Three New First Class Linemen, Five Years in the Making


Three New First Class Linemen at DEC


(From left to right are Duane Pierce. Jim Maier and Travis Walls)

Greenwood, Del.- Delaware Electric Cooperative Lineman Duane Pierce wasn’t wearing a cap and gown and didn’t walk across a stage to receive a diploma on February 14th, but Valentine’s Day marked the culmination of five years of extensive training as an apprentice lineman.

By the end of the day Pierce would be a full fledged first class lineman, a title only given to those who pass five written tests, stand up to the rigors of an intense question and answer session and overcome the numerous obstacles one faces while training to work as a lineman.

The day started with a trip to the Taylor substation and Pierce was admittedly nervous.

“I had a lot of anxiety not knowing what to expect. It’s something that’s hovering over your head for five years,”

Duane was asked to show his electrical expertise at the substation, which was followed by a nerve wracking two hour oral exam in the afternoon. Pierce aced the oral exam, bringing to an end his five year journey, which wasn’t always easy.

According to Pierce, “It’s a lot of information to retain. At first it’s a little overwhelming, but over a period of time it sinks in.”

“The biggest challenge is taking everything you’ve learned and applying it on your own.”

DEC’s newest first class lineman joined the Co-op in 2005 as a meter reader and started his lineman training in 2007. Pierce said the Co-op will be his home for a long time. “This is it. This is my career. I’m not going anywhere,”

And Pierce isn’t alone. Two other Co-op employees recently finished their training to become first class linemen. Five other DEC employees are also currently training to earn that title.

Travis Walls joined DEC back in 2004 as a locator and was quickly promoted to a position as a meter reader. In 2006 Walls started his apprenticeship and in June of 2011 his hard work finally paid off as he became a first class lineman.

Before joining the Co-op family Travis worked for Utz Potato Chips in Laurel. He said he’s thrilled to have completed his training and when asked what he enjoys most about his job Walls stated, “The best part about working at the Co-op would have to be the people I see every day.”

Jim Maier also earned the title of first class lineman in November of 2011. Maier started his career with Delaware Electric Cooperative back in September of 2004, after spending 15 years with U.S. Airways serving as a flight attendant. Changing careers proved to be difficult for Maier.

According to Jim, “I knew nothing about this and had to start from scratch. It was tough at first.”

After finishing his five years of training Maier said he can think of no other place he would rather work. “It’s a great place to work and the people who you work with are great.”