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When the Lights Go Out, So Do The NEC's Linemen!

By: Nick Shealy & Debra Shaw

We would like to take a moment and recognize our linemen and operations department, here at Newberry Electric Cooperative, Inc. We have two construction crews at NEC that report to Senior Line Foreman Benji Morris, and Vice President of Operation Nick Shealy. The first crew consists of Crew Foreman Garrett Felker, Lead Lineman Cody Page, First Class Lineman Austin Fulmer, 3rd Year Apprentice Hunter Black, and 1st year apprentice Hogan Sanders. The second crew has Crew Foreman Chip Moore, Lead Lineman Dakota Smith, 4th Year Apprentice Chandlor Williams, 1st Year Apprentice JR Fulmer, and Equipment Operator Jarrett Waites.

These men handle all of NEC’s new construction, both overhead and underground, as well as maintain our power grid to ensure reliable service to our membership. They brave all kinds of weather and work all times of the day and night to provide exemplary service to our membership, many times in dangerous situations. In addition to helping other cooperatives across the state in times of need, they also travel to other states to assist with power restoration when inclement weather such as tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms cause widespread outages and emergency situations. They have traveled as far as Louisiana, including the states of Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and North Carolina.

Additionally, our Linemen go through countless hours of training to ensure safe work practices are always being followed. They are required to complete a four-year training program through Northwest Lineman College, but it takes approximately 5 years of training and education to become a First Class Lineman after starting a lineman position at the co-op. Not only that, but our linemen are always taking on new challenges, as NEC is an active participant in The Statewide Lineman Rodeo where our Linemen get to compete against other Linemen in the state to show off their skills and gain comradery with their peers.

Alongside our power linemen, NEC has a Fiber Department, under Vice president of Operational Support Stephanie Sullivan. The men in this department consist of Michael Harp, Senior Line Forman/Locator, Crew Foreman Daniel Hesson, and Fiber Tech Caleb Black. This department is in charge of NEC’s fiber backbone, and our fiber-to-home project with Carolina Connect. These guys help in power restoration when needed, too.

Lastly, is our Engineering Department headed by Vice President of Engineering Kevin Shull. This Department consists of Meter Tech and former First Class Lineman David Longshore, Staking Tech and Former Line Foreman Michael Livingston, Engineering Tech Alex Brandt, and Warehouse/Purchasing Teo Rivas. Our Engineering Department, having previous experience in line work, is also instrumental in power restoration during storms here at NEC.

Debra Shaw, VP of member, public and government relations, says, “I have a lot of respect for our linemen. They often leave their families behind to help restore power for ours. They certainly don’t get near the respect they deserve. Utility workers have a dangerous job, that is rated by The Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States.”

Our linemen are on call 24 hours a day/365 days of the year. They stand ready to respond at any given time. They are our heroes and live by the motto, “When the lights go out, so do we!” We encourage everyone to thank their linemen whenever given to the opportunity, as they truly power our community in many ways.


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