computer.
Likes working with apprentices because they want to learn and are eager to gain more knowledge.
Inspired by a lot of the fine people with whom he works.
I have worked at San Diego Gas & Electric for the 33 years. I started in the industry as a laborer on a gas crew installing gas mains and electric conduit. It was great to be outside, work with heavy equipment, and do hard physical labor. I felt great at the end of each day. In 1980, I became an apprentice, and three years later, I topped out as a journeyman lineman. I am now an electric construction manager.
Family History of Line Work
My father was a lineman for Manitoba Hydro, and he came to San Diego from Winnipeg. He was an excellent lineman, and I wanted to uphold his reputation. He also served as my sounding board about issues in the line trade.
Day in the Life
My team includes 42 linemen, half a dozen apprentices and seven supervisors. I work primarily with my superintendents, who supervise the work in the field. Our crews are now working on a 12-kV cutover as well as our corrective-maintenance program.
From a young age, I knew I wanted to work as a lineman. In fact, when I was 10 years old, I put on tools, went out into my backyard and climbed poles.
Later on, when I got into the trade, my dad was cheering me on. In fact, just before he died, I told him what an honor it was to follow in his footsteps. I remember he said, “You've done good, kid.” I'll always treasure those words.
I remember working on the fire storms back in 2003 and 2007. In 2007, I had overall responsibility of our base camp as well as the remote location where we were working. We worked for 16 hours a day for a month to restore service. Our linemen did an outstanding job.
Another time, I was called by Pacific Gas & Electric to go up to Yosemite for a late snowstorm. The snow was extremely wet and heavy, and huge pine trees peeled open and then fell over onto homes. I went up with five line crews, and we worked there for a week. By the end, we had the entire Cedar Valley restored, and we didn't have one injury. For that, we were pleased and thankful.
I also will never forget a rain storm that came through here in 1987. As we were sitting over the hill, the sky turned blacker and blacker. I worked for 48 hours straight, and it was the longest stretch I've ever worked. I was completely beat. By working long hours, however, we were able to restore power after high winds toppled trees on top of wires.
I had a near-miss on March 5, 1985. We had a cutting tool on the end of a hot stick. The aluminum casting that held the tool in place had fractured. The tool fell out of the stick onto two opposite phase jumpers on the cable pole. It resulted in an explosion and a whole lot of heat. As a result, I was badly burned.
I've not only experienced the importance of safety firsthand, but I've also become involved in the safety program at my company. SDG&E's behavioral incident review process has removed the adverse relationship that existed for so long during traditional accident investigations.
When it was my turn to do the incident review, I reviewed 175 different incidents, and we had complete and total success in every review. The people would speak freely, give constructive feedback and help us to prevent the incident from happening again. We try to benefit from their perspective and learn from them, because they are ones closest to the risk. Rather than us telling them what to do differently, instead, we enable them to tell us.
Plans for the Future
In the future, I want to continue to do the best job I can, provide value to the company and work in a role that benefits everyone.