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Celebrating Women in the Electrical Lineman Trade

The history of women in the utility trade, specifically as power lineworkers, is characterized by resilience, perseverance, and determination. Despite facing skepticism and resistance, these trailblazing women proved their worth and paved the way for future generations of women in the utility trade.

The American Lineman Book by Alan Drew notes that the communication industry took the first steps towards allowing women to work as lineworkers. The Bell System was the first to employ women as linemen and splicers. Power companies also started hiring women for entry-level positions, such as groundman and apprentice lineman. These power companies created climbing schools for internal employees, encouraging women to participate to understand the full scope of the job. Two of the most notable women who made strides in the trade were Sharon Roswell, the first female to carry the title of Lineman in the 1970s, and Susan Blaser, the first female lineman for Kansas City Power and Light, in 1992.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, DragonWear is proud to highlight the extraordinary women breaking down barriers and making their mark in the electrical linework industry. These pioneering women are scaling powerline poles, working in various weather conditions, rewriting the narrative, and inspiring the next generation of lineworkers. We had the opportunity to interview two women in the field to learn about their journey, passion, and what inspired them to pursue a career in the electrical lineman trade.

Interviews with Women in the Electrical Lineman Trade

Meet Paige Spietz, Journeyman Lineman

DragonWear: "Can you share a bit about yourself and how you began your journey as a power lineworker?"

Paige: "I'm Paige Spietz, and I'm a journeyman lineman for a large utility in Missouri. As a kid, my dreams revolved around basketball, and I never imagined a career in linework. I started my college career at the University of Missouri and finished my time at the University of San Francisco (Go Dons!). There, I earned a BS in Environmental Science and ended up moving home to Missouri for a job as a utility forester, where I planned routine circuit trimmings for the utility I work for today.

Working around powerlines sparked my interest in learning more. I was fortunate enough to work around some of the linemen in the shops and ended up applying to line school at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City. After a year there, I applied to multiple utilities and landed a job as an apprentice in the Kansas City Metro. After a four-year apprenticeship, I earned my journeyman ticket with IBEW 1464."

DragonWear: "What inspired you to pursue a career in power linework? Were there any role models or mentors who influenced your decision?"

Paige: "As a former athlete, I knew I wanted my career to be physically and mentally demanding. The challenge of learning how to do linework was appealing, and I knew I wanted more for myself in terms of an occupation.

Being a female is still considered an oddity in the trade. When I was tossing around the idea of going to line school, my dad never took that into consideration. He definitely inspired me, as he never saw my gender as a hindrance to what he thought I was capable of."

DragonWear: "What advice would you give to other women aspiring to become power lineworkers?"

Paige: "My advice would be to find a line school and get some experience around the trade. See if it's something you're interested in, and if it is, go all in. Being a woman doesn't limit you in linework if you don't let it. Being strong mentally and physically is super important."

DragonWear: "Can you share a moment in your career that made you particularly proud to be a power lineworker?"

Paige: "Not necessarily one particular moment. Working storms and having people show gratitude when you get the lights on is one of my favorite things. The "thank you's" go a long way when you're working long shifts on little sleep. This always reminds me why I love being a lineman."

DragonWear: "In celebration of International Women's Day, what message would you like to convey to other women considering a career in power linework?"

Paige: "Work hard and earn it. If it's something you enjoy, give it your all. It's worth the effort. There is a great sense of pride that comes with being a female journeyman lineman."

DragonWear: "What kind of impact do you hope to leave for future generations of women in the industry?"

Paige: "My hope is that I can help more women get into the industry and have successful careers. I also hope to help bridge the gap between college athletics and the trades. So many women and men play sports in college with no real end game in mind. Linework is a great fit for women who have an athlete's mindset and great work ethic."

Meet Sammi Jensen, Apprentice Lineman

As we strive for gender empowerment in the workplace, let's ensure that every person, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to pursue their dreams and make a lasting impact in their chosen field.

About DragonWear

All DragonWear® FR fabrics are inherently flame-resistant, tested in-house and at independent state-of-the-art laboratories, and pass relevant industry certifications. We use advanced proprietary fabric technology to support our design philosophy that comfort and protection are inclusive elements. Our products offer the ultimate breathable, moisture-wicking performance without sacrificing water-resistant durability and wind-repellant warmth. The permanent fire-resistant protection won't melt, drip, or wear off and cannot be washed away. Designing and delivering a quality garment each and every time is essential to the vitality of our products and our overarching mission to support and protect a customer base that operates in life-risking environments every day.