Competitors win regional competition designed to test job skills critical to power restoration
International competition to be held Oct. 12 in Bonner Springs, Kan.
NEW HILL, N.C. – 30 Duke Energy lineworkers have secured spots to compete in the International Lineman's Rodeo this fall after advancing from the Duke Energy Carolinas Lineman’s Rodeo over the weekend.
Lineman’s rodeos are specialized contests that test job-related skills line technicians rely on daily to restore power – often under extreme conditions such as high wind, heavy rain, freezing cold and sweltering heat.
Categories scored included equipment repair, pole climbs and hurt man rescues, while speed, agility, technique and safety procedures factor into overall rankings. Duke Energy holds three regional competitions to qualify lineworkers for the international competition – including in the Carolinas, Florida and the Midwest.
The Carolinas rodeo this year included one senior team, 46 journeyman teams and 101 apprentices. Team divisions are based in part on tenure. An apprentice is a lineworker with fewer than four years of utility experience. A journeyman or senior journeyman with Duke Energy has more than four years of utility experience. The senior division in a Lineman’s Rodeo denotes lineworkers who are 50 years old or older.
“Our crews’ agility and depth continues to impress me each day, but I’m even prouder of their dedication to keeping the lights on for millions of customers who depend on them,” said Scott Batson, senior vice president and chief distribution officer at Duke Energy. “Safety, skills and speed are integral in the job of a lineworker – and Duke Energy truly has some of the best talent in the world.”
High poles, top talent
Duke Energy Carolinas regional rodeo winners will join other top lineworkers from Duke Energy rodeos in Florida and the Midwest to compete in the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Bonner Springs, Kan., on Oct. 12, an international event that attracts the most talented lineworkers from around the world. The best lineworkers at Duke Energy and its legacy companies have showcased their talents at the International Lineman's Rodeo for more than 20 years.
Duke Energy Carolinas competitors advancing from regional rodeos to the International Lineman’s Rodeo include:
Apprentice Overall Awards
- First place – Hunter Ingle/Triangle South Zone
- Second place – Zachary Grant/Triangle South Zone
- Third place – David Hutter/Triangle North Zone
- First place – Daniel Nash/Mountain Zone
- Second place – Eli Medford/Mountain Zone
- Third place – Justin Ebbert/Mountain Zone
Overall Best Apprentice – Hunter Ingle/Triangle South Zone
Journeyman Overall Awards
- First place – Joshua Haithcock, Zachary Haithcock, William Gandy/Pee Dee Zone
- Second place – Craig Callis, Ryan Denning, Ethan Nunn/Triangle South Zone
- Third place – Jeramy Wilson, Joshua Greguire, Mark Perkinson/Triangle North Zone
- Fourth place – Cameron Beck, Lee Brannock, Caleb Cunningham/Triangle North Zone
- First place – Tyler Manick, Tyler Nickols, Joshua Buckner/Mountain Zone
- Second place – Sandy Barnhill, Jay Tipton, Keith Griffin/Mountain Zone
- Third place – Miles Bell, Heath Burrell, Jordan Henderson/Mountain Zone
- Fourth place – Logan Ruppard, Travis Mantooth, Austin Morris/Mountain Zone
Overall Best Journeyman Team – Tyler Manick, Tyler Nickols, Joshua Buckner/Mountain Zone
Overall Best Senior Team – Sandy Barnhill, Jay Tipton, Keith Griffin/Mountain Zone
“We’re colleagues, but rodeos bring out our competitive spirit – because we all want to be the best at our jobs,” said Tyler Manick, journeyman lineworker with Duke Energy’s Marion Operations Center. “There’s nothing like being in front of a problem, finding a solution and getting the lights back on for customers.”
A career field in lights
Hiring and developing entry-level craft and skilled talent is critical to address the growing needs of customers as well as projects that will help modernize and strengthen the grid to improve reliability and resiliency, enable the connection of more renewables and help protect it from cybersecurity and physical threats.
Duke Energy’s craft and technical career hiring strategy is transforming to fast-track and hire more aggressively. Efforts include collaborating with community colleges that have lineworker training programs to recruit skilled candidates that reflect diverse communities and sourcing local talent through grassroots recruitment efforts.
Students from technical colleges across the Carolinas who volunteered at the Carolinas Lineman’s Rodeo had the opportunity to meet with Duke Energy leadership while at the event. The informal conversations centered on the progression path students take through community college lineworker training programs as well as what they can expect from a lineworking career at Duke Energy.
Schools represented this year at the event included Cape Fear Community College, Coastal Carolina Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College and Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
“Working closely with community colleges is essential because their programs give us access to local talent for local jobs,” said Isabel Nieto, manager of workforce development for Duke Energy. “When an individual has a personal tie to a local community, they have a stronger connection to the work they perform to help neighbors and family.”
Duke Energy employs more than 2,500 lineworkers across its six-state service area.
The Carolinas Lineman’s Rodeo was supported by volunteers from across the Duke Energy community. More than 80 volunteers, 38 volunteer students and staff from five community colleges, 65 judges and 7 bucket truck operators were on hand during the competition.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,600 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2023 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “World’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Contact: Logan Kureczka