Today is National Lineworker Appreciation Day. So we reached out to Paul Nye, New Caney utility foreman and former lineworker, to chat about his career trajectory at Entergy Texas.
Paul celebrated his 18th year at Entergy last month. He is currently finishing his business degree at Lone Star College. Paul and his wife Dawn have a daughter named Amberly, and the family resides in Conroe.
1. First, happy National Lineworker Appreciation Day! Talk to us a little about your career as a lineman.
I began my career supporting Entergy as an environmental cleanup contractor. But since my days as a student at Blinn College, I had my sights set on joining the line department. I officially joined the Entergy family as an apprentice lineman in Huntsville.
2. Take us back to the early days of your career at Entergy. Had you imagined rising to the level of utility foreman, and what do you enjoy most about your job?
As a utility foreman, one of the best things is to be able to share the job knowledge that I have to make jobs easier for someone else because I’ve been there. I love coaching and training employees to reach their full potential.
Becoming a utility foreman was always something to which I aspired, as I’ve always felt that I was a strong leader. I took the opportunity to learn different parts of the business. My move to the Conroe network, for example, allowed me to become well-versed in underground lines.
3. In our industry, no day is the same. But tell our audience about some of the key aspects of your job as utility foreman.
Ensuring workplace safety is a top priority, as well as making sure that our customers have the best experiences. I meet with other departments to make sure that the customer gets the service they are looking for. As well, I schedule maintenance for our lines. I also do the same for our fleet of vehicles. I talk to customers about their concerns on multiple outages to help them understand why issues have arisen.
4. What advice do you have for a lineworker just starting out?
The biggest piece of advice I would give is to understand and follow the safety rules. They are in place for your well-being and that of others. Also, one should always be open to someone’s coaching. Take the coaching in and use it to grow later in your career. Always work hard and be prepared to work long nights, and know that sometimes our job requires that we cannot join our own family for the holidays. They are sacrifices to be made, but you’re helping to provide a crucial service.
5. When the lights go out, so do our lineworkers. What would you tell our customers about the commitment involved in the job of a lineworker?
There is a lot that people don’t see when it comes to power restoration. There is a lot more involved than just picking up the downed pole that you might see. There are safety rules that we have to follow to keep both employees and customers safe. Sometimes dispatchers might be working behind the scenes to get important information to crews. So I’d like for customers to know that we are always working for them. In fact, for me, nothing quite describes the joy of hearing cheering customers once you’ve closed the fuse and their power is back on.