TNMPeople

September 2016: Meet Pete — 'I'm ready if you need me'

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

Pete's tonsils had been removed 10 days before that Saturday in early July of this year. He was enjoying his last couple days off before he returned to his job as a TNMP line crew foreman.

A few thunderstorms had been forecast to stay north around the Red River that day. The storms, however, barreled into Lewisville in the afternoon, knocking down trees and limbs and disrupting power to about 5,000 homes and businesses.

With almost 30 years on the job, Pete instinctively knew the situation. He called his supervisor.

"I said, 'I'm ready if you need me,' " Pete says. "I knew how badly it hit and I knew they were going to need some help."

'Quit worrying about the next one'

Pete went in at about 5 p.m. Before heading home about 18 hours later after more relief arrived, his crew had cleared tree limbs, lifted equipment off the ground and made repairs at six locations to restore power.

Big storms increase emphasis on what already is a foreman's most important role: to ensure that everyone stays safe. On that Saturday and Sunday in Lewisville, as with other storms, that meant staying patient and focused.

"You start looking at it as, 'I'm going to get this job and be safe with this job,' " Pete says. "Quit worrying about the next one or what's after that.

"You realize at that point that you can't get everyone (affected customers) on in two hours. You pace yourself and focus on the job at hand."

Wood-working: 'My wife calls it a cat condo'

Pete and his wife, Tami, were high school sweethearts and much of their free time now is focused on being grandparents. They have five children and six grandchildren – with two more on the way.

He also has a garage with "all kinds" of saws for another passion – wood-working. His work varies from homemade Christmas decorations to converting a book shelf into an enclosed house for the family cats.

"My wife calls it a cat condo," Pete says.

One of their daughters also finds photos of items she likes on Pinterest and shows Pete.

"All I need is a picture and I can build it," he says. "I can build almost anything."

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