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Five members of San Marcos Electric Utility pose with their certificates from Northwest Lineman College. From left are Thomas Medrano, David Gaona, Eddie Cunningham, Juan Gonzalez and Jorge Holguin. Photo courtesy of city of San Marcos

San Marcos Linemen complete four-year certification

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Five San Marcos Electric Utility (SMEU) Linemen recently completed a four-year certification program through the Northwest Lineman College, an online remote education course that requires undergoing 906 hours of training and passing 40 written tests.

Linemen who graduate from the course are intensively trained in safety procedures, rigging, hot line work, underground line pulling, line design and the many other aspects of electric line work.

Staff members David Gaona, Eddie Cunningham, Juan Gonzalez, Jorge Holguin and Thomas Medrano are the first group of trainees to graduate from the program. Their education will contribute to a higher standard of quality for SMEU utility customers.

“Educational programs such as these allow us to provide our customers with highly skilled, well-qualified persons working on their power lines,” Distribution Manager Scott King said. “We continually strive to provide the best possible service we can for the citizens of San Marcos in a safe, professional and productive manner.”

Nine additional city staffers are currently enrolled in Northwest Lineman College. Employees with several years of experience serve as mentors to those beginning the program.

In addition to the NLC training, SMEU linemen also train at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension (TEEX) Service, which provides hands-on experience in a classroom environment, hands-on training at the Mesa Hotline School in Colorado, the APPA Lineman’s Rodeo and safety classes and the Texas Lineman’s Rodeo Association.

This intensive training is integral to both providing service to San Marcos utilities customers and ensuring safety for SMEU staff. 

“In our line of work, we’re not really allowed any mistakes,” King said. “When you’re working with high voltage, and you don’t do it right, the results can be catastrophic.”

To learn more about Lineman Education or San Marcos Utility Services, contact King at sking@sanmarcostx.gov.