Employee Spotlight: Doug Cardinel
Doug Cardinel is a foreman.
He has worked for KEC for 25 years.
What made you interested in linework and how did you train to work in this field?
I was young and broke and looking for a new career option. I had a few friends in the line construction trade and decided to give it a try. To start, I was hired as a temporary groundman at KEC and then worked my way into an apprenticeship. Following that I worked as a journeyman lineman for ten years and then moved into the foreman role.
Tell us about KEC’s new System Maintenance and Inspection Plan.
KEC put the finishing touches on a new System Inspection and Maintenance Plan in late 2019. The plan outlines a methodical approach to how we inspect and maintain every piece of equipment on our system. This includes major equipment and other minor components on overhead transmission lines, substations, and overhead and underground distribution lines, inclusive of vegetation management and all KEC infrastructure up to the meters installed at each KEC service point.
To perform on this plan is no small task. KEC operates 2,300 miles of line. Of this, nearly 1,300 miles are underground with the balance, just under 1,000 miles, being overhead. The plan and its implementation are a collaborative effort between KEC’s Engineering and Operations departments. Prior to the plan development, KEC conducted routine maintenance and had a comprehensive right-of-way or vegetation management program in place. However, the new plan provides specific targets for inspections and maintenance based upon frequency schedules and the assessment and priority of equipment condition. In the pilot year of the new plan, we selected areas on the KEC system that have been the most problematic to system reliability for inspection and maintenance. Our goal is to inspect each part of our system every 12 years for maintenance. Additional staff were needed for plan implementation, including a full-time system inspector (or Service Lineman) and one full-time maintenance crew. In addition, we dedicate one full-time field engineering technician to review the findings from each inspection and coordinate any follow-up maintenance work. My crew takes those plans and completes the replacement and construction work.
What is your role in this process?
I am the foreman responsible for maintenance construction. My crew works to replace equipment that has reached the end of its useful life to improve safety and reliability. This work is also important as it helps keep our crews safe by removing possible hazards on the electrical system. When I get to work each day, I start by reviewing engineering or staking sheets for the jobs we need to complete. Next, I work with the crew to collect and load the materials and equipment needed for the jobs. I then meet with my crew to share the day’s job details, directions and protective or safety equipment needed.
What is the biggest challenge in your job?
We might have 3-4 projects going at a time. Ensuring we are tracking all the materials accurately can be a challenge. However, I really enjoy maintenance work, which largely involves overhead construction across KEC’s service territory.
Where are you conducting maintenance work now?
We are currently working in the Rimrock area and have also recently been in the Harrison area. What is the best part of your job? Working with a group of like-minded coworkers who take their trade seriously and have good work ethic and safety standards. We are fortunate to work for a company that provides quality equipment and tools for us to do our work. In addition, I’m happy to do work that helps improve reliability for our members. That’s good for everybody