TNMPeople

June 2015: Meet James and Scott - brothers and 'total opposites'

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

Brothers can be so much alike, yet so very different. Such is the case for James and Scott.

The brothers work in the same TNMP building in the Gulf Coast with jobs that – like the men themselves – are related and similar, but very distinct.

“We’re both really laid back; total opposites otherwise,” Scott says.

On the job

They’ve worked a combined 70 years for TNMP in different roles, partially emulating their father, Red, who was a line crew foreman in West Columbia. Scott became a lineman like his dad, but James preferred his feet on the ground.

“I told him I’m not following in his footsteps as a lineman,” James said with a chuckle. “I have a slight fear of heights, especially hanging on by two little spurs.”

James has served the last 20 years on the system operations desk, monitoring substations and higher voltage power lines. It’s usually very quiet, although events like storms can change that quickly.

“You have to have the temperament to do this job,” James says. “If you’re used to being outside and having something going on constantly, this job won’t work out for you.”

Scott recently left field work to join our new distribution operations desk, monitoring the equipment you see in neighborhoods and coordinating power outage responses.

“Our job is information,” Scott says. “I can see outages on the screen (as reports come in). Then you prioritize the best you can, getting crews dispatched from outages affecting the highest number of customers to the lowest number of customers.”

Away from the job

Scott likes to “tinker” in his free time, including when he restored a 1968 Mustang that had no engine. When Scott and a friend rebuilt an engine and put it in the car, James came by to check it out.

“James got in and took off down the road,” Scott says with a smile. “I like tinkering with stuff. He likes enjoying stuff.”

Perhaps that trip in the Mustang could be a little payback for their teenage years, when James – who is 18 months older – got driving privileges.

“I was the tag-along,” Scott says. “He got his license and heard, ‘Take your brother!’ ”

Years later, they’re still close – with homes three blocks apart and office desks 10 yards apart – helping to get and keep the lights on.

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