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From in the Crowd to in a Bucket Truck

May 28, 2024

For Lene Mollberg there are three things he’s passionate about: his family, his fellow lineworkers and electrical safety education.

Mollberg has worked on power lines and power poles in his southwest Michigan community for nearly 30 years. He is also our passionate lead on I&M’s Safety Trailer, which we use across our service area to teach first responders and students of all age’s life-saving electrical lessons.

“It starts off at a young age with the kids,” Mollberg said. “Too many people have been hurt from just not having the knowledge and not understanding it because they don’t see it. By taking the safety trailer around to different venues and showing people just the simple things that can happen and to save them is huge.”

The safety trailer, created in 2010, is a visual representation of the very real dangers of electricity, including what happens if you dig and hit a utility line or if power lines fall on your vehicle. Mollberg has performed dozens and dozens of presentations. For one student, the safety presentation not only taught him the do’s-and-don’ts around electricity – but is the sole reason he now wears an I&M hard-hat and works on the line.

“In high school, Lene brought the safety trailer out to demonstrate all the different things on it,” said Chad Adkerson, Line-Mechanic A based in South Bend. “That was about 12 years ago and that’s how I came about what I wanted to do.”

Mollberg passed along more than just his dedication to serving his community as a line worker. Now, Adkerson is working alongside Mollberg on the safety trailer that brought him where he is today. You could call it a full “circle of safety” moment.

“It’s awesome. When we can reach out and touch young people and put them into a career path that sets them up to a good place in life,” Mollberg said. “I actually saw him graduate high school and he had a lineman on the top of his graduation hat – I was pretty happy.”

Side-by-side, you can find Mollberg and Adkerson putting in the extra effort representing I&M with the safety trailer. They visit fire and police departments, elementary and high schools and participate in safety fairs. The bond between these two men is evident in their passion for ensuring zero harm for each other and customers.

Lene Mollberg (left) and Chad Adkerson (right) both share a passion for line work, safety and educating their community on both subjects.

“I think this safety trailer is a good demonstration of all the different hazards that are present around electricity,” Adkerson said. “It’s pretty awesome being able to show kids how electricity works and to show people all the hazards they might not think about when they turn on the lights.”

“I’ve been doing this job for almost 30 years. I enjoy the people and I enjoy the job,” Mollberg said. “I’m able to help people. I can go out there as a trouble shooter and at times I can fix something for them and get power restored. I enjoy that part of it – it’s fulfilling for me.”

I&M has an industry-leading indoor and outdoor training facility at Baer Field in Fort Wayne. Our apprenticeship program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. Upon completion of their training, our lineworkers receive a certificate from the Department of Labor recognizing them as journeyman across the entire industry. The apprenticeship can also be turned into an Associate of Applied Science degree by taking six additional credit hours with West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

For more safety information click here. If you or someone you know is interested in a career at AEP or I&M, click here.

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