Steve Mitnick is President of Lines Up, Inc., Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly, and author of “Lines Down: How We Pay, Use, Value Grid Electricity Amid the Storm.”
When we go inside, to shelter from a storm, they go outside, to sustain our shelters. When we hunker down till the worst is over, they hold down the fort and put together the pieces of our infrastructure that nature tore apart. Whether it's a spring flood, a summer fire, a fall hurricane or a winter snow, the utility workforce goes all out, while we suspend our daily schedules.
Our partner in telling some of their stories, of the utility workforce, was the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Everybody calls them the IBEW for short. The union for utility employees in the field, in the power plants, in the control rooms and more, gave the PUF team the honor to talk with leaders of two IBEW Districts, one in the mountain west and one in the mid-Atlantic, leaders of two IBEW Locals, one in the mountain west and one in the southeast, a linemen training expert, and two directors at International headquarters in Washington, D.C. These seven sure had a lot of inspiring stories to tell as evidenced in the following.
And if you were wondering why they do it, why the lineman braves the elements, and sometimes drives the truck across states to join the fight, read on. It'll be easy to see then that they are truly the passion of power.
Saluting the IBEW and Utility Workforce conversations:
- Jerry Bellah, VP for the IBEW Eighth District (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming)
- Donnie Colston, IBEW Utility Director and Mark Brueggenjohann, Media Director
- Drew Stover, Business Manager for IBEW Local 84 (Atlanta)
- Virgil Melton, Curriculum Specialist at the Electrical Training Alliance
- Kris Anderson, Representative for the IBEW Third District (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
- Rich Meisinger, Business Manager for IBEW Local 111 (Denver)