The Overton Power District (OPD) Internship program brought about another success to the community over the past couple of months; all while helping a local youth with his career path. Last week, Mesquite resident Jarron Linge finished a ten-week internship at the OPD.
During the course of ten weeks, Linge had the chance to work in a variety of settings at the district. He spent a couple of weeks working with the OPD line crew assisting in line construction projects. He also spent some time with the district’s substation staff in the more intricate wiring and complex technology involved there. He learned how to test power meters and assisted in service connections and disconnections with the OPD metering staff. He learned staking procedures and performed pole testing with the Engineering Department. And he learned about the financials, reporting procedures and regulatory requirements of the district from the OPD Accounting staff.
“It was kind of an eye-opener to watch all of the various things that have to be done to keep things running,” Linge said. “I got a good view of how everyone works together to keep the lights on.”
Linge is 19 years old and is the son of Duane and Kim Linge of Mesquite. He has been interested in working in the power industry since around the time he graduated from Virgin Valley High School in 2016. While in high school he was heavily involved in athletics playing basketball, football and baseball for the Bulldogs. He loves to be outdoors: hunting, camping, motorcycle riding and more. As he neared graduation he knew that whatever career path he chose, he wanted to be able to work outside and to do plenty of physical activity.
A family member turned Linge on to the idea of becoming an electrical lineman. That idea seemed to just click for him.
“I did some research on the lineman trade and I was really drawn to the idea,” Linge said. “I’d love to be able to keep the lights on for everyone in town and help the community that way. I also liked the brotherhood that exists between linemen in their teams. They look out for one another and I liked that; plus it pays pretty well.”
After high school graduation, Linge attended a trade school program at Northwest Lyman College in Meridian, Idaho. The four-month course of study was specifically designed as a lineman’s school. The students in the program gained hands-on training with the tools of the trade. They became certified in climbing power poles. They learned the techniques for first aid and pole top rescue. And Linge came out of the program hoping to get started in an entry-level grounds man position with an electrical utility.
Of course, his first choice was to come back home and go to work at OPD. But there were no immediate positions of that kind open in the small rural utility. However, district officials were looking to fill a number of temporary internship positions. These positions had been approved by the OPD board of directors earlier this year. So Linge applied and when selected gladly accepted one of these.
“It has been a great opportunity, and I have learned a lot,” Linge said. “I think that it has helped my resume and I hope that I can come back and work here again.”
Now that the internship is completed, Linge said that he will continue to apply for full time positions in the electric utility industry. The OPD experience has broadened his perspective somewhat and he has applied for an open position at the district that is not on the line crew. But he said that he is also applying for grounds man positions at utilities throughout the region in Nevada, Arizona and Utah in hopes to pursue his goal of becoming a lineman someday.
The OPD now has more internship positions to fill, for young people who may be interested. The OPD board approved the internship program with a dual purpose. Firstly, it was to support and develop youth in the community who were interested in a career in the electric utility field. But secondly, it was to bring a benefit back to the district through a youth work program as well as nurturing a stronger employee pool for the future.
“It is really a great opportunity for someone interested in our field,” said OPD spokesman Keith Buchhalter. “After all, it is not just a summer job digging trenches and washing vehicles. There are a lot of different elements to it that the interns get to experience. And it is not just a great value to the individual intern, but to the community itself. We want people who are passionate about what they will be doing. When we get that, everyone benefits; our staff, the youth participants and our ratepayers. These internships are an opportunity that can change the future of the participants. It can actually send them in a whole new direction that they hadn’t expected because of their experiences and the things that they learn.”
The OPD still has internship positions open for the current fiscal year. The district is accepting applications from candidates who may be interested in working in any of the various roles that it offers. For information, or to apply, candidates can go to www.opd5.com or drop by the local office locations for an application. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or technical program in Accounting, Business, Engineering, Construction or related field.