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Learning with the ‘condor’

August 17, 2021 | Jason Kuiper | community, partnerships, T&D
T&D_Metro Work_homepage

For a linemen class at Metropolitan Community College it was a chance for some hands-on work that they normally wouldn’t get. And for a veteran instructor at the college it was a chance to see some of his former students performing their craft.

Earlier this month, Tim Bowling’s overhead maintenance line class assisted OPPD crews in removing a nearly 150 foot radio tower at the college’s Irvington campus. The tower was left over from when OPPD owned the site and used it as a service center.

It was fun to see seven or eight of his former students who now work for OPPD back on campus, Bowling said.

The crews used OPPD’s condor truck to help remove the tower. The condor is OPPD’s highest-reaching bucket truck. It can extend up to 170 feet.

T&D_Metro Work_condor

Hands-on experience

“For a lot of these students, they’ll probably never see equipment that big again,” said Bowling. “It was fun seeing my old students and how they interacted with the current students. It was like a Metro reunion out here.”

Bowling said several of the students even got to go up in the condor as part of the work. Students also got some practice with lattice work, something they can’t do at the campus because of size constraints.

“This was great practice for their line program,” said Lee O’Neal, OPPD’s director of Transmission & Distribution construction.

Jim Gragert, a distribution system operator at OPPD was also involved in getting the project off the ground, O’Neal said. Gragert is also a part-time instructor at Metro.

O’Neal said OPPD ran the crane and equipment and students helped with the disassembly. That meant each of the students also got to climb the radio tower.

“When it got time to see who would get to the harness first to climb the tower, it was fight,” Bowling said. “The guy who got there first is actually interning at OPPD now, so that was good.”

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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

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