Editor’s note: Alabama NewsCenter is featuring Alabama Power linemen leading up to Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day June 3.
Following a four-year stint in the military, lineman Chris Jackson came home to Eufaula to work for a business where one of his customers was Alabama Power line crew foreman Phil Shelley.
“I could tell Chris has a strong work ethic and a lot to offer an organization,” Shelley said. “He was working in a small office and he seemed better suited for work that was more diverse and demanding. He had been in the military, so I knew he had discipline and I just felt like he was suited to lineman work.”
With Shelley’s encouragement, Jackson applied and was hired as a utility assistant. That was 13 years ago. Now Jackson is a lineman on the Southeast Division’s Transmission crew – and he’s never looked back.
“Being a part of this crew is very fulfilling,” Jackson said. “We are all different and bring different things to the table, but we all have a place and we all have each other’s backs. I love the camaraderie and I love this crew.”
Jackson said his time in the military taught him a lot about teamwork and valuing differences.
“In the Army, you learn quickly that it is all about working together,” Jackson said. “I also learned quickly just because someone didn’t talk like me or look like me, it didn’t mean he or she didn’t have something to contribute. On a line crew, just like in the Army, everyone has their place on the team and it takes everyone to accomplish your goals.
“Growing up in Eufaula, I had a lot of people helping me along the way. Now that I have a great job with a company that allows me the freedom to give back to the community, I am so proud to be able to support the youth of this community like I was supported as a kid,” Jackson said.
One of Jackson’s passions is coaching youth basketball at the Eufaula Community Center.
“I started when my kids were little, but I couldn’t stop when they outgrew it,” Jackson said with a smile. “I just feel so blessed to be able spend time with these kids. They teach me a lot.
“In the end, it’s all about helping people,” Jackson continued. “Here, we get to help people by making sure their power stays on 24/7, and, when we do have problems, getting that power back on as quickly and safely as possible. Off the job, it’s about giving back to the community that we serve. I am thankful every day that Phil came in my office and took the time to get to know me.”
Alabama Power has more than 1,300 Transmission and Distribution employees who work to keep the lights on every day. Though not all their titles are “lineman,” all work on the system to ensure the lights stay on in Alabama.
Leading up to Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day in June, Alabama NewsCenter each week will spotlight line workers and their contributions to the company, commitment to Our Values and the role they play in elevating Alabama communities.