Employee Spotlight Wesley
BELLEVUE, Wash. (11/19/2019) The spotlight shines on Wesley a service lineman on Vashon Island.
As we move into storm season our service line workers are one of the first to respond and deal with outages. Wes has been with the company for nine years and he is one of two first responders on the island who gets called out when the power goes out. We want to highlight the hard work and the importance of our first responders and thank them for all they do.
Read more about Wes’ job and the important role he plays during an outage as well as one of his memorable moments and what he likes to do in his free time.
What do you do at PSE, and how long have you been here?
I am a service lineman on Vashon Island, I’ve been with the company for 9 years. It’s myself and one other lineman on the island and we are electric first responders, sort of like firemen for the power company. During storm situations we are the first to look at damage done by wind and or snow to our electrical system. In a lot of cases we are able to make repairs and restore power, but in larger events we end up making a scene safe and refer work to our contractor partners at Potelco. We may be out working for the better part of a week with short rest periods between long hours of work until all of our customers are back in power.
Why did you want to work here?
It was an opportunity to live where I work, I had made a ferry commute for 13 out the 16 years I worked at Seattle City Light, now I live on an island where everyone else commutes off the island but my job is here. It allows me more time with the people I love.
What’s the best or favorite part about your job?
It’s the variety of things you encounter. When you think you’ve seen or learned it all you run into something new. Which in turn gives you more knowledge for your tool box when approaching situations down the line.
What one thing do you need to know really well to do your job?
Man, there are so many more things than just one, but I would say the nature of electricity, being that it is looking for the easiest path to ground…and to stay out of the bite.
What’s most challenging about your job?
Waking up when you’ve just hit REM sleep to respond to an emergency call. I love my job, and this is part of the fun, but you really have to shake the cobwebs out of the brain at that point…coffee helps.J
What are you most proud of PSE for?
I feel supported by my organization, especially my immediate supervision and peers. Vashon is a unique situation, I believe it’s the only PSE territory where you are bound by a ferry boat ride. It’s a small community so you feel responsible for the people you see day in and day out. I have developed a good relationship with contractors and people here on the island after 9 years and PSE backs me up on doing whatever is necessary, safely and within reason, to keep our local customers with power.
What’s one of your most memorable moments while working here?
Many years back my partner at the time, Steve, and myself were trying to remove a broken guy (support) wire from the arm jumper on a hi-line pole. We were taking all the precautions but an old inline insulator in the guy wire moved in such a way where the guy wires went to ground and Steve and I had a pretty loud and vibrant light show that was way too close to the both of us. The breaker at the substation opened and the line de-energized but a fire had started on the ground. In the meantime, we had to empty both of our fire extinguishers and the neighbors brought a hose to help put out the fire. Luckily it was next to a swamp and wasn’t able to spread.
What safety tip applies to your daily work?
No matter how basic a job may seem, have yourself completely cut in before you start your work…complacency is what kills in our trade.
Of PSE’s values, which resonates most with you and why?
“We Do What’s Right” I like this one the most because sometimes our processes get in the way of taking care of our customers, especially on an island. So doing what is necessary while helping the customer wind through the processes is a normal occurrence on Vashon.
Where’s your favorite place to eat?
If we are talking on Vashon Island, probably The Hardware Store, a restaurant that used to be an actual hardware store, and second would be Zamorana, an authentic Mexican restaurant that is always top notch. If we are talking off island, I tend to go towards gastro pubs such as Yard House or Silver City Brewing.
What's your favorite vacation spot? Why?
Port Townsend….I’ve been many places and have enjoyed all of them, but Port Townsend is a close and quiet get away that my wife and I both enjoy.
If you could do any job in the world for one day, what would it be?
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Don’t eat the yellow snow. JActually it would be to treat others as you wish to be treated.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
What do you like to do outside of work? Any interesting hobbies or community service activities?
I have played drums for 30 years and continue to do so in various bands. Saint Ophelia being the one I’m most proud of thus far. And I like to exercise, being physically fit is a constant goal in my life.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
I have wanted to fly ever since I discovered Superman as a young boy.
If you could be on any reality TV show, which would you choose and why?
None! I loathe reality TV in general because it’s mostly not reality.
Who would play you in the movie about your life?
If you’re comfortable sharing, tell us about your family.
I am married to a most wonderful human, her name is Katherine and between us we have 9 children in total- 8 boys and one girl. The oldest of the bunch is 30 and the youngest 12. Needless to say I’m not retiring anytime soon.