Two East Central Electric linemen recently completed the four years of study and hands-on training required to receive their journeyman certification.
Lee Davis was hired as an Apprentice Lineman in 2018, shortly after completing two years of high-voltage training at OSUIT in Okmulgee as well as two internships.
“I always wanted to come to East Central since I started school,” Davis said. “I grew up hearing the name. It was close to home. I knew some of the guys who worked here. And my Grandpa was a member.”
Weston Hill was hired on at East Central in 2020 as a 3rd year linemen apprentice after having worked in linework for six other companies.
Hill attended high-voltage school at OSUIT because, “I knew there would always be demand for linemen. It’s not a career that will phase out.”
“I was doing this kind of work for years, but I never had a certificate, it was just me working,” Hill said. He was excited to have the opportunity to come to work for the co-op because of the benefits and the pathway to professional certification.
The previous experience gave him a leg up in fast-tracking the apprenticeship program, but it also meant he had to complete four years of schooling in under two years.
“I completed all the exams for years 1, 2, and 3 in the first year and then wrapped up year 4 over a few months,” Hill said, adding that studying for the almost 40 exams was complicated by a crying 18-month-old daughter at home and another baby on the way.
The Journeyman certification is a nationally recognized title and accreditation that signals professionalism and mastery in the field.
Davis said, “It feels rewarding to have that responsibility for yourself and the work you do. It feels good to be trusted to know what you’re doing.”
ECE Manager of Engineering and Operations Jerome Roberts said, “ECE has produced several outstanding linemen throughout the years, we are proud to have Weston and Lee as a part of that tradition. Congratulations on reaching this milestone in your careers!”
Both Hill and Davis strongly encourage young men and women who are interested in working outdoors, or in a career where every day has a different challenge, to consider a future in linework.
For anyone who takes them up on the recommendation, Hill had this advice: “Wear your rubber gloves, and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, because that’s how you learn.”