The above javascript is used to send anonymous usage data to Google Analytics. Knowledge is power: Becoming a Walton EMC lineman - Walton EMC

Knowledge is power: Becoming a Walton EMC lineman

The skill and knowledge of Walton EMC’s linemen play a critical role in keeping the power flowing along more than 7,300 miles of electricity distribution lines.

These professionals work with thousands of volts of electricity while constructing, maintaining and repairing overhead and underground power lines and electrical systems. They often labor in rain, snow, darkness, extreme cold and heat to continue the co-op’s legacy of delivering safe, reliable electricity. One mistake could mean injury or death.

“Line work is an inherently hazardous profession. Without the proper training, it becomes dangerous,” said Wesley Payton, Walton EMC’s superintendent in Snellville.

This is why Walton EMC’s lineman training program is challenging by design. Trainees must commit to an intensive, seven-year course of on-the-job education to earn the title of journeyman lineman.

“We ask a lot of the guys that get in the program here because they are the future linemen at Walton EMC. Our customer-owners depend on us to keep the lights on!” said Greg Pannell, superintendent for the co-op’s Monroe and Watkinsville locations.

Trainees participate in classroom instruction, independent study and hands-on work experience. They must earn several certifications, pass a battery of tests and demonstrate a mastery of skills in electrical grid construction and maintenance to advance through training.

“The goal of our program is to train a well-rounded, safety-minded lineman who can handle any situation given, from normal daily linework to major storm outages,” Pannell said.

After successfully completing the training program, the new journeyman lineman is qualified to supervise upcoming trainees. Even then, his own education isn’t complete.

Every Walton EMC lineman trains throughout their career to build on skills and safety knowledge. “Good training promotes safety, and safety must be our first priority always,” Pannell said.