Lineworkers from across the state competed for top honors at the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) 18th annual Florida Lineman Competition. A crowd of hundreds looked on as lineworkers put their skills to the test performing tasks they encounter in real-world scenarios. Tasks range from replacing cross arm beams to relocating transformers to a simulation of rescuing an injured lineman. Competitors earn points for completing the tasks as quickly as possible and lose points if safety standards and proper work practices are not met. This year’s event was hosted by Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) and was held at Osceola Heritage Park.
More than 130 lineworkers participated, including teams and apprentices from Tallahassee, JEA (Jacksonville), Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), Beaches Energy (Jacksonville Beach), KUA, City of Alachua, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority and Ocala, as well competitors from Talquin Electric Cooperative, Clay Electric Cooperative, City of Thomasville, GA, and as far away as Colorado Springs, CO. Journeymen teams, which include at least one lineworker who has been in the industry for at least five years, are made up of three lineworkers. Apprentices, or lineworkers in training, competed individually.
This year, the Overall Journeymen Team Winners Cup went to Robert Hess, Brian Gregg and Greg Johnson from JEA. Taking home the Overall Apprentice award was Justin Johnson of the City of Tallahassee.
“The annual lineman competition showcases the work lineworkers do on a daily basis and provides people with an opportunity to see linework in action,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director. “We extend our congratulations to the winners and our deepest appreciation to all the lineworkers across the state who literally put their lives on the line every day. Their impact on their communities is profound as we recently witnessed following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. We thank them for their service.”
Established in 2001 by the FMEA, the Florida Lineman Competition brings together public power lineworkers from across the state to demonstrate their skill and knowledge in the craft of line work. At the competition, journeyman and apprentices compete for professional recognition, attend training courses and practice essential skills in a safe environment. The competition encourages safety awareness, teamwork and networking with other utilities.