A Trailblazer is someone who not only shows leadership in their field, but who lifts others up along the way. This year, REACH (Respecting Ethnic & Cultural Heritage) employee resource group is honoring Sidney Kinnard for his 41 years of service to our company, which includes rising through the ranks of lineworkers in our Electric Company and bringing more diverse candidates to our company.

“I’m truly honored to be recognized as a Trailblazer for REACH and DTE,” says Sid. “I worked with REACH during my last five years at DTE, and receiving this honor was something on my bucket list that I didn’t realize was there.”

Sid started at DTE as a meter reader after serving in the military. After taking on more responsibilities, he applied to be an apprentice lineman. He moved up as a lineman journeyman, crew leader, general supervisor and eventually became a manager of the Southeast region.

Sid is known by his peers as being transparent, honest, value driven and efficient. He worked on many pilot programs in Distribution Operations and helped lead the Joint Apprentice and Lineworker Evaluating Committee, the Level 1 Safety Team and DTE’s 2021 Safety Assessment Team. He also served as a co-chair of REACH from 2018-21 and was chair of DTE’s Distribution Operations Diversity and Inclusion program. His legacy can be felt throughout the enterprise.

“I’d like to congratulate my friend Sid on being recognized as a REACH Trailblazer,” says Trevor Lauer, president and chief operating officer, DTE Electric. “Sid’s leadership has made an impact throughout our company, and he’s helped us become a better company for our customers and employees. Sid recognized the need to diversify our workforce in the field and created pathways to make that happen and in doing this, has improved lives for families across our region.”

One of Sid’s most impactful projects was the creation of the Apprentice Lineworker Workshop. Sid says it was developed to help bring more diversity and qualified candidates to the company. He worked with Alicia Harris, manager, Employment Strategy and Compliance, to create the program.

The Apprentice Lineworker Workshop addressed gaps in the application process and helped the team uncover barriers people were facing when applying to become a lineworker. The workshop helped interested candidates understand all the steps along the way to getting hired, including preparing for required testing, getting a commercial driver’s license, being physically fit to be able to climb a pole and aware of the drug testing requirement.

“Sid and I worked intensely on authoring and creating a program that prepared potential diverse candidates for the extensive application and testing process required for the apprentice lineworker position,” says Alicia. “His intense work and commitment increased the diverse hires substantially and created the blueprint for the nationally-recognized program that we are using now. I thank Sid for his dedication and congratulate him on this well-deserved award.”

Some of the curriculum created for the Apprentice Lineworker Program has been adopted by Henry Ford College and career tech high schools around the region. The workshop has evolved and grown  throughout the years. Today, we’re currently offering Readiness Workshops for in-demand positions throughout the company.

Sid was also an active mentor with programs like Grow Detroit’s Young Talent.

“Mentoring youth is important to me,” Sid said. “I am able to use my experience to coach young people through many obstacles in life and work. I’m also happy to have a platform to share the opportunities in skilled trades because college isn’t for everybody.”

Sid may be retired from DTE, but he’s still working in our field. He’s currently the vice president of Operations and Safety for Stateline, a minority-owned construction contractor with DTE.

Please join us in congratulating Sid for his many accomplishments and contributions to the community!