Born in Billings, Montana.
Married for 50 years to Ginger, and they have six children, 20 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
His dad was a lineman, and he has a son, a son-in-law, a brother-in-law and two nephews who are journeyman linemen.
Enjoys photography and insulator collecting. Some of his insulators are displayed in the IBEW archives in Washington, D.C.l His favorite boss was his first boss, Burt Bohn, back in 1952. He also spent many wonderful years with Jim Williams.
When I was 17 years old, I worked in the Butte mile-deep Copper Mines as a miner and as a groundman. I followed my father into the line trade and worked construction in Montana. At one time, I was part of Williams Line Construction Inc. in Lewistown, Montana. I became the vice president, but line work was in my blood. After a few years in the office, I returned back to the field to work as a lineman. I've served as the foreman, general foreman and superintendent of many line jobs during my career.
In my state of Montana, linemen work in mountainous terrain, bitterly cold winters and in terrain where most people can't even walk. Most lines were originally built by hand and horse, and there are some lines in service today that were built in the early 1900s. When I first started working on the lines in the 1950s, I eventually became “a hand.” Montana was developing large-scale transmission projects. I learned all I could about stringing large conductor and setting large structures. I eventually became experienced on these types of jobs and supervised many transmission jobs.
I also did my share of distribution work. It seemed like my crew always landed the tough jobs requiring hot sticks. Due to the terrain, we could only get into the work site on foot, which made it a challenge. My crew and I always found a way to do the work efficiently and safely.
Fifty Years in the Union
I've been an IBEW member for 55 years. When I earned my 50-year IBEW pin at the Montana Lineman's Rodeo, I received a standing ovation, which made me very happy. Back in 1996, I was elected to attend the IBEW International Convention as a delegate from Local Union 44. I'm always involved in union issues and am working to make this world a better place to live.
Giving Back to the Trade
In my free time, I have volunteered to help train apprentices and build apprentice training facilities such as the Stan I. Dupree Training Center. I enjoy helping out apprentices and always treat them with respect.
Winning the Rodeo
At the age of 63, my teammates Bud DuPree (62) and Rocky Clark (44) and I won the construction division in the Montana Lineman's Rodeo. I then traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, and placed fifth in the 1999 International Linemen's Rodeo. My team also won the construction division in the Montana rodeo twice more, the latest in 2006.
Hall of Fame
Last September, I was the first Montana inductee to the International Lineman's Hall of Fame. Mike Glueckert and Fred Clark nominated me for doing difficult jobs efficiently and safely. Clark submitted a two-page letter to the International Lineman's Hall of Fame to nominate me for the award on behalf of IBEW Local 44. In the letter, he states, “Bob has made a significant contribution to the line industry, his fellow workers and the public. Bob serves as an inspiration to all of the industry in the intermountain west.”
Young at Heart
I'm 72 years old, yet I'm still working in the utility trade. I worked full time until I was 69 and then decided it was time to retire. Because I missed the work and camaraderie of the crews and our industry is facing a linemen shortage, I continued working. I worked 39 hours per month until February 2007. I'm now semi-retired, but still enjoy going out to help with storm work. In fact, I went to California in January 2008 on a storm job for PAR Electrical. I also still stay active in the local and International Lineman's Rodeo and have spent some of my weekends helping to build the rodeo grounds.