Lineman Appreciation Day: Celebrating workers who are essential to SENC’s growing infrastructure
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Monday, April 18, is Lineman Appreciation Day— and whether you realize it or not, linemen perform one of the nation’s most important jobs.
Electrical linemen quite literally help power our everyday lives by keeping the electricity flowing to our homes and businesses. They also serve as first responders when hurricanes strike and cause thousands of outages.
“Hurricane season is a very busy time for us with the outages coming in,” said Bryan Gore, who serves as a lineman for Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation. “We’ll get crews in to help our guys and we are just wide open until we get all the lights back on.”
But the work doesn’t stop when hurricane season blows by. There are all sorts of things that need installation and maintenance to support basic infrastructure, such as overhead power lines, underground substations, transmission towers and high voltage transmission lines.
Plus, the electric growth of Brunswick County creates a perfect storm to keep Gore busy. His work typically includes jobs like setting meters on new houses and installing new service hookups. With so many homes being built in Brunswick County, Gore has been busy.
“We are wide open all day, every day that is for sure,” Gore said. “Brunswick County is a very fast-growing county.”
That growth, however, means there are more homes, more stores, and more businesses that need electricity, which means more linemen are needed.
“People are going to continue to sell their homes in the northern part of the country, they’re going to continue to relocate here,” said Greg Bland, Brunswick Community College Vice President of Continuing Edu., Economic & Workforce Development. “Building permits have never been higher and so when these folks come down, they want their home finished on time, they want to eat at a restaurant that’s available and ready, and they want the hospitality to be there, and they want their retail shopping to be there, and they want healthcare to be there — all of that stuff depends on electrical infrastructure.”
That’s why Brunswick Community College established a 10-week Electrical Lineman course in collaboration with Brunswick Electric to fill the growing need.
“I think in North Carolina alone over the next few years there will probably be vacancies and room for an extra 1,200 folks to join that workforce,” Bland said.
It’s already sparking interest in the next generation. Last week, the college had six new graduates launch their careers.
However, the training doesn’t stop there.
“It is a dangerous job, we do a lot of training, a lot of safety training — years of experience, you know, of training and moving up,” Gore said. “We have a lot of good equipment, lot of personal protective equipment to keep us safe.”
While it can be hard, dangerous work, Gore said the best part of his job is getting people’s lights back on after a storm.
“My favorite part of the job is getting people’s lights on during storms,” he said. “It’s very rewarding, you know, when people’s lights are off to be able to get it back on.”
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