TNMPeople

May 2015: Meet Gary, he was 'meant to be a lineman'

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TNMPeople is a monthly feature to introduce you to our folks behind the poles, wires and meters.

Gary was between jobs in 1983, keeping busy as a volunteer firefighter in La Marque.

Opportunity came in a paying job with Galveston’s fire department. But when it rains, it pours. Before he could start at the fire academy, TNMP offered Gary a job on a line crew.

“I chose this because my dad did it,” says Gary, now a line crew foreman at TNMP’s Texas City office. “For some reason, I think I was meant to be a lineman.”

Gary’s dad, Ralph, was a TNMP lineman and later an area manager in La Marque. He passed away eight years ago. So, Gary, did your dad want you to take up his profession?

“He wanted me to go to college,” Gary says, laughing. “But the happiest day for him was when I made foreman.”

Foremen take the lead with small teams of linemen with various levels of experience, making sure jobs large and small are completed safely and correctly.

Working post-storm power outages is a job Gary almost relishes. Almost.

“There are people without power,” he says. “It’s like a challenge to see how (many customers) you can get on yourself. With a good crew, you can get a lot done.”

Ensuring the safety of his crew members is Gary’s first responsibility, though.

“We’ve learned procedures, ways you can do things so that it’s safer and easier for everybody,” he says. “I never ask my guys to do anything I wouldn’t do.”

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