While the money is good for a lineman, the work is hard, they miss out on family functions and holidays, and their families sacrifice right along with them. We at J.L. Matthews want to honor the entire home-based crew behind the lineman - wives, girlfriends, parents, children... anyone who loves a lineman. Tell us your story and we may contact you to feature it on our website and social media channels!
Line Woman's Name:
A Little About Wendy~
Wendy is a Journeyman Lineman from Evergy (Kansas City Power & Light). She has been in the Electrical Industry for almost 20 years and a Lineman for almost 15 of them. Thank you Wendy for being such an example for other women who want to break the glass ceiling in this industry and paving the way for future Line Women. We also want to thank you for taking the time to speak with us to learn not only a little more about you, but what makes you tick.
How did you get in to the line industry?
I had been reading meters for the electric company for several years when I was approached by some co-works to try out for the next apprentice class. I will be real honest, I didn’t know much about line work or what it took to be a lineman. All I knew was, I was 24 years old and willing to give it a shot. They took me out climbing after work one day and so begin my journey.
Did any of your family serve as a lineman/woman?
No, I am a 1st generation Lineman. In fact, I have two older brothers who are terrified of heights so I guess I got lucky in that aspect.
What was the biggest challenge you overcame being a lady lineman?
Finding a restroom quickly- women in the field will understand. Seriously though, I have been in the industry now for almost 15 years and probably the toughest thing was proving I didn’t need any kind of special treatment. I feel like I did a good job proving myself pretty quickly. I learned how to rig and did my best to make sure strength wasn’t ever much of an issue. Believe me, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I knew I must be doing something right when I had a Lineman with 40 years experience walk up to me and say “You changed the way I feel about women in this line of work.”
What is your favorite part about the industry?
There are several things I love about this industry, but probably the leading one would be when a natural disaster happens and we are asked to offer assistance to another utility. It is amazing to watch lineman roll in to a town and set up shop and get to work. That is the ultimate brother and sisterhood that very few will understand. We work long hard hours away from our families, but when you finally start seeing the lights come back on it makes it all worth it. It is truly an amazing feeling.
Is there anything you wish you would change about your job?
I honestly can’t think of much I would change. I really enjoy that very few days are the exact same. The thing I dislike the most is the cold weather. Cold weather tends to make everything a little tougher. The great thing about living in Missouri is if you wait 5 minutes- the weather will probably change.
How has your life/ lifestyle changed to accommodate the job?
Never get to set plans because the second you make them, that is when your phone rings or a storm rolls in. Luckily, I have an extremely understanding spouse and family that have learned to understand the demand.
With everything you have learned in the 14 years in the industry, what would you say to the women that are interested in joining the field?
Set goals and work hard to attain them. Also understand, that you are going to have bad days- How you handle those bad days is how others will see you. Go home, get mad and promise yourself that you will come back stronger the next day. Most importantly never give up on your dreams. Last, if I can do it- I assure you anyone can.
Thank you again for participating in our Life on the Line feature. For all those reading, if you or someone you know is a lineman/ woman and you want to tell us a little bit about what your life is like working in the industry- click the link below!