Family members, supervisors and others gathered on Jan. 27 in celebration of the completion of a four-year apprenticeship by 12 young line technicians representing electric cooperatives and municipal utilities.

Graduating from apprentice to journeyman status requires the completion of thousands of hours of extensive training, both on the job and in the classroom at the Electric Cooperative Training Center in Palmyra, Va. Instructors continually stress the importance of safety and communication. Co-ops are committed to a culture of safety.

Blaine Cunningham with his wife and daughter following the graduation ceremony.

“The program taught me how to be a good, efficient worker, while being safe at the same time,” says Jacob Pruitt, line technician with A&N Electric Cooperative. “The priority here is safety and attitude and coming home and being with our families.”

Central Virginia Electric Cooperative line technician Blaine Cunningham appreciated the camaraderie. “We all got along really well,” he says. “Every step, we learned something new. I enjoyed it a lot.” Zac Basham with the City of Danville looks forward to implementing what he learned in the classroom daily in the field.

Certified as a journeyman line technician in 1993, Tim Lawrence now serves as electric utility director for the Town of Berlin in Maryland. He attended the ceremony in support of his employee, Caleb Hunter, and encouraged the graduates with his own story. “Hard work and dedication will take you a long way in this trade,” he says. “I am proof. … You can rise to the highest level.” He went on to describe the Town of Berlin as committed to employing the best-trained personnel to work safely on its electric system. Hunter was the Town of Berlin’s first LTAP graduate.

Congratulations to our January 2023 LTAP graduates:

PJ Hackett receives a congratulatory kiss from his sister.

  • Jonathan Marston, Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative
  • Blaine Cunningham, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative
  • Patrick Robbins, Southside Electric Cooperative
  • Chase Guy, Southside Electric Cooperative
  • Kevin Ryan, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
  • Sean Cain, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
  • Caleb Hunter, Town of Berlin (Maryland)
  • Foster Pearson, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
  • Zacchaeus Basham, City of Danville (Virginia)
  • Joshua Martin, Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative
  • Jacob Pruitt, A&N Electric Cooperative
  • Mitchell “PJ” Hackett, Northern Neck Electric Cooperative

The next LTAP graduation is scheduled for Friday, April 14, at the Electric Cooperative Training Center.

–Report by Jim Robertson, Director, Marketing and Brand Management, VMDAEC.