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Left: Brad Shrum, KAMO Power transmission lineman and father Steve Shrum, East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative superintendent. Photo by Gail Banzet-Ellis


Steve Shrum and son Brad


Steve Shrum discovered his love for line work while in the maintenance department at East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative. He joined East Central in 1979 to train as a meter technician and worked his way up to the current role of superintendent. “Going wide open, getting people’s power back on, finding problems and solving them, and getting lines back up—that all gets in your blood,” he said. Memorable weather events shaped Steve’s career such as an ice storm in 2000 that affected the Checotah and Muskogee, Oklahoma, areas. He had been in charge of his crew for six months and had a lot to learn. We had around 1,200 to 1,500 poles on the ground, but we got through it and got the power back on in a timely fashion,” he said. Steve has seen many storms since then, but he isn’t the only one in his family to brave the elements and fix lines. His son, Brad, has worked six years in transmission for KAMO Power in Muskogee. “My tools and work truck were always at the house, and I’m sure he tried on my hooks or tried to climb a pole growing up,” Steve said. “I wasn’t going to push him toward line work, but I can’t tell you how proud I am of him.”


As a kid, Brad rode with his dad on service calls learning tasks such as reading and checking voltage, but he hadn’t considered becoming a line- man. After college, he worked in other fields but wanted to find a career instead of a job.


“I called dad for advice,” Brad said. “Those times he let me ride along,


I saw and learned a lot. It’s something I’ll never forget.” Brad graduated from High Voltage Lineman School at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee and completed several internships to launch his career at KAMO. Although father and son are employed at different companies, they work closely in the same rural areas. “We’ve had some learning experiences. It’s been fun and rewarding,”


Steve said. 8 WWW.OKL.COOP


Guy Dale, Choctaw Electric Cooperative safety and loss control director and son, Dustin Dale, Lamar Electric Cooperative lineman. Courtesy photo


Guy Dale and son Dustin


First generation lineman Guy Dale is a 26-year veteran of Choctaw Electric Cooperative who served 15 of those years on a lineman crew. Today, as safety and loss control director, he manages Choctaw’s fleet transformer meter department along with purchasing, dispatch, ware- house operations and more. Guy chose the career field because he liked working with electricity and he wanted to stay local. “It’s constantly a mental challenge,” he said. “You never stop learning, and there’s something different every day.” Guy’s son, Dustin, graduated from High Voltage Lineman School at


Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Photo by Gail Banzet-Ellis


the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and has been a lineman for Lamar Electric Cooperative in Paris, Texas, for six years. Although Dustin considered several career op- tions, Guy said his positive experience in the electric co-op industry in- fluenced Dustin’s decision. “On father/son day, he would come to work with me, and he saw how our crew enjoyed working together,” Guy said. “Even though it’s a serious job, he saw how I looked forward to going to work and how we could have fun too.” Now, Guy and Dustin compare notes and swap stories about their lives in the electric co-op world. Guy admits it was initially scary to think about his son following in his footsteps, but he is encouraged by the vast amount of training opportunities and safety standards that are required. “We work really hard to keep people trained,” Guy said. “Linemen understand high-voltage work and the dangers that exist.” In addition to Dustin joining the linemen network, Guy said the entire Choctaw Electric Cooperative is family.


“I think that’s one of the reasons my son wanted to be a lineman,” he


said. “At a small co-op, there’s not the pressure from investors to keep making money. It’s a closer atmosphere where we all get along and enjoy what we do.”


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