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Episode 08 | Safety And… Hunting with Matt Hickey by LAPCO FR

Special Release Episode: National Lineman Appreciation Day

Safety and Hunting:

Lauren sits down with Matt Hickey, Lineman Troubleshooter. Listen as they discuss the Importance of Forming Safety Habits,  a Day in the Life of a Lineworker, and Hunting + Hunter Safety.




0:00:00.8 Lauren Brizendine: Hey, hey, listeners please enjoy this special episode drop for Lineman's Appreciation Day. And to all the men and women lineworkers out there, from all of us here at LAPCO, we thank you.


This podcast is sponsored by LAPCO Manufacturing. LAPCO, premium workwear since 1989.




0:00:38.1 LB: Hello listeners, welcome to "Safety And... " a laughing and learning podcast, where we talk about safety and whatever else is on your mind. I am super excited today because I am joined by our first lineworker, and that is Matt Hickey. How are you?


0:01:03.6 Matt Hickey: I'm very well.


0:01:04.9 LB: Well, again, you are our first lineman, and we are releasing this during Thank a Linemen month or day, I'm not sure exactly when it's gonna come out, but so I do wanna say thank you in addition to being on our show for all that you do because it's that time of year.


0:01:26.4 MH: Well, that's no problem. That's part of the job, and we are thankful and grateful for, I guess, you could say the public or for some people actually kind of recognizing us. Not that we do the job for recognition, but there's a lot of times where you hear a lot of first responders and stuff like that, and we go in there just like them after a disaster or what have you.


0:01:52.7 LB: Well, and I know that linemen have definitely been on the forefront this year with the Texas storms earlier this year. We already have so much to thank you all for, and it’s only been four months. [chuckle]


0:02:08.1 MH: Oh yeah. Well, Louisiana took the brunt of it this past storm season, so they, for sure, know how important it is to be able to rebuild quickly.


0:02:17.8 LB: Definitely. Well, I would like you to tell our listeners a little bit more about what you're doing now. We know you work in linework, you are a troubleshooter, but you've been a lineman. So, I'd like to know a little bit more about that and how you ended up at this point in your career?


0:02:37.4 MH: Okay, so I've been with the local utility for 23 years, I have been on a hotline construction crew, I was there for 13 years. We did everything from energized three-face reconductor to big new construction jobs. The crew that I worked on, we were high voltage bare-hand certified, we maintained the high voltage transmission system for our company. And I've got to do a little bit of it all, I've got a couple of years’ worth of underground experience, so I was able to cross-train, and I'm just really fortunate to be able to be exposed to a lot of aspects of the lineman job. And so doing that, I seek the opportunity to advance, and I left that department, went to another smaller satellite yard, and was just a maintenance and new service lineman. I did that for a few years, and then I was able to promote up to a troubleshooter job. So, I deal with a lot of customers, voltage complaints, outdoor light repairs, outages, stuff like that. And I'm on a call rotation, so every three weeks, I'm the man that goes out in the middle of the night when the power goes out and works in the rain and all that stuff.


0:04:07.3 LB: Oh goodness.


0:04:08.2 MH: I've done a little bit of it all. So, I'm very fortunate to be able to work in my hometown and have a great job that I'm able to provide for my family, so very thankful.


0:04:24.9 LB: I'm wondering what's more dangerous, some of the hazards you've worked in or dealing with customers. When your electricity goes out, it's angering, but do you tell us a little bit more about some of the hazards you face on a daily basis in your line of work and that is definitely a pun intended. I've been waiting to use...




0:04:48.3 LB: I have so many linemen puns in this interview, and I'll try to keep them to a minimum, but I wanna know a little bit more about your hazards. Obviously, arc flash, and you said construction, I can imagine working close to highways, but I really want you to paint the picture for us because it really is a very dangerous line of work. And for those of us who only know, oh, my power went out, it's like the people responsible for fixing it, it's a serious deal. So, I'd like you to paint a little bit more of a picture about some of your daily tasks and some of those hazards that you face?


0:05:33.3 MH: Well, there's hazards everywhere, whether it be from the customer, whether it be from just the environment. When I go out at night from a bad storm, there's broke off limb sometimes over my head. I can't really see if it's nighttime, they can fall on my head and hurt me. I live in Florida, and there's snakes and gators and what have you. I mean, Louisiana, you got the same thing, but it's hazards everywhere.


0:06:02.6 LB: Oh yeah. I'm very familiar with those hazards.


0:06:08.7 MH: And safety is a major, major issue, number one, core of value in our line of work. So, I came up in the early 2000s as far as my apprenticeship and everything, and I worked with a lot of old school, old hands that came up back. The crew that I originally come up on those guys when they were in the late 70s, there were still all-time climbing crew before our company had bucket trucks, so they had some habits, very good habits, they had some sayings and just work practices that they were instilled in their brains to work by, and it was all because of safety and just because you have safety rules, anybody can break them, and if you have good work habits, and train in good work habits, then that's exactly what it is, it's a habit and you lessen your risk of making a mistake. So as a young man, I went to a bull riding school and the instructor was a world champion, and we went there and you always hear the adage practice makes perfect, he was very specific in saying, You know what, guys, you hear that, but if you're doing something the wrong way or with a bad habit, then practice doesn't make perfect.


0:07:40.0 MH: So he would always say, Perfect practice, if you have good form, if you have your body position where you need to be, then perfect practice shows improvement, and I can take that through anything in life, if I'm riding a bicycle, but I'm really trying to lean to one side, I might do it a lot that way and it be uncomfortable, but I'm not doing it in perfect form, so perfect practice shows improvement.


0:08:04.6 LB: Oh, my goodness, I love that. That is such a different perspective, and it makes sense, instead of striving for perfection, just do it the right way and continue to improve.


0:08:16.3 MH: Absolutely.


0:08:17.8 LB: So, another thing, when I think of linework, I think of it as a very reactive profession, right? If something happens, a storm and then you guys go out there, but tell us a little bit more maybe about that, or elaborate on some of the aspects that we might not know about?


0:08:38.5 MH: Well, when you say that as a reactive... That's a pretty good description on... This kind of ties into safety. So there's been accidents and you know, knee-jerk reaction that seems kind of like a real quick fix in the industry, so you hear of an accident and then whether it comes from insurance companies or whether it comes from just safety departments, they want to quickly try and put a real broad blanket safety rule or work practice in place, and if you really go through and investigate the accident, quote unquote accident, whatever happened, a lot of times you see that maybe somebody failed to adhere to the existing safety rules that were in place, so when you say that, the world of safety is reactive, that's absolutely true. I noticed it first hand, and that's kind of frustrating sometimes, because you got 99% of the industry that might do everything the right way, and like you're supposed to by your governing safety rules, but then you got those guys that wanna hot shot things and try just cut a little corner here or I can get away with this right here, and sometimes you get caught and when that happens, it puts the burden on the rest of the industry.


0:10:10.7 MH: And it's a little frustrating for the people who try and do it the way they were taught. And that goes back to training, like I come up with some old school guys and they always had reasons why you didn't do certain things, and it was just because you create that correct habit or that correct work practice, and in that way, if you're doing it the proper way, you don't have to worry about thinking about something all the time, you know, it's just habit, and if I'm doing it, I've trained the right way, do it the right way, and used to doing it, that's my habit.


0:10:48.1 LB: Right, it becomes as easy as breathing or blinking, it's just part of what you do, and like you said, as long as it's the right way to do it, then you'll continue to be successful in improving, I guess, I'm still stuck on your quote, it kinda really took that quote and put it into a different perspective for me, so I love that. I also, when I think of linemen, I think of heroes, just because I know it sounds a little cliche, linemen are heroes, but I mean, y’all really are. When disaster strikes, you guys go out there, most people run away, you guys kind of run to it, do you feel like a hero, or if not, what does it feel like to know that your job affects hundreds of thousands of millions of people in a very high stress situation?


0:11:49.5 MH: Well, it's super gratifying to be able to energize a section of line, and these people have been watching you work in their neighborhood and you'll hear 'em just scream and holler and shout because they've been without the power for two, three, four weeks, and we're able to complete what we can and get as many people back on, and it's very rewarding to hear people's excitement. I went to the very first storm that I worked out of town on, when hurricane Charley came through South Florida, and I was a very young man, and I never experienced anything like that. We rolled through town and huge live oak trees, there's no leaves left on them, the wind had just destroyed the place. We worked really, really hard, it was really hot, and we didn't meet very many rude people, but they were very grateful we were there, and we got a lot of lights on and we didn't have any bad customers at all there. A few years later, Hurricane Katrina, so I went to Hurricane Katrina, I spent three weeks out there, and there was a lot of people that lost everything, total devastation, and we did what we could for the people that we could get back on, and those people were super grateful.


0:13:23.2 MH: And then come here, a couple years ago, Irma destroyed our system, and most of the people were great, we had a few irate customers that were not very understanding and we had help outside, mutual aid help from all over the country, and I was embarrassed when some of them acted out to some of the crews that I was leading around, and that's just kind of the times though, you know what I mean? This generation now people, they just can't handle without that electricity, which I understand, that it's uncomfortable and it's difficult to do some normal everyday things, but you're not necessarily just gonna croak.


0:14:15.3 LB: Yeah, and y'all are getting this done pretty quickly. I mean, you say two weeks, three weeks, and it sounds like a long time because disaster... I feel like is so quick, like a disaster kinda comes in and does its thing and then it's over, but that's actually two or three weeks to get power, I mean that's still a short time to accomplish the things that you guys are accomplishing, so I hear you in understanding that, yeah, people are uncomfortable, but it's still a very short amount of time that you guys are getting this done, getting cities back up and running. I mean when you say it out loud, it's like, I hope people understand. Maybe these are a few moments that you kinda did feel like a hero and maybe there's always those squeaky wheels, I guess.


0:15:09.7 MH: Oh yeah, you're gonna have that. I'll be the first one to tell you, for me it ain't about necessarily going and making the money, but I mean, it kinda is. You know what I mean? I'll go and volunteer for any storm to go because, number one, I get to go to a strange place of work, that's part of just the... To being able to travel and go do work, man, that would be great. When Puerto Rico got destroyed, I men, like crazy trying to get a chance to go down there, it didn't work out for me, but I've been fortunate enough to travel around a little bit, I've done linework from Maine to Texas to Arkansas, so chasing storms and those trips they're about the money, but you're also trying to do your job and due diligence to restore the power to the people as quickly and safely as possible, but I think it's just great to be able to go around and do that. This is my passion. This is what I've been trained to do, I've been blessed to just... I feel like that I can excel in the trade, and I try and pass it on and teach and train and inform even customers, they have no clue, you know, I really enjoyed sharing to those people.


0:16:31.2 LB: Well, let's talk about that a little bit. I mean you said you've been in the business for over 20 years, you've worked in various fields, doing different types of work, also in various places, but what lessons have you learned from being a lineman that maybe someone else who is listening, who may not be a lineman, but they may be able to take this type of lesson with them to their job and to their industry. What has being a lineman taught you over these years?


0:17:04.9 MH: Oh gosh, well, as a young man, I very quickly learned how to get along with other people. Before I went to construction, I was a meter reader at the utility, and those guys, they work by themselves, they just have to go from house to house to house, read the electric meter, enter it in a hand-held device, and they go to the next one, the work part about their job is fighting with the dogs that wanna bite them. So I went to construction, I started on a seven-man crew, and here I am, this 21-year-old punk kid, never had to do a bunch of demanding manual labor, and I'm having to work with these guys four days a week, 10 hours a day at the least, and a couple of them were 60-years-old, have been at the company for over 30 years, they're old school tough and gruff, and that was a big hurdle for me as a young man to overcome that obstacle.


0:18:11.4 LB: Right.


0:18:13.4 MH: And of course, I'm the new guy, nobody ever wants to keep them, they always are terrible, and I had to do a lot of maturing and growing up during that time, but I was gonna say, they're just gonna have to fire me, I'm not gonna quit. And it worked out, I've been able to develop in the trade, and before I left the hot line construction crew, I had the opportunity to... For two years, we got to do quarterly helicopter inspections of our transmission system, so before I left the hot line crew, three and four times a year I was flying in a helicopter for two days and doing inspections, so it's been just wonderful opportunities that I've been able to experience and I've been able to see as far as my utility, all aspects of what you could be exposed to on the trade, so super thankful for that.


0:19:16.4 LB: Well, I don't care what you say, you guys are heroes. If you're flying around, if you're up in the sky and you're out in a storm, that is a hero to me. The more I picture it, the only thing y’all need is just a cape and hey, I design clothes, so I'll send you one in the mail. Speaking of apparel or maybe some other aspects, where do you see opportunities to innovate within your industry? So, it may not just be in gear, but it could be in terms of leadership or getting more training, Where do you see those opportunities?


0:19:53.8 MH: Well, I enjoy the training aspect of it, I actually have the opportunity to help our safety and training department when we have our young apprentice classes, I go and help them learn to climb and learn what to expect out on the construction crews. Also, I'm fortunate enough to help coach our younger guys, we have a state-wide competition in Florida, and our company participates in it, the team that I was on in 2020, we were fortunate enough to win the whole Florida lineman competition and that was...


0:20:41.9 LB: Congratulations.


0:20:43.0 MH: Thank you that wasn't just a solo effort, that was a team effort, and we worked really hard for a few years and we gel really well, and we were able to take the top. And so that being said, since we won it all, we have stepped down, given opportunity for some of the younger guys, and I helped coach the apprentices at our company for that, and last year we were able to have the number one apprentice in the State of Florida win the competition for the apprentices. I'm pretty proud about that. It was a young man's first year ever competing and it was just an awesome feeling. And because of COVID, they did not have the competition this year, but I think it's real important to be able to teach those guys, and it ain't just run up, get the job done and come back down. It's the way that the structure of the events are, safety is the number one goal and good work practice is the number one goal, if you drop an item or if you get between two different potentials, then you know that's a deduction, and it doesn't matter what your time is, if you get a deduction, you went from first to worst.


0:22:03.8 MH: So, those young guys that utilize that opportunity to better themselves, that's something that can take on through their whole career, and I think that's a really great opportunity for them, if they're willing to take advantage of it. You have some guys who just are there for a paycheck, they don't care, they don't wanna excel, and I think that that training is a big, big, big part of the safety and future of our industry. Now, I'm one of those tool guys, I really like to read magazines and see what the latest tool is, and I collect them and if it's pertinent to my job, I'll try and get a hold of it, so whether it be a demo or whatever, and there's a lot of great tools and devices that's come out, and then there's some that, man, they don't directly apply to my everyday job, so I'm not sure if they're exactly pertinent, but hey, I'm all about that safety equipment, I like to go to trade shows and see what the latest and greatest thing is, and I'll think about things and Hey, would this really work? And a lot of them have, there's been some great innovations as far as safety equipment and tools and even apparel, so I've been fortunate enough to know Lani from LAPCO and she hooked us up with these awesome...


0:23:37.1 LB: Shout out to Lani.


0:23:39.1 MH: That's right, she hooked us up with these awesome Base layer shirts, they're jam up warm base layer under garments.


0:23:47.4 LB: Definitely. Well, you are talking about some awesome things, I wanna go back a little bit to the linemen's rodeo. Hey, if anyone listening has an opportunity to go to a linemen's rodeo, do it, because it's insane to see you guys climb up. We went there and it was fun, we got to ride up in a bucket truck and got to watch all the events. And just not only are you guys heroes, but true athletes, the events are really cool to watch, it was such a great experience as a... Just someone able to attend, I couldn't even imagine being able to participate and then win, and then just that you talk about giving back. I think that's very important, as I've been talking to everyone through this podcast, there is a theme of, I'm experienced in my field, and the next step for me in my career is to train that next generation and to share my knowledge, 'cause that's part of what our podcast is about. Not just knowledge sharing cross-industry, but even within your own industry, so everything you just said was just so spot on for sure.


0:25:10.5 MH: Well, part of that whole… in that competition, it's opened some awesome doors, awesome opportunities, just networking with guys within the trade that if it hadn't been for being able to go to those competitions, I've got some really close friends that I would have probably never met if it hadn't been the opportunity to participate in it, and life-long fiends. And we still to this day some of them will call me and say hey, what's your company stance on X, Y and Z procedure or how do you guys handle this certain situation with whatever type of voltage issue or even as far as construction specs on, how do you guys build whatever space and for whatever structure or whatever? So, that whole network and aspect, I think that is what's really starting to move the industry as far as safety.


0:26:15.0 LB: Definitely.


0:26:16.0 MH: Being able to network, get other people's ideas, other people's experiences, and before it was kind of every little outfit is kept to themself, they only wanted to worry about themselves and not necessarily care whatever about anybody else did, and that whole being able to network with others is... You gotta be able to see 'cause there's other people with that experience, the issue is that you might not all be experienced.


0:26:41.1 LB: And we talked about this in a previous show I did with another guest, but not everyone has all the answers. So, I think networking and community are very important because we don't know everything, and to your point we can share those experiences, so I love hearing about that, that's great. Well, I am going to start segueing into our end topic and we are talking about... I don't know if I said it at the beginning of the show, but we are talking about safety and hunting today, so in addition to hunting, what other types of hobbies do you have?


0:27:24.0 MH: Well, I feel like that I'm pretty… am an just all-around outdoors man, I love hunting and fishing and just... We've got some awesome lakes and springs and rivers to go and just go and hang out for the weekend and just with the family and friends, and we go and do all kind of stuff. In my younger days we used to go and play in the mud at Mud Park and riding the four wheelers and destroying them.


0:27:54.6 LB: I love it.


0:27:55.4 MH: Yeah, there's limitless weekend activities to do down here.


0:28:00.5 LB: Well, in the South too, hunting and fishing in Louisiana, I think that's literally our tagline, like Sportsman Paradise.


0:28:08.2 MH: Okay, Sportsman Paradise.


0:28:09.2 LB: Yeah. So, you are definitely with good company here. But I'm going to close on just a really fun question I like to ask everyone before we really dive into some more on hunting, but if you could have dinner with three people living or dead, real or fictional, who would they be and why?


0:28:38.7 MH: So, this one is a stumper.


0:28:41.8 LB: Yeah, I tell people, if you give me one good one or if you give me 10 terrible ones it's still okay, there's no right answer or wrong answer here, I love this, it makes me... I think it says a lot about a person without having to ask questions like oh, what are you into or whatever? So, I'm curious as to what you have to say.


0:29:05.0 MH: Well, I'm always interested in learning how things work, why things work, and I also like to wonder and question what were they thinking in some things, you can always watch these funny clips on the internet and something hilarious happens and you're like, what were they thinking to get into that situation? So, the number one person that I would love to have dinner with and just ask them what were they thinking would be Nikola Tesla.


0:29:44.5 LB: Yes.


0:29:46.0 MH: He was intelligent, super intelligent and wanted to try and do wireless energy. He was smart enough to understand electricity and how it works, and I just would love to just pick his brain and how he thought that he would be able to transmit energy through the air and be able to provide the load. I understand we can get wireless internet but that's just data and information but just to really fathom how he thought that he could transmit power or electricity would be what I would wanna just ask him, you know.


0:30:33.6 LB: Oh my gosh and bonus that it tied into your profession just so you know, that is fantastic. I actually got to ride in a Tesla this weekend and my mind is still blown a little bit, it's not even a car it's a computer, it's like riding around in a computer. There are still no words because it was such an awesome experience, not just from the technical aspect that you're talking about but just from the aesthetics and the whole idea of innovation, it was phenomenal. So, invite me over...


0:31:14.0 MH: Yeah, make some shot with the rides.


0:31:15.2 LB: Invite me over when you have dinner with him.


0:31:18.9 MH: That's sounds good, we can do that.


0:31:19.0 LB: 'Cause I have some questions too. [chuckle] Anyone else that you have on your list?


0:31:29.7 MH: I would love to sit down with Donald Trump and just talk with him, and see how he is able to deal with the pressure and all the negativity, and in my opinion, some of the wrong doings that he was dealt, you know what I mean? And for him to still be a mogul and just all that he's accomplished through his life, I feel like that he's a very intelligent man.


0:31:58.5 LB: Yes.


0:32:01.4 MH: And to be able to kinda feel like he can answer a lot of questions just off the cuff, and he would not be scared to get in the discussion. Answer our Question, I mean that man's got quite a mind, so I would just just love to just visit with him and get, I guess you could say, advice on how he handles situations.


0:32:27.9 LB: Yes. And I would say to any figure that's controversial, right? Because he's definitely controversial.


0:32:36.8 MH: Oh Absolutely.


0:32:37.9 LB: That's part of the intrigue to me is, to spur up so much discussion and passion within people, there's definitely something about you that needs to be explored, so awesome choice.


0:32:55.2 MH: Yeah. That would be about it.


0:32:57.9 LB: Or just two. Yeah.


0:32:58.6 MH: Yeah Just two. I'd say, that was a pretty good one though, now that I think of it.


0:33:01.5 LB: Those are good too. Like I said, I'll send you a link to my schedule, so that you make sure to invite me, whenever they come over.


0:33:08.6 MH: There you go.


0:33:10.0 LB: Alright.



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0:34:20.6 LB: Alright, welcome back listeners. I am here with Matt Hickey, who is just kind of blowing my mind with all of your lineman expertise and your story, and we are gonna start talking about safety and hunting, so if I'm being honest, I am not a hunter, okay? I don't know if it gives it away, if you can tell, but obviously, I know a lot of our listeners are hunters, I have brothers, I have uncles. And it is very necessary to balancing the ecosystem, so although I don't do it, I am definitely a supporter, but what got you into hunting, is it more for sport, survival, or is the ecosystem balance very important to you? How did you get into hunting?


0:35:13.1 MH: Well, it's kind of a mankind historical thing.


0:35:20.9 LB: Yeah, it's like in your DNA almost.


0:35:22.9 MH: Yeah, growing up, my family, my dad, he was an avid hunter, and it was not necessarily the trophy, it was providing for the family, I really enjoy the bounty that we get. I love to eat venison, I love to eat wild turkey and I share that with my two young boys, they both have been able to harvest some deer, they've both been able to harvest some turkeys and we enjoy that as a family together, the fruits of our labor because you have to put work in. You have to prepare the place.


0:36:04.6 LB: Definitely.


0:36:05.2 MH: And you have to put your work into your scouting, pick that great place, prepare it for your ambush or... And it's just... I mean, the trophy is great, don't get me wrong. I had the opportunity to take my kids out-of-state hunting to actually, a friend I met through linework, he actually came and worked for us during Hurricane Irma, and we just became buddies and kept in touch, and he invited me up to come deer hunting with him, and I said, Hey, you know? My boys are old enough to where we've been able to get a couple of deer at the house now, can we go up there to your place and hopefully get a good one? He said, Absolutely. And you know what? Both of my kids were able to harvest great trophy animals, and just the camaraderie and spending time with a buddy of mine in the trade was great, and it was just an awesome experience, and I can just be thankful that through my job I've been able to meet some great people and open up some awesome opportunities.


0:37:19.5 LB: Yeah, I love that you talk about the bonding aspect, because I would say if I were to start hunting, the first person you think of is kind of like, I would wanna go with my dad, or I'd wanna go with my brother, so it does seem like it is a great way to connect through an activity that is a very... Safety is tied to hunting for sure.


0:37:44.6 MH: Oh, absolutely.


0:37:45.3 LB: And To your point, it has a lot of different aspects, like you were saying, preparing a place, and even once it's killed, cleaning and so it's really more than just a sport. It's an experience that you can share with your family and friends. For sure.


0:38:05.0 MH: So that's part of being able to pass that along to my kids. When they were younger, I would go hunting and they always would wanna go and I had to... You have to lay the groundwork. They have to be prepared to sit out there that long, they had to be prepared to be able to handle the firearm or whatever device you're utilizing and that's all... was put in stone or put in place, way, way early in life, both of my boys, they started from a young age being able to shoot a kind of rifle or BB gun, and when I realized that they were responsible enough and had the physical ability to handle themselves in a safe way, then they were able to step up to a little bit stronger guns. So, you're absolutely right, Safety is a big part of it.


0:39:01.0 LB: Yeah. Definitely tell us more about... I was going to ask, as someone who's technically never been hunting, I would like to know a little bit more about the safety basics because, I'm sure you mentioned some of them, but gear safety, environmental safety, general awareness. What are some other tips for people who have not been hunting or what are some of the first lessons you learn in hunting?


0:39:30.7 MH: Well, general firearm safety that I take for granted because it was instilled in me as a youngster, as a child, and so I knew that I needed to make sure my kids were the same way, it needs to be habit for them to maintain that firearm in a safe direction. And when they were really young, we would be out, they would be shooting a pellet rifle. Well, that's the way I remind them, hey where are you pointing that thing? Then they became aware of. Well, the older one, at one time he said, Well, it's not loaded, I said son, it doesn't matter. You can't have the habit of just because it's unloaded, I'm gonna point it wherever, you got to have it in a safe direction, then if God forbid, an accident happens, it's gonna be in a safe direction.


0:40:31.8 LB: Well, it kinda comes full circle about what you were saying about perfect practice shows improvement, really instilling very good habits in safety, whether it's in your professional life or in more of a hobby, like hunting. So, I like that you're just bringing it full circle. You're making it very easy for me, so I appreciate that.


0:40:56.5 MH: Well, that's it. My first week on construction, really old guy, I didn't understand the importance of the rubber gloves, I was just a ground man at the time, I wasn't an apprentice lineman yet. And was issued PPE, gotta pair of rubber gloves and didn't have any idea of what I was getting. I grabbed 'em and I chunked them in a bin, and oh boy, big mistake, that old gruff man pulled me to the side, and he said, that right there is your life saver, he said every day, life or death situation in those hands, those gloves are important, and you take care of them, and it took me a little while to understand. But now where I'm at now, I'm like, Yeah, you know what? He's right, I can't just take for granted. They gotta test date on it, they should be good, if I've been abusing them, then there's the avenue for an accident to happen. We also have proper work practices, I'm not working in between two different potentials, and then that's part of your work habits also but still, if for that one accidental misstep or I brushed up against a different potential, and I've taken care of my gloves, so my gloves are in still good shape, so that's just precaution of taking care of your equipment and your PPE.


0:42:24.9 MH: So just like the guns, just like with my kids, you know what I mean? You can't beat and destroy your equipment, you can't. Them boys, they don't trash their guns around, we know our safety devices on the guns work.


0:42:39.5 LB: Well, I love that you brought up the point about not taking safety for granted because I've probably joked a little too lightly that, I in my life might not have the safest of habits, right? Because I don't work in linework or I work in an office, but it really has opened my eyes to how much you do take it for granted and how important it really is. And I've loved that through this podcast, even me in my personal life, like you talked about gloves, and I actually bought my first pair of gloves and goggles the other day, and I've been using them in yard work and I'm so proud of myself 'cause I feel like I'm improving in my safety habits, so I love that you just kinda tie that in, I feel that in my core right now.


0:43:34.7 MH: Well, that variable of I can do everything right, I can have all of my safety gear in check, but then you got Murphy's Law in our line of work. We're working on the side of the road sometimes, and all I've got is an orange cone to protect me quote unquote to protect me, sometimes we're right on the side of highway and all it takes is for some idiot to not pay attention or some idiot to be intoxicated and run into the back of that truck. And when we have our Tailgate Safety meetings, we talk about that topic as far as watching out for traffic hazards, don't make it a habit to be standing right there at the back of the truck while you're watching a man in the air work. We're standing off to the side and try and stay away from the flow of traffic. And there's always that unknown or that variable, you can take out as many as you can with good work practices, safe work practices, good PPE, but there's still that unknown there, you still got the public or whatever as hazards. Unknown hazards, unforeseen hazards.


0:44:49.9 LB: No, definitely throw it in because, I'll be honest, this has been an incredible interview, this has been so insightful, and I really do wanna say thank you because everything that you've offered up, whether it was about your linework or just the importance of safety in hunting and kind of the importance of giving back. Everything you've talked about has really just added to the fact that this whole Think alignment thing is so important, like what you guys do. I think you've painted a really good picture of what it's like, and I don't know if you ever said you felt like a hero, you kind of seem humbled, but I truly think you guys are heroic to me, and you've really told that story in this interview, and I've enjoyed every single minute of it, I really have. It's been definitely one of my favorites to date.


0:45:50.7 MH: Hey, it's great, it's my pleasure to take the time and share, and it's just a lot of people that come and say thanks. And we were in Louisiana working after Katrina, and there were some folks there that... I don't know what their home looked like, but the area we're in a lot of people have lost almost everything. And this family came up to us working and said, Hey, we made a bunch of these Tuna fish sandwiches, and y'all are more welcome and tried to give us, and we were like, No, no. The place we're staying at there, we've got food, we're here to help you all. I don't know what… they had lost everything, but you just feel for those people, and they were so grateful for us being there, but hey, I'm there to do my job. That's what I get paid to do. And yeah, I enjoyed being there as far as, man, we got a lot of lights on and I got to make some overtime, but it's touching when those people step out of their comfort zone to show their thanks and that's good enough for me. I ain't gonna take nothing from people. Some of them lost everything and they're coming up there, Hey, is there any way we're gonna get power so we can at least... They had a tent set up where they're mobile home was at, and they had a tent, and they just wanted their power on so they could run their wells, so they could have running water.


0:47:36.2 MH: At that place, we did everything we could, I think we straight up their meter pole, and repaired some stuff on it, just so they could get running water because man, just imagine losing everything you own, just like if somebody goes through a house fire or something, but man there were thousands of homes that were destroyed right there in that little county we were in or Parish and it was just... And you wanna do so much, but then there's some places, the people are there, we can't help them. It was just because there was nothing for them to come home to, they weren't there and those accounts, you couldn't leave them on, but it was... To see that amount of devastation and those people just being so thankful. Man, it touches your heart because...


0:48:24.1 LB: Well, that's kind of how I feel with this interview, like I feel very emotionally involved in this one, I have moments of emotion in every interview, but I certainly, from everyone at LAPCO and from just a person in the community who consumes electricity and power, thank you. It really, truly has been an emotional conversation, and I do feel your humility, and I also recognize the value of what you guys and girls contribute to us as a society, and I wouldn't say, You take power for granted, but it's not until that disaster happens that you realize just how fortunate we are to be where we are sometimes.


0:49:20.5 MH: Oh yeah absolutely.


0:49:22.4 LB: So, it's been very emotional, so I don't wanna cry, so we're just gonna jump into the fun thing because it's a lot of hard strings pulling at me, but I do like to close all of our interviews with something fun, so you've obviously heard me say the word hero a few times, so we are going to play a game called, Name That superhero. Now, I am not sure if you are familiar with Marvel and DC and all of that. I certainly am not. I know we have listeners that are. I mean if it's not like Superman and Wonder Woman, I'm like, that's as far as I go. So, I'm glad that you're playing this and not me, but I will give you three aspects of a certain character and we'll just see if you know who that character is. Does that sound fun?


0:50:25.3 MH: I'm on it.


0:50:26.3 LB: You're gonna...


0:50:26.8 MH: Yeah, I will try.


0:50:27.5 LB: You're gonna do fine, I promise. You're gonna do better than me, in fact, I did when I found the quiz, I knew a few, so if I knew a few and you would definitely be fine, and if you want, I can give you multiple choice, so I'm here to support you.


0:50:45.0 MH: Yeah, yeah that would be better.


0:50:46.9 LB: Okay. I'll give you some multiple choice and that'll make it easier for you. Okay, so this is called, Name That superhero.


Do you know what hero is over 150 years old, spent years training in Japan and has a bad habit, speaking of habits, of smoking cigars, is the hero:


Hal Jordan,


Black Widow

or Wolverine?


0:51:25.6 MH: You totally have me stumped.


0:51:27.9 LB: I mean, I can give you a hint, there's a button for hint. Oh God, it just took me to a different question. That's not a hint. I can give you a hint based on just what I know, or what I'm seeing, but Hugh Jackman has played him in the movies based on this character.


0:51:55.9 MH: Yeah, so when I was in high school, I worked at a video rental place, so it kinda dates my age a little bit, but yeah. So, after that, I kind of was really burnt out on movies and I don't watch too many movies anymore, so I have no idea.


0:52:13.3 LB: You know what? We are related because I am the same way.


0:52:20.7 MH: Yeah, I have not the least idea. I don't think it's Batman because I don't think he smoked the cigar. I don't know who Black Widow is. The first one, I didn't even know who that character is either. But I'm just gonna guess A, the first one.


0:52:41.9 LB: It was Hal Jordan, but the correct answer was The Wolverine and...


0:52:51.1 MH: Really?


0:52:51.4 LB: Yes. It says, "Even though Hugh Jackman doesn't look it, when he played Wolverine in X-Men movies, he was playing a very old man." So, I guess I never thought that. He does kinda look old, now that I think about it. Yeah, I bet all of our...


0:53:10.2 MH: You got me there.


0:53:11.2 LB: No, you're gonna get some. I know you will.




0:53:14.5 MH: The younger generations are screaming at their headphones right now.


0:53:17.7 LB: I'm pretty sure, I can name a few people that are like, "Oh my gosh, it's Wolverine, it's Wolverine." But, okay, I think you're gonna know this one 'cause it's a little bit older school, right?


So, do you know which hero flies in an invisible jet, was created in 1941 and was a founding member of the Justice League? Is it


Wonder Woman,


The Flash,

or Aquaman?




0:53:57.2 LB: No, I feel like you can get this one.


0:54:01.8 MH: I've no idea.


0:54:04.8 LB: Like 1941. I feel like that's a pretty big clue to this one. So, it's an older... Well, I guess they're all kind of older now that I look at the options. [chuckle]


0:54:13.8 MH: They're all kinda old. I just don't remember any of them specifically flying in an invisible jet.


0:54:22.9 LB: I'll give you a hint based on what I know is, this superhero, is also... Their weapon of choice would be a Lasso.


0:54:35.7 MH: That would be Wonder Woman.


0:54:36.5 LB: Yes, yes. There you go. See. I think they need to add maybe a fourth thing to kinda help out because...


0:54:46.8 MH: Well, anybody who's read comic books or whatever would probably clue right in on it. I just didn't do that when I was younger. [chuckle]


0:54:55.5 LB: Yeah, well, okay. You know what? I have a good feeling about this, and we have a couple more. Okay, and I know...


0:55:02.1 MH: That's fine. No problem.


0:55:04.8 LB: I don't even know if this one's DC or Marvel. So that's why I'm like, I think you're gonna get this one. But,


Who's the hero who is not bound by death, can actually be different people depending on the time and place, and exists to right a wrong that happened during life. So, the multiple choice are:



The Crow,

Professor X,

or The Thing?


0:55:44.1 MH: Well, The Crow I think can turn into other people or...


0:55:56.8 LB: So, you're thinking The Crow.


0:55:58.4 MH: I'm thinking that. I'm just gonna guess that one too.


0:56:03.3 LB: Alright. You see, I knew you were gonna get one right. Yes, it is definitely The Crow. It says that, according to the story, he could bring spirits back to set right something that was wrong. And it's been a long time since I've seen that movie, and I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it's a little bit of a darker character. But I was like, "I know he's gonna know this one." Okay. Let's see. We'll close on one more, and I think I have a good feeling about this one as well.


0:56:37.3 MH: Okay.


0:56:39.3 LB: This hero was orphaned as a child, has no superpowers, and fights a massive number of very unusual criminals on a regular basis. Is it





or Iceman?


0:57:02.5 MH: Let's see. I'm kind of at a loss. I did see Batman when I was young, the one was Michael Keaton, and I don't know if there's a reference to him being or not having parents or something. I'm gonna guess Batman.


0:57:17.8 LB: Yes, you are correct. Okay, so was that the only Batman that you've seen was the Michael Keaton one?


0:57:24.4 MH: Yeah, that's right. I haven't seen any of the others one.


0:57:26.8 LB: I was gonna ask you who was your favorite, but he was by far one of the best. You see, I knew you were gonna get them right. You did fantastic, and most importantly, you were a great sport. So, I really appreciate you playing our superhero game.


0:57:47.2 MH: Oh, man, it was great. I was having to think, trying to rack my brain, but hey, I don't mind a bit.


0:57:52.5 LB: Yeah. Well, I think it's always a nice palate cleanser, 'cause sometimes in these safety discussions, like we talked about earlier, they can get emotional. They can bring up the kind of the shadowy side of what we do. I say what we do, what safety professionals do, or linemen do, or those tied to safety. So, I think it's nice to have a bit of a palate cleanser. Something you can kind of, if your kids are listening in the car, maybe even something they can enjoy too. So, I appreciate you playing with us.


0:58:25.3 MH: Yeah, that ain't no problem. Like you said, there's always that disconnect between safety professional side and then the actual blue-collar guys that are in the field getting it done. There's a lot of people that are in that side, the safety side, that might not have quite as much hands-on experience, and that's a difficult pill to swallow when you're a blue-collar guy like me. And I've got this department cramming these requirements or restrictions down my throat, and I know that I can accomplish the task safely and efficiently but then just because of, say, insurance requires this head and shoulders above task to happen before I can just go out there and do the job or accomplish a task, that's a tough pill for the hands-on guy to swallow and that's kind of a disconnect right there. You always get that head button going on, so to be able to break it up, have a little entertainment that's... I agree with you. That works out very well.


0:59:49.7 LB: Yeah, well, I'm glad you enjoyed it, because I certainly enjoyed the conversation, and I really appreciate it. And thank you again. I feel like hero and thank you, are like the two words I probably overused during this podcast, but at least it's not excited. My dad's like, "You always say you're so excited." So, there are some new words for me on this show.


1:00:15.3 MH: Hey, that's no problem. I enjoyed it, it was great, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to be able to share it with you.


1:00:23.8 LB: Special thanks to Matt Hickey, linemen troubleshooter for talking with us today about safety and hunting.




1:00:38.5 LB: If you enjoyed listening to the "Safety And... " podcast today, be sure to like, review, or subscribe wherever you get your podcast. Also, if you're interested in being guest on our show, please email, that's Since this is a safety podcast, we should probably mention this disclaimer, the "Safety And... " podcast is recorded and made available by LAPCO Manufacturing, Inc. Solely for informational and entertainment purposes. The statements, comments, views, and opinions expressed in this podcast should not be considered by any listener as professional provision and/or direct a specific course of action. The statements, comments, views, and opinions expressed here including by speakers who are not employees or agents of LAPCO are not necessarily views of LAPCO and may not be current. This podcast may not be reproduced, redistributed, published, copied, or duplicated in any form by any means without prior consent from LAPCO Manufacturing, Inc.

This is Lauren Brizendine with LAPCO. And remember, safety doesn't happen by accident, so stay safe and see you next time on the "Safety And... " podcast.

This "Safety And... " podcast is produced by LAPCO Manufacturing with marketing and media by Lauren Brizendine and Tiffany Giroir, audio engineering by Christopher Hamlin, and music by Smokehouse Beats. That was easy, cool.