Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 3, 2013

An up-close, real-life look

TVEC teaches students the skills and dangers of its craft

Jeff Riggs
The Athens Review

ATHENS — Cold morning winds did not discourage students from several schools who attended a demonstration known as Career Day and Lineman Rodeo, performed by Trinity Valley Electric Co-op personnel Friday.

Jeff Jordan, communications coordinator for TVEC, said the first-ever event for their company answered the challenges currently faced by companies that employee linemen.

“It was a recruiting effort on our part,” he said. “It’s not just with us, but other companies.  There is projected to be a shortage in the next five to 10 years.  A lot of our linemen have been here for 20-plus years.”

Jordan, who was not able to attend the event, said line work can be a very “rewarding career.”

“I hope the students that came had a good time,” Jordan said.

Bobbi Byford, chief communications officer for TVEC, said there were about 67 youths at the event.  Students attended from independent school districts in Athens, Cross Roads, Eustace, Malakoff and Crandall.   Officials say TVEC presented the same program to Kaufman Independent School District on Thursday.

Byford told the crowd that in 1890, “Linemen were known as just people putting up poles and stringing wires.”

“Between 1890 and 1930, people began to see the skills needed for the job of linemen and the dangers involved,” Byford said.

Byford said that at this event, techniques for repairing downed power lines was demonstrated, as well as charging a transformer and setting the wooden poles. There was also a demonstration of how a mannequin representing a hurt man stuck near the top of a pole can be rescued.

 A quick climber also climbed up and down a 30-foot pole in 16 seconds.