20 Years: ECG Training & Safety

A Light Bulb Comes On

In 1987, Electric Cities of Georgia (ECG) was a volunteer organization born from an arm of the Georgia Municipal Association. ECG represented the common interests of municipal electric enterprises across the state of Georgia. At the time, Keith Bass was the Chairman of the ECG Board of Directors. Recognizing a need for municipal safety training, Keith began to recruit a team to develop a municipal program. It started small.  

Tom Bell now recounts, “Keith was one of the real movers on this program. Starting at least in the ‘80s, he had been working toward a municipal training program. He has always had a passion for the cities and for Public Power.”

Up until that point, Georgia municipalities’ only option was to send apprentices to the state investor-owned utility for safety and training. The municipal electric systems needed a training & safety program tailored to the specific needs of a community-owned electric system.  

Keith knew that most of the cities – particularly those with a smaller distribution system would never have the resources to design a formal safety program. He knew that the only solution for all of the municipalities to have an unrivaled program would be to pool their resources within ECG and establish a program under the banner of Joint Action.

The idea had ignited. Keith and the ECG board challenged Tom Bell with the task of developing the Training & Safety initiative, and Tom soon brought Jon Beasley on board to implement the program. 

Slideshow: 20 Years of Training & Safety

One Trainer, 52 Cities

At the beginning, budgets were tight and Jon Beasley drove all over the state to hold Safety Meetings at the 52 participating municipal electric systems. Soon, it was clear that this schedule would not be sustainable for just one person. The program continued to grow and the curriculum developed along with it. 

Tom Bell oversaw the implementation of the beginning stages of what is now ECG Training & Safety. 

“Tom really pioneered the effort once it was on the ground,” said Keith Bass. “He was aiming to establish the most reputable program around, and he wasn’t about to settle for second fiddle. The program has grown into something that we can all be proud of because it is the very root of the concept of joint-action and ECG’s purpose as an organization.” 

Today, three Training & Safety Specialists cover the same territory along with another Specialist assigned to cover 15 Florida municipalities.

LineWorker Philosophy

‘Safety First’ may sound cliché, but when safety training is literally saving lives, it’s no small matter. Linemen climb poles late in the night or during storms not only to keep the lights

on, but to preserve electricity for those whose lives depend on it – hospitals, the elderly, children – maintaining power for these and also for an average household is a job that is too often taken for granted. 

“You can get the lights back on quickly and you can do it safely,” is a common refrain for Jon Beasley, ECG Superintendent of Training & Safety. And Jon isn’t talking about safety in theory – he still climbs poles with line crews. Even when coordinating crews during storm restoration, it’s not unusual to see Beasley working alongside the workers on the line.

“One thing you notice pretty quickly: Jon doesn’t do supervision sitting down. He still likes getting dirty with the guys, and he expects all of us to do the same. Our team teaches Safety Meetings on a daily basis. We also do hands-on training. The guys we have in the classroom don’t just hear us talk in theory about safety regulations – they see us put it in action during training,” said Brandon Wylie, ECG Training & Safety Specialist. 

The Rodeo

The need for Training & Safety among Georgia, Alabama and Florida municipalities was obvious, and the program grew exponentially. Soon, Tommy Scott and later, Greg Lee joined Tom Bell and Jon Beasley on the newly formed Safety & Training Team.

Confident that their skills would rival any crew, Beasley, Scott and Lee teamed up to train for the 1999 International Lineman’s Rodeo. They had participated the year before, but eager to prove the strength of the ECG/MEAG program, the team went to Kansas City to compete. 

With operation knowledge and a safety background, the team outperformed every other team to win 1st place overall.

This major accomplishment gave credibility to ECG’s Safety Program and to its trainers. 

Today, Looking toward Tomorrow

Now, Beasley is the Master Judge for the APPA Lineman’s Rodeo. Brandon Wylie, Greg Phillips, and Buddy Ward are also on committees that put the Rodeo together. ECG Training & Safety is also instrumental in the Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo along with ECG Board Member, Bill Bosch of Griffin. 

When asked what makes ECG’s program the best, Tom Bell (who now works at Marietta Power) couldn’t stop citing the reasons why: “It’s a premier program with an all-encompassing curriculum. It has broad scope while maintaining excellent quality. The ECG Team is always looking for new avenues to reach each new class of linemen. This program is better than any out there. And it’s cost-effective for the cities, too. You won’t get this kind of training for a lower cost without compromising the integrity and quality of the program.”

And all of this because a group of guys that were part of an organization that didn’t even have a budget just wouldn’t let it rest. They took municipal electric safety to the next level, and they still haven’t stopped. 

 

Keith Bass, Tom Bell, Marshall Collins, Ellis Cadenhead, Jon Beasley, Tommy Scott, Greg Lee, Buddy Ward, Brandon Wylie, Mike McCleary and Greg Phillips have been major contributors to the creation, design and curriculum of ECG Training & Safety.

Learn About the History of ECG

Read a synopsis of how ECG came to be - written in the late 1980's by Charles C. Craig, GMA.

To read about ECG's History... Click Here

ECG Legacy

Once upon a time in 1994, the Cartersville Electric Supertintendent had an idea of what Electric Cities of Georgia could do for public power providers.

Read on to see some of the ideas current ECG President & CEO Keith Bass developed long before ECG became an independent organization.

 

20 Years: ECG Training & Safety

A Light Bulb Comes On

In 1987, Electric Cities of Georgia (ECG) was a volunteer organization born from an arm of the Georgia Municipal Association. ECG represented the common interests of municipal electric enterprises across the state of Georgia. At the time, Keith Bass was the Chairman of the ECG Board of Directors. Recognizing a need for municipal safety training, Keith began to recruit a team to develop a municipal program. It started small.  

Tom Bell now recounts, “Keith was one of the real movers on this program. Starting at least in the ‘80s, he had been working toward a municipal training program. He has always had a passion for the cities and for Public Power.”

Up until that point, Georgia municipalities’ only option was to send apprentices to the state investor-owned utility for safety and training. The municipal electric systems needed a training & safety program tailored to the specific needs of a community-owned electric system.  

Keith knew that most of the cities – particularly those with a smaller distribution system would never have the resources to design a formal safety program. He knew that the only solution for all of the municipalities to have an unrivaled program would be to pool their resources within ECG and establish a program under the banner of Joint Action.

The idea had ignited. Keith and the ECG board challenged Tom Bell with the task of developing the Training & Safety initiative, and Tom soon brought Jon Beasley on board to implement the program. 

Slideshow: 20 Years of Training & Safety

One Trainer, 52 Cities

At the beginning, budgets were tight and Jon Beasley drove all over the state to hold Safety Meetings at the 52 participating municipal electric systems. Soon, it was clear that this schedule would not be sustainable for just one person. The program continued to grow and the curriculum developed along with it. 

Tom Bell oversaw the implementation of the beginning stages of what is now ECG Training & Safety. 

“Tom really pioneered the effort once it was on the ground,” said Keith Bass. “He was aiming to establish the most reputable program around, and he wasn’t about to settle for second fiddle. The program has grown into something that we can all be proud of because it is the very root of the concept of joint-action and ECG’s purpose as an organization.” 

Today, three Training & Safety Specialists cover the same territory along with another Specialist assigned to cover 15 Florida municipalities.

LineWorker Philosophy

‘Safety First’ may sound cliché, but when safety training is literally saving lives, it’s no small matter. Linemen climb poles late in the night or during storms not only to keep the lights

on, but to preserve electricity for those whose lives depend on it – hospitals, the elderly, children – maintaining power for these and also for an average household is a job that is too often taken for granted. 

“You can get the lights back on quickly and you can do it safely,” is a common refrain for Jon Beasley, ECG Superintendent of Training & Safety. And Jon isn’t talking about safety in theory – he still climbs poles with line crews. Even when coordinating crews during storm restoration, it’s not unusual to see Beasley working alongside the workers on the line.

“One thing you notice pretty quickly: Jon doesn’t do supervision sitting down. He still likes getting dirty with the guys, and he expects all of us to do the same. Our team teaches Safety Meetings on a daily basis. We also do hands-on training. The guys we have in the classroom don’t just hear us talk in theory about safety regulations – they see us put it in action during training,” said Brandon Wylie, ECG Training & Safety Specialist. 

The Rodeo

The need for Training & Safety among Georgia, Alabama and Florida municipalities was obvious, and the program grew exponentially. Soon, Tommy Scott and later, Greg Lee joined Tom Bell and Jon Beasley on the newly formed Safety & Training Team.

Confident that their skills would rival any crew, Beasley, Scott and Lee teamed up to train for the 1999 International Lineman’s Rodeo. They had participated the year before, but eager to prove the strength of the ECG/MEAG program, the team went to Kansas City to compete. 

With operation knowledge and a safety background, the team outperformed every other team to win 1st place overall.

This major accomplishment gave credibility to ECG’s Safety Program and to its trainers. 

Today, Looking toward Tomorrow

Now, Beasley is the Master Judge for the APPA Lineman’s Rodeo. Brandon Wylie, Greg Phillips, and Buddy Ward are also on committees that put the Rodeo together. ECG Training & Safety is also instrumental in the Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo along with ECG Board Member, Bill Bosch of Griffin. 

When asked what makes ECG’s program the best, Tom Bell (who now works at Marietta Power) couldn’t stop citing the reasons why: “It’s a premier program with an all-encompassing curriculum. It has broad scope while maintaining excellent quality. The ECG Team is always looking for new avenues to reach each new class of linemen. This program is better than any out there. And it’s cost-effective for the cities, too. You won’t get this kind of training for a lower cost without compromising the integrity and quality of the program.”

And all of this because a group of guys that were part of an organization that didn’t even have a budget just wouldn’t let it rest. They took municipal electric safety to the next level, and they still haven’t stopped. 

 

Keith Bass, Tom Bell, Marshall Collins, Ellis Cadenhead, Jon Beasley, Tommy Scott, Greg Lee, Buddy Ward, Brandon Wylie, Mike McCleary and Greg Phillips have been major contributors to the creation, design and curriculum of ECG Training & Safety.

Learn About the History of ECG

Read a synopsis of how ECG came to be - written in the late 1980's by Charles C. Craig, GMA.

To read about ECG's History... Click Here

ECG Legacy

Once upon a time in 1994, the Cartersville Electric Supertintendent had an idea of what Electric Cities of Georgia could do for public power providers.

Read on to see some of the ideas current ECG President & CEO Keith Bass developed long before ECG became an independent organization.