• Three join La Plata Electric Association as Apprentice Linemen


    Training program is designed to build strong Operations team for the future

    Riley Christensen, Michael Messier and Ty Mortensen have been named to the Apprentice Lineman program at La Plata Electric Association (LPEA), working toward earning their Journeyman Lineman and joining the profession responsible for constructing and maintaining electric power distribution lines and facilities.

    All three apprentice linemen are Colorado natives and graduates of Mesa Hotline School in Grand Junction, Colo. Christensen and Mortensen graduated in May 2013, while Messier completed the program in 2009.

    Working out of LPEA’s Pagosa office, Christensen is from Monte Vista, Colo. He comes from a long heritage of linemen, and once earning his Journeyman will be the fourth generation to continue the family tradition.

    “I have always wanted to be a lineman,” said Christensen, who enjoys hunting and fishing in his spare time. “I’m very happy to be here at LPEA. I like it and I’m learning a lot.”

    The grandson of the family who owned Lori’s Family Dining locations in Durango, Mortensen was born and raised in Alamosa, Colo. An avid athlete, Mortensen is also an Eagle Scout – experience that has served him well in the lineman training.

    “I have an uncle who’s a lineman in Alamosa for Xcel Energy and we have the same mentality and personality,” said Mortensen, who is based in Durango. “He loves the job and I thought it would be great for me.”

    Born and raised in Del Norte, Colo., and now based in Durango, Messier has most recently served with San Luis Valley Rural Electric as a meter reader, awaiting the opportunity to enter an apprentice lineman program. He also worked as a contractor in Craig, Colo., which afforded him experience in line construction.

    “One of my cousins went to Hotline School and told me I should try it, as he thought I’d like it,” said Messier, who studied at Fort Lewis College and is also an avid outdoorsman. “I like to work with my hands. In the program we go out and work with the equipment, and then come back and read about it.”

    LPEA’s program is sanctioned by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as well as the Department of Labor. The four-year apprentice program includes working on-the-job with mentor linemen in the field, as well as simultaneous scholastic study in the evenings, and written examinations.

    “Employer-sponsored apprenticeship programs are the best educational and training tools our industry ever invented,” said Greg Munro, LPEA CEO. “It’s an excellent process for perfecting the professional and highly-skilled work trades our industry requires.”

    LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with in excess of 42,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible. For further information, visit www.lpea.coop.

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