(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Restoring power caused by weather variables and other factors is a high-risk challenge, and it is a job that Texas State Technical College Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology alumnus Luis Polanco is committed to.
The service that he provides as a lineman apprentice with the Brownsville Public Utilities Board gives him satisfaction.
“My job duty gives an enormous relief to communities and businesses,” he said. “I have been with the company for one year, and I love it. The work culture is engaging, and the camaraderie in my crew is amazing. I learn something new every day. My future goal is to become a certified lineman.”
Polanco graduated from the program with a certificate of completion in August 2021 before his career began.
His interest in the field was first sparked when severe winter weather impacted Texas two years ago.
“The electrical lineworkers worked hard to restore the lights and power where I lived,” he said. “Their diligence fascinated me.”
That event was the starting point that influenced Polanco’s decision to enroll at TSTC.
“I was looking for a new type of job,” he said. “My first choice was to study the Wind Energy Technology program because my uncle has experienced success in that industry,” he said. “Then I found out about the Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology program when I performed an online search. The details of working outside, climbing a pole and working directly with electricity appealed to me.”
The San Benito resident credited his success to his instructors at TSTC.
“My instructors made the education interesting by explaining topics such as the transformer connections and replacing the crossarms,” he said. “There were times that (instructor) Candelario (Deanda) challenged us with pole competitions. Those are designed to condition our body. Other moments were at the end of the class. Many students stayed behind to talk to him about his work experience.”
Polanco said his favorite training was a transfer exercise.
“The SuperSqueeze is a belt that’s part of the pole-climbing gear,” he said. “It’s designed to prevent a person from falling. That training involves going through obstacles such as fiber or system cables to get to a transformer. By doing so, that person has to cross the cables and use a secondary rope. The purpose is to get accustomed to circumstances that may happen while working on the pole.”
Deanda said Polanco enjoyed learning and was always the first to volunteer.
“Luis has immaculate leadership skills,” he said. “That work ethic and communication will lead him to further success with the Brownsville PUB.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical power-line installers and repairers can earn an average annual salary of $63,770 in Texas. Onetonline.org projected that there would be a 24% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion in Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology at its Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses.
The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds a participating graduate’s tuition if he or she has not found a job in their field within six months of graduation.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.