MCC’s Utility Lineman Program completers applauded
Members of the Utility Lineman class include Javian Hunter, Corderial Nichols, Peyton Coleman, Donald Blake, Hunter Fuller, Keawe Moss, Cody Pierce, Braxton Kelly, Michael Thigpen, Jeremy Irby, Garrett Loper and LaBrantae Slack.
Michael Thigpen’s fiancé encouraged him to enroll in Meridian Community College's Utility Lineman Program. He would find a new career path thanks to his fiance's advice.
"I got out of the military last January and was looking for stuff to do. What I was doing in the military wasn't applicable for around here," the Eatonton, Ga., native explained. His service job: Military working dog handler.
Thigpen and 11 other students were honored Monday with a celebratory program recognizing their completion of the Utility Lineman Program at MCC.
At MCC's Utility Lineman Program, students learn to build, repair, and maintain electrical power and distribution systems during a 16-week course of study. The instructors are Kim Culpepper and Dan Steverson, who have over 75 years of lineman experience in this industry.
Other completers for this class, which started in January, included Donald Blake, Peyton Coleman, Hunter Fuller, Javian Hunter, Jeremy Irby, Braxton Kelly, Garrett Loper, Keawe Moss, Corderial Nichols, Cody Pierce, and LaBrantae Slack.
There was another powerful connections for 25-year-old Thigpen to join the program. His granddad retired from Georgia Power, and Thigpen thought pursuing this career field would be a good fit.
The College's program was beneficial, Thigpen said. "As long as you show up and do what you're supposed to and put a little work in, they make it easy for you. The instructors point you in the right direction in what you need to know, and they take care of you. It was pretty smooth sailing," Thigpen said.
Thigpen was presented with two honors during the ceremony: Hurt Man Rescue Award and Leadership Award. Other classmates recognized were Jeremy Irby for the Academic Award and Peyton Coleman and Hunter Fuller for the Most Improved Award.
During the completion ceremony, Darren Bane, the MCC workforce development project manager coordinating the Utility Lineman program, said that College officials are proud of the students. “They've worked extremely hard these past 16 weeks not only to gain the skills to help prepare and maintain power lines, but they earned some credentials along the way," Bane said. Those credentials included an OSHA II card, American Heart Association's basic life support, a commercial driver's license, and a forklift.
"We can’t wait to see how they are going to serve their community," Bane added.
For now, Thigpen's planning on doing overhead transmission contract work. He and his fiancé are marrying in October and will move to the Pensacola, Fla., area early next year.
For more information about MCC’s Utility Lineman Program, contact Bane at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 601.481.1318.