Lakeland, Fla. – Lakeland Electric won big in the Twelfth Annual Florida Lineman Competition, in which 18 lineman teams and 33 apprentices from Florida’s municipal electric utilities, electric cooperatives, and Patrick Air Force Base demonstrated the skills involved in one of America’s most dangerous jobs.
The Lakeland Electric journeyman team of Dwayne Goostree, Justin Devaisher, and Matt Thomas won first place in the Cut-out and Arrestor Change, the Cross Arm Change out, and the Conductor Tie-In, capturing a second place overall finish. In addition, Lakeland Apprentices Samuel Brown and Doug Bergwall won first and third place respectively in the overall apprentice competition.
Linemen competed on two levels: journeyman and apprentice. Journeyman teams included three people – two climbers and a ground person, while apprentice line workers competed on an individual basis. A qualified journeyman has more than four years experience within the electric utility trade. Apprentice line workers have four or fewer years of experience.
Designed to highlight safe utility operations, the event – presented by Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) and hosted by Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) – put the technical and physical skills of utility workers to the test in a crowd-pleasing display of skill and teamwork. Hundreds gathered at the GRU Eastside Operations Center and watched as journeyman teams and apprentices competed in challenges simulating day-to-day operations.
Electric line work is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and a lapse in judgment or a physical slip-up can mean serious injury or even death. Prior to the competition, lineworkers participated in a series of technical training workshops.
The annual event gives highly trained linemen teams and apprentices statewide the opportunity to learn more about their trade in specialized workshops, while interacting and sharing ideas with their peers by observing safety skills and techniques used by other linemen during the competition.
About FMEA: The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) represents the unified interests of 34 public power communities across the state, which provide electricity to more than three million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.