• Born in Middleburg, New York.
• Is the first person in his family to be a lineman.
• Enjoys hunting white-tailed deer and turkeys, and fishing.
• His coworkers would describe him as hard working and dedicated.
• Can't live without personal protective equipment, such as his rubber gloves.
• His favorite project was working with two experienced foremen to do clearance work on a 115-kV transmission line in Clifton Park, New York.
• Considers keeping the lights on for customers and meeting new people the most rewarding parts of his job.
• As a journeyman, he tries to always keep a level head and his eyes open, and to always do his job safely.
I started out as a meter reader for National Grid in April 2001. In this role, I read electric and gas meters for residential and business customers. Two years later, I entered the apprenticeship program. I had some good friends who were linemen and others who were heading in that direction. I considered it one of the top jobs in the company, so I also applied.
I topped out five-and-a-half years later in 2008, and I've loved working as a lineman. I enjoy working outdoors, and I've loved every aspect of it.
Day in the Life
My day starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. I work with a foreman with 33 years of experience, and we set poles and upgrade and repair our infrastructure. Right now, we're focusing on maintenance work because a lot of our poles were installed back in 1935 and 1936. We're trying to make our grid stronger and more reliable.
Last year, Hurricane Irene caused a lot of tree and water damage to my hometown, which was wiped out. I couldn't go down and help except for on weekends, because I was restoring power on Long Island, New York, at that time. Many homes were destroyed and only a few buildings were still standing.
In my view, the most significant challenge for our linemen is trying to help people following an automotive accident or house fire. We are on the road a lot, and we see a lot of car accidents. It makes you a better driver and more aware of your surroundings.
One night, my crew was replacing a transformer and as a lineman was closing the fuses, he wasn't picking up anything. Meanwhile, the passersby were yelling at us to help with an accident 3 miles down the road. When we pulled up, the fire truck had just rolled in, and we learned that a drunk driver had hit a utility pole. The vehicle struck the embarkment, broke the pole in two spots and was hanging from the power pole.
The accident happened after a man picked up his daughter from school and was heading home. When we arrived, the little girl's car seat was hanging from the seat belt, and she was strapped safely inside. When the fireman opened the truck's door to let her out, her kindergarten books fell on the road. I'll never forget her name: Angel. Thankfully, both the man and his daughter survived. The truck and the power pole, however, suffered extensive damage.
At National Grid, you work as a helper for six months and then spend a year as an A, then a B, then a C lineman. Finally, you become a hot-stick lineman after you have completed all the in-house training.
Hot-sticking is very rewarding, but it's a challenge to work at the end of an 8-ft stick. We primarily use hot-sticking on getaways in substations and also on distribution poles. We have kept the power on by hot-sticking 34.5 kV.
Plans for the Future
In my company, it's everyone's dream to do hot-stick work and someday advance to a foreman. I'd like to do the same. I never will be an office worker, and plan to be a lineman until I die. It's the most rewarding job anyone could ever have.