My cover article about lineman for the June issue of Amarillo Magazine was challenging to write and interview. Because I've written about and researched so many different subjects, I enter most assignments knowing a little bit about them already. But other than understanding why it's important to shut off the proper breaker before installing a ceiling fan, I knew next to nothing about the area's electrical grid, much less the job of utility linemen and the history of Xcel Energy. Getting to tour Xcel's 8,000-square-foot training facility in Amarillo was quite the education.
Linemen are almost always on-call, are highly educated technicians, perform hard physical labor, and are often serve as technical first responders during disasters—from tornados and fires in the Panhandle to Hurricane Sandy in New York City. These guys impressed me.