In late April, nearly 70 up-and-coming lineworkers from around the country participated in the first ever Lineworker, Safety, Training & Leadership Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. Unlike other training conferences, these individuals were selected through a nomination process that was meant to identify people who actively influence the safety culture at their utility. The goal of the conference was to educate and provide a place for people to collaborate, share, and engage with peers in the industry.

The Future of Collaboration

“We have an amazing group of knowledgeable, talented, and resourceful lineworkers that come from states across the country,” said Joe McElroy, Director of Safety & Loss Control at MECA. “Our strength comes from collaborating and sharing our experiences with one another.”

This was the ideal that originally founded Quad State Instructors nearly 60 years ago when a few electric utility safety professionals from four Midwestern states gathered to share challenges and ideas in promoting safety. The organization now hosts representatives from 22 states.

A Different Kind of Conference

The intimate size of this year’s conference seemed to hit the mark, as participants not only shared their experiences on issues, but how they worked through them. McElroy notes, “Having a tight network of colleagues saves time and resources, as well as improving communication.”

The organizers felt good about the selection process, the speakers, and especially the number of participants. And given the high marks the conference received from those who attended, it seems to be a hit.

(Left to right) Joe McElroy (MECA), Cody Warren (Alger Delta), Tyler Wollan (Cloverland), Ed Affer (Great Lakes Energy), Chris Nadorozny (Wolverine)

One participant said, “After many schools and training opportunities this has been by far the most heartfelt, personal experience I’ve had the pleasure of attending.”

Thanks to Joe McElroy, Quad State Instructors, and all the organizers who prepared such a life-changing experience our future lineworker leaders, including attendees from our Michigan co-ops: Chris Nadorozny (Wolverine Power Cooperative), Tyler Wollan (Cloverland Electric Cooperative), Ed Affer (Great Lakes Energy Cooperative), and Cody Warren (Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association).