As the old saying goes, “nothing worth having comes easy.” This old saying certainly applies to the cooperative’s newest journeyman linemen, Scott Strange and Brandon Bambusch. At a ceremony held at French Lick Springs Resort on Oct. 20, both men received their diplomas and certificates that designate them as journeyman linemen.
The ceremony was held to recognize the hard work, dedication and sacrifice needed to complete the four-year apprenticeship, otherwise known as HEATS. The Hoosier Energy Apprenticeship Training and Safety Program (HEATS) requires four years of study, about 576 hours in class, and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. After completion of the program, the individuals receive a journeyman lineman certificate and an associate degree in applied science from Ivy Tech Community College. Hoosier Energy began managing this program in 1974, on behalf of the distribution cooperatives, after both organizations recognized the need for a formal training program.
Although I have not witnessed Scott’s and Brandon’s entire apprenticeships, I was around when they were added to the standby group during their third year. They were eager to contribute in any way, which included working after normal hours. I witnessed them covering for the older linemen, making the senior employees’ last couple of years easier by allowing them to take fewer call. I’ve witnessed Scott and Brandon growing in their knowledge of the trade and progressively contributing at a higher level. I spent time out in the field watching them work, and I can tell you they have soaked up all those “pointers” they have received from the other linemen on how to do the work safely.
As the cooperative moves into future, I’m extremely encouraged by the guys we have working in the field to keep your lights on each day and night. Linemen are the fundamental piece of the operation and the dedication they show to the members makes me proud. Seeing how proud Scott, Brandon and their families were the night of the graduation really brings things into perspective and reminds me of what makes cooperatives great.
Matthew C. Deaton