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Line Worker Appreciation Month

April is Line Worker Appreciation Month, so we are profiling just some of IREA’s dedicated, indispensable line workers.

We will be adding to this page throughout April, so check back for more profiles, and be sure to visit our social media channels – @IREAColorado on Twitter, IntermountainREA on Facebook and Instagram, and Intermountain Rural Electric Association on LinkedIn – for additional Line Worker Appreciation Month content!

Paul Nicodin, Journeyman Lineman, Woodland Park

Paul Nicodin got into line work at the urging of his girlfriend’s family.

“Her grandfather was on the board of directors at their local co-op and knew I would like the type of work,” he says. “I had never even heard of line work, but after I researched the trade, I knew it was something I would be interested in doing.”

Paul enrolled in the first available line school class.

Now, as a Journeyman Lineman, his favorite part of the job is “getting out into the community and helping make our system better for the consumers” and “restoring a big outage during a storm.” He also enjoys the variety of the job: “Every day, every pole, you find something different.”

The most challenging part of the job, Paul says, is keeping up with the new tools, equipment and skills.

“You can learn how to build a job one way, and then the next day build it in a completely different way but still get the same end result. Everyone has a way to do the work. As long as it is safe, you can learn all sorts of ways to complete the job.”

Paul says individuals who are self-motivated and have a love of the outdoors are especially suited for the trade. Willingness to learn and work with others also helps.

He advises those interested in line work to enroll in a line school and apply to work wherever they can.

“Be willing to travel. Get into the trade and work. That experience will help you land [your] dream job sometime in the future.”

Heath McCoy, Journeyman Lineman, Sedalia

Heath McCoy was a “starving salesman” in the homebuilding industry during the housing crash of 2008 when he considered a career in line work. His father had worked for Minnesota Power as a staking engineer, but Heath knew very little about the trade when he entered line school at the age of 21.

“Joining the trade was the best career move I have made thus far,” he says.

Though there occasionally are challenges such as periods of sleep deprivation during emergency work, customers’ gratitude when power is restored and the camaraderie and brotherhood within the trade are part of what makes line work worthwhile for Heath.

He says strong problem-solving skills; knowledge of electrical current, voltage and resistance; and the ability to work outdoors in all types of weather conditions are key to success within the trade.

His advice to those considering a career in line work is that which he received early on: “Finish toward the top of your line school class and don’t miss a single day of class.”

Zach Reynolds, Apprentice Lineman, Bennett

A good friend convinced Zach Reynolds to get into line work. He enrolled in line school and “never looked back.”

Though repairs and other work during storms and other adverse weather conditions are a consistent challenge, Zach enjoys the “brotherhood” that comes with line work.

“Few can do this job,” he says. “So there is a mutual respect amongst those who keep the lights on.”

Mechanical aptitude and a love of the outdoors are two key traits for line work, Zach says. He advises prospective line workers to “humble yourself, [and] show up prepared to work and learn.”

Chad Steiner, Journeyman Lineman/Working Foreman, Sedalia

Chad Steiner had friends and family – including his grandfather and great-grandfather – in the trade before he entered it.

Now, as a Journeyman Lineman and Working Foreman, he most enjoys working with good coworkers and the gratification of helping the public.

Challenges such as “calls in the middle of the night” are to be expected, and “you have to switch gears on a whim.”

Those with the willingness to listen and learn are best suited for line work, Chad says, and it helps to take pride in your work and skills, but also have some humbleness.

He recommends those interested in the trade “have an overall plan – where you want to start, how you want to accomplish the goal of finishing your apprenticeship.”

IREA's board of directors has approved changes to the association's rates and regulations that will go into effect in September. For additional info, visit our Rate Redesign page.
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