Ben Cook is a foreman and has worked for KEC for 13 years.
What made you interested in line work? How did you train for work in this field?
My dad was a lineman, and I grew up watching him take pride in his work and learned so much about the trade from him. It was really cool to have a dad happy with his job and the comradery he had with his coworkers. This all really appealed to me.
To get started in the field I attended Avista’s pre-apprentice line school. Then I worked for a utility contractor in southern Idaho and at Avista Utilities as a groundman.
I was hired at KEC as a groundman and then completed my apprenticeship and became a journeyman lineman. I’m the newest foreman at KEC and have been in the role for less than a year.
What does a day look like for you as a foreman at KEC?
My crew is responsible for the new services or connects on KEC’s system. This work is separate from new subdivisions, and it takes my crew across our service territory as more people move to our area and purchase property. They want to have power brought to their property or construction site and we make it happen.
How does the new service process work for members and our crews?
The process starts with a new member applying for service through our office or online. Then they work with one of KEC’s project engineering technicians to develop the plan and design to bring power to their property. When those details are finalized, KEC’s team uses computer software to determine the equipment needed to complete the project and the cost. KEC’s operations department then takes over the construction part of the project.
In my role, I work to be as efficient as possible when installing new services for members. In one day, we may need to install service in Harrison, Worley and Athol. Other times, it may take 2-3 days to complete one new service installation. Each day I work with my crew to come up with a plan of attack. Sometimes the job entails changing out poles, outdated equipment or installing 4,000 feet of underground line. In addition, some of the work is for existing members who need an equipment upgrade, such as a larger electric panel.
What is the biggest challenge in your job?
The massive growth in our area. However, our members have been so understanding during this time. They know how busy things are right now and are so grateful when we complete their project. It’s pretty neat to leave a construction project and have members so happy they have power.
What is the best part of your job?
My coworkers are the best part. We all have safety in mind and at the end of the day we know we’ve done quality work. This is important to ensure the next lineworker working on the equipment is safe.