Recognized by Team as #INTRENStrong
California Journeyman Linemen and General Foremen Justin Smith and his brother Travis, along with Foreman Tim Fisher, have taken their love of line work and established a scholarship fund for their 200- person hometown of Cusick, Washington. In its second year, the men award one scholarship per year based on a written essay, recommendation letters, resume, and an interview with Avista Line Construction School located in Spokane, Washington.
Originally a logging town, Cusick is fifty-miles north of the school and houses a paper mill and short-line railroad community. Who knew that this 30-home town would become a hotbed for linemen recruitment!
“So far, we have had ten Cusick residents become linemen,” said Justin Smith. “At one point, we had six in our INTREN yard at one time! Currently, both of my foremen are from my hometown, and along with Travis, that makes five of us.”
What inspired you to start the scholarship? It was interesting that so many of us have followed the same path from a small town in Washington. We just wanted everyone to know that we are here. It is so much easier to get started when you know people.
When the other guys came to California, they would call me for help. We thought that if we kept on filtering the information back to our hometown more people would come down. It would be nice to have them in California and at the same time, do something good for our community. The scholarship evolved from there. Of all the things you can spend money on, the scholarship is one of the most satisfying.
Why did you become a lineman? I didn’t know anything about the profession until I was in my 20’s. I went to work on a ranch. The owner was a lineman who owned a few companies. I got to know him and met other linemen that have done well in their life, so I was inspired to do the same thing.
How did your brother follow in your footsteps? Although Travis is nine years younger, he was only three years behind me in training. I was doing my California/Nevada JATC apprenticeship in California when he came to live with me and on the weekends, he would go to line school with me. Travis was always around and a hard worker, so they wrote him a recommendation letter and finally let him in the school, officially. He ‘volunteered’ to go to school, so they figured he was a good candidate!
What would you say to those contemplating a career as a lineworker? There is a lot of freedom to be being a lineman and it is extremely rewarding. You are constantly moving around to different places while getting paid and getting to see things that many people won’t see in their lives.
How is your team #INTRENStrong? Being from the same hometown, we are like one big family and always doing things for each other. I have my brother and the other foreman are also basically like brothers and we give. Whether we work 3x harder than the next guy, we do whatever it takes to keep the team going. It is nice being a part of something like that.
“We are so proud of these men, who not only continue to outperform every day at work but live INTREN’s values of stewardship, integrity and empowering others, said Kelly Tomblin, President & CEO of INTREN.
INTREN Executive Vice President Matthew Turk, also added, “When I met these men, I was immediately taken with their sense of camaraderie and teamwork, while having each other’s back. They exemplify the values that our company was founded upon while promoting the lineworker profession.”
Congratulations for all do and for being recognized by your peers as #INTRENStrong!