Employee Spotlight: Matt Hull

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Matt Hull is a Foreman and has worked for KEC for almost 15 years.

What made you interested in working as a lineworker? How did you train for work in this field?

I learned about line work from my dad—he’s been a lineman for more than 40 years at Northern Lights, Inc. in Sagle. After watching his career throughout them years, I knew it was something I wanted to do too. To get started, I went to North Idaho College and then I attended line school in Spokane. After line school I spent some time working as a contractor for various gas, phone and electric utilities.

I was hired at KEC one spring as a temporary groundman. At that time the cooperative hired several groundmen for the busy summer season and we had the opportunity to show off our skills and dedication to the trade. At the end of the summer, I was offered one of two openings for an apprenticeship. Over the past 15 years I have worked my way up to journeyman lineman, then serviceman and about two years ago I was promoted to foreman.

What sort of work did you do as a serviceman?

A few years ago, KEC implemented a new System Inspection and Maintenance Plan. The plan outlines a methodical approach to how we inspect and maintain every piece of equipment on our system. This includes major equipment and other minor components on overhead transmission lines, substations and overhead and underground distribution lines, inclusive of vegetation management and all KEC infrastructure up to the meters installed at each KEC service point.

When I was involved with this process, I inspected work conducted by our tree trimming crews along with the electrical infrastructure by ground patrol with an aerial bucket or by using a drone in areas difficult to access. Any defect noted during the inspection was flagged with a priority and synchronized to a database for follow up. With the data collected, a KEC field engineering technician assigned to maintenance work reviewed the findings and created service orders for repairs or created designs for equipment replacements where needed. Although I am no longer involved in this process, we still have lineworkers conducting this work. The intent of the program is to proactively identify potential problems and act upon them before they negatively affect KEC’s service reliability.

Tell us about your day as a foreman and the focus of your crew’s work.

As a foreman, I am responsible for the work and safety of a crew, which is made up of journeyman and apprentice linemen and an equipment operator. We usually travel with a digger derrick, a large bucket truck, a small bucket truck and a backhoe with a trailer. Most of my crew’s work involves connecting new members to electric service in low-density areas. We also conduct any necessary maintenance work while doing new construction work. For example, a pole might need to be changed out before we can extend service to another member. Due to the growth in our area, we have a few crews working on new construction or service work.

What is the best part of your job?

My time at KEC has allowed me to work in various roles and gain different experiences. From lineman to serviceman and now foreman, there is always a new challenge.