Bonneville Power Administration

04/15/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/15/2019 16:46

Energy Pulse NW Podcast: The industrial athlete


On the latest episode of Energy Pulse Northwest, Scott Williams, a foreman III at BPA, came to the studio to talk about maintaining transmission power lines and a new term he uses at BPA.

Williams started describing lineworkers as 'industrial athletes' because of their similarities to professional athletes. Lineworkers need mental and physical toughness to keep the lights on.

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To learn more about Scott and his work at BPA, read his employee profile where he shares his personal lessons on leadership and the breadth of work performed by his crew.

Name: Scott Williams
Title: Lineman Foreman III

Work Location: The Dalles, Oregon, Transmission Line Maintenance

  1. Did you serve in the U.S Armed Forces? Yes, I served in the United States Coast Guard from 1988 to 1995. In my earlier years I was a rescue swimmer, boarding officer for maritime law enforcement, and mechanic. Then I received my training as an electrician's mate. I got out and came in as temp electrician at Bonneville in 1997.
  2. When people ask me what I do for work I tell them:I have a direct impact to my communities' power and to power across the region. In my district, we maintain over 1,500 miles of transmission line, which is pretty cool. Our lines deliver hydropower from three dams along the Columbia River and over 4,000 megawatts of wind and solar. We also maintain the Pacific Direct Current Intertie line that goes to California. This is a big deal and it gives me great pride to be a representative for BPA here in The Dalles.
  3. I like working at BPA because:I believe in public service and want to influence a positive work environment for those around me. The lineworker trade is rewarding, too. I like coming to work to demonstrate my skills and abilities, to support my crew and the good job they do, and knowing that we're providing the best we can for the region and for our Northwest customers.
  4. The coolest or most surprising thing about my job is: The coolest part of my job is simple: my team and my craft. When the lights go out due to weather, abnormal conditions or system failures, our employees are the solution. Don't be shy to thank a lineworker one of these days. They regularly put themselves on the line for you, our neighbors and the transmission grid. They are true heroes.
  5. How does your work support the ​BPA 2018-2023 Strategic Plan? Aswithany strategic initiative, successful execution ultimately relies on our people. Our employees maintain the transmission system, which helps manage assets that support our customers' reliability needs. Lineworkers patrol transmission lines and give engineering and asset managers the information needed to plan and fund the projects we carry out, such as installing new insulators, conductor and many other components that make up the power line.
  6. What leadership behaviors do you try to demonstrate, or is there one you're working on being better at?. As a lineworker in Transmission, I focus on making the complex simple.. I 'stick to priorities' by keeping capital and maintenance projects flowing, helping my crew work in unity with the agency's mission, and by ensuring onsite job safety.The other is 'consider it done.' I think I'm successful with completing jobs because I engage in the planning part of every project. In doing this, I find a high success rate in effective work performance, cost savings to BPA and, most importantly, safety by design when the project rolls out to the crews. The leadership behavior I struggle with the most is 'listen more than talk.' I've learned through safety leadership training that listening has merit to safety and the unity of crew performance. I work hard to listen more and respect others' opinions.
  7. My favorite thing about working and living in the Northwest is:At work, I have a mobile office with a new view every day. At home, I have some of the best places to put my motorhome for the weekend. I can ski at Mt. Hood, pull the kids behind the boat on the river, shoot some golf or simply have a campfire with family and friends.