Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 21 NO. 9  -  September 2018

Interviewing the linemen


How many classes do you take a year on average?
“We take about six-ten classes a year with monthly safety meetings and one workshop in the winter for three days.  We have also taken leadership classes.”

What is the most useful thing you have learned from those classes?
“That safety is a priority.”

Have you ever gotten injured on the job?
“I broke my ankle from a pole falling on it,” says John. “I broke my big toe on the job,” says Chuck.

What kind of thing do you guys work on daily?
“We work on overhead, underground, maintenance, outages and tree cutting.”

Have you ever been a traveling lineman?
Cody has been a traveling lineman, and John has worked in the cities for a while before.

Would you rather work in the cold winter weather or in the hot summer weather?
Cody says he would rather work in the cold winter weather. Chuck says neither. He would rather have the spring and fall.  John says he would rather work in the summer weather.

How do you prepare your equipment before working?
“We do a daily inspection and make sure everything is adequate.”

Why do you choose to be a lineman with North Itasca Electric?
“To get back close to home,” says Chuck. “I started out in the warehouse knowing that this position was going to become available and I wanted to stay close to home and raise a family,” says John.

Tell me about a time when you had to troubleshoot a problem?
Cody says, “I was trenching across the lake, the chain in the trencher broke so I had to try to fish it out.” John says, “We had to go to a storm outage, the line was burning and crystalized the ground into lava.”

What words of wisdom would you give linemen who are just starting out?
“The job can be satisfying,” says Chuck. “Watch everything you do and be as safe as possible, don’t take any short cuts and look out for one another,” says John.  “Take your time, double check everything and be safe,” says Jerry.

What kind of safety wear do you use?
“We wear helmets, fire retardant clothing, safety harnesses, rubber sleeves, saw chaps.”

What is your favorite part about this job?
“All the thanks that we get from the members,” say Chuck and Cody. “I really enjoy the power outages because it gives me a rush,” says John.

What is the most challenging thing about this job?
“The hardest part is the long hours,” says Chuck. “Being on call when I get home,” says John.

Have you ever been afraid of heights? If so how did you get over your fear?
Cody and Chuck say no. John says, “I was afraid of heights but then I just got used to it.”

What would you say is the biggest danger in your job?
“Being electrocuted and dying is the biggest danger,” says everyone.

Return to the September 2018 Issue