Raleigh, N.C. —Cherie Berry, North Carolina Labor Commissioner, recently watched the state’s top electric line workers test their lifesaving skills at the Pole Top Rescue Competition hosted by North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives.
Safety, the central focus of Commissioner Berry’s job, was the main priority at the competition. Commissioner Berry had the chance to address the crowd, which included electric cooperative line workers and their families, line workers in training at Nash Community College (NCC) and other spectators. She told the crowd that she values the work of line crews because they help keep power on for the rest of the state’s citizens. She also told a group of students enrolled in the Nash Lineman Academy at NCC that she is proud of the career path they have chosen and is proud that they represent the future of the profession.
Bob Schubauer, the instructor of the Nash Lineman Academy at NCC, said he was pleased that he and his students got to attend Pole Top Rescue and visit with Commissioner Berry, who is a supporter of the program. Schubauer said, “We’re looking for more people to join the program. In 12 weeks, a student can earn a third class lineman certificate, gaining quick entry to the profession.”
At the Pole Top Rescue Competition, Commissioner Berry also had the chance to meet competitor Scott Murray and alternate Eric Wright from her hometown electric cooperative, Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation (EMC). She thanked the men for their service, which has helped increase reliability of electricity to thousands of customers in the western part of the state.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives provide energy to 2.5 million people in 93 of 100 counties, primarily in the rural parts of state. The electric cooperatives own and maintain 95,000 miles of power lines, by far the most of any electric utility in North Carolina.