Five employees completed Bluebonnet’s apprentice program and became U.S. Department of Labor-certified journeyman linemen — from left, Blake Schramm, David Davis, Kendal Fiebrich, Garrett Gutierrez and Jeremy Lynch.
When Kendal Fiebrich applied to become an apprentice for Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative at age 19, he knew that linemen dig holes and set poles, but not much more about the job.
He has since learned how to work in the pitch-black during a severe storm, armed with a flashlight to locate downed power lines. He also spent four years learning how electricity works, how to build and safely repair power lines, and how to use dozens of pieces of equipment and machinery. Along with that, he has built a lifelong bond with fellow linemen.
WANT TO BECOME A LINEMAN?
Bluebonnet accepts applications for its U.S. Department of Labor Certified Apprentice Program on the first Tuesday of every month (and only on that day). Find applications and other career opportunities at bluebonnet.coop by clicking on Careers at the bottom of the any page.
SHOWCASING THEIR SKILLS
Apprentices are encouraged to participate in the Texas Lineman’s Rodeo, a competition in which they climb poles, make power line repairs and rescue a mannequin from atop a pole, all simulating skills they perform on the job. They compete on a field of poles and equipment that are not electrified.
Bluebonnet has sent apprentices to the annual event in Nolte Island Park in Seguin since 2004. Daniel Fritsche, a crew supervisor in Giddings, was among three apprentices who competed that year. He now serves as the apprentice coach and said those who compete are better climbers and tend to be more highly motivated to become linemen.
Kendal Fiebrich, a recent apprentice program graduate who was named top apprentice lineman at the 2014 rodeo, said participating in the competition has been just as important as going through the apprentice program. The events often reinforce what the apprentices are learning in the classroom and allow competitors to connect with those at other co-ops to compare notes on techniques and tools.
This year’s rodeo is set for July 15. Find details in the July issue of Texas Co-op Power magazine!
WIN A PRIZE!
Think you could be a lineman? Watch for pop quizzes on our Facebook page in April for your chance to win a set of leather gloves. Plus, Lineman Appreciation Day is April 18, so stay tuned for a special tribute to Bluebonnet’s linemen on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
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