The 12 most recent graduates of the Line Technician Apprentice Program, held at the Electric Cooperative Training Center in Palmyra, Va., all agree on one thing.

“Safety is the number one thing in this line of work. It’s what brings you and your crew home each day,” Ryan Love, line technician with Prince George Electric Cooperative, answered when asked why attending the class was important.

Love graduated the Step 8 class alongside Brett Cook, Logan Roberson and Nicholas Wagoner from Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative; George Blackwell, Jr., Kevin Greenawalt, Andrew Parrish, Branden Hinton and Adam Weaver from Southside Electric Cooperative; and Collen Burnett, Andrew Cooper and Adam Stubbs from Rappahannock Electric Cooperative.

“You are your brother’s keeper in this line of work. Safety is everything,” echoes Stubbs, line technician at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative.

Outside of learning proper safety line work practices, the graduating group, which wrapped up on July 29, also learned about climbing skills, knowledge of electricity, underground and substation work, and leadership, among other topics.

To graduate from apprentice to journeyman status, these participants completed thousands of hours of extensive training, including on-the-job training and classroom work at the state-of-the-art training center owned and operated by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Alan Scruggs, the Association’s vice president of safety, says, “We congratulate this class of graduates on their important accomplishment. They’ve shown the dedication and commitment to training that is needed to succeed in this industry.”

—Report by Laura Emery, Deputy Editor, Cooperative Living