More Power to Them

Electrical Linemen

Congratulations to the 21 graduates from the Forsyth Tech Electrical Linemen Academy. The ceremony was held May 20, 2019, at the Northwest Forsyth Center in King, N.C. Most have secured jobs and started work.

Josh Burcham, director of Technical Skills Programs with Economic and Workforce Development, welcomed the guests, introduced representatives from electrical companies and began the program.

Mike Mills, Nick Newman and Toliver Wright from Surry Yadkin Electrical Membership Corporation were the guest speakers.

Mills advised the graduates, “As linemen, we form a brotherhood and no matter who you work for, take pride in what you do and never, ever compromise safety.” Newman and Wright are graduates from the Electrical Lineman Academy and echoed Mills’ advice. In addition, they encouraged graduates now joining an elite team requiring sharp technical skills combined with dedication and commitment to service and to each other.

Also attending to present the Colby Haithcock Memorial Scholarship was Dave Anderson, Haithcock’s stepfather. The scholarship was developed by Anderson and his wife, Tracey, in memory of Haithcock, whose life goal was to become a lineman. His dream was never realized due to a fatal auto accident in 2018, a result of drinking and driving. The intent of the scholarship is to provide financial support for a student, while educating students on the dangers of underage drinking and driving.

The $500 scholarship is awarded four times a year.  The award goes to one student during each class who must write a short essay on the danger of drinking and driving and the potential ramifications of underage drinking. The recipient of the scholarship for this class was Clint Caviness.

Instructors George Speight and Tim Webb presented the graduation certificates and awarded the “Top of the Pole” award. One of the tests during the class is demonstrating how fast linemen could rescue a fellow lineman in distress on a pole. This award goes to the graduate who had the best time in climbing the pole with gear and pulling down a 190 lb. mannequin. With a time of two minutes, 39 seconds, the winner of this award was Ethan Schilling.

The Electrical Linemen class recently won the Outstanding Pre-Apprenticeship Program from ApprenticeshipNC. Nominees for an ApprenticeshipNC Outstanding Award represent the best practices for the apprenticeship model in North Carolina. Since 2010, the program has graduated 469 new linemen and 30 have entered a Registered Apprenticeship program.