“My Daddy’s been my hero my entire life. My Dad was a lineman.”
Mark Todd grew up with energy in his blood – literally. The son and grandson of lineworkers, Todd knew at a young age that he’d follow the same path.
Among his fond childhood memories are playing ‘lineworker’ with his best friend Van James. The pair had fathers who worked for the same company, and both young boys looked forward to the weekends when the work trucks would travel home to be parked in their yards. James and Todd would find hard hats and rubber gloves and get to work on their imaginary poles, just like they knew their linemen fathers were doing at work. “In our minds we were king of the street, and we were linemen,” Todd fondly remembers.
The thrill of the work wasn’t the only thing Todd noticed about the job. He could sense how highly others regarded his dad’s work, like when family and friends called to check on his safety and wellbeing during storms. “I remember how folks looked at my Dad and they respected him because of what he did,” Todd explains.
The realities of danger associated with being a lineworker were never far from Todd’s mind. And one important lesson, shortly after Todd committed to the job, sticks out. Father and son sat down at the kitchen table.
“He gave me a No. 2 pencil,” says Todd. “And he took that pencil, and he broke the eraser off of it. And he said, ‘Son, a lineman doesn’t need an eraser on his pencil, because he can’t afford to make mistakes.’ Just saying those words today still I get a lump in my throat, because I know now what it was that he was saying. For someone to go in to want to be a lineman, it has to be a calling.”
Todd answered that call diligently. For many years, he worked in the field as a lineworker. In 2012, he took a new path, joining ElectriCities as a Senior Safety & Training Specialist. “Working with ElectriCities in the Safety & Training department, I see firsthand what it means when we talk about communities serving each other,” says Todd. The job has led Todd to friendships in public power communities across the state and outside it and given him a meaningful sense of purpose.
“It truly is a wonderful life and I am blessed far more than I deserve,” Todd reflects. “I hope when this amazing and rewarding career … comes to an end, that I will be remembered as someone who made a difference — someone who cared for the linemen he worked with every day and their families.”
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