During his time as an infantryman in the United States Army, Travis Keyes knew exactly what was expected of him: protect and serve.

It was in 2015 when Keyes decided to return to civilian life, then plans got fuzzy.

“I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I needed to do something,” said Keyes, 27, of Dearborn. “People always told me that DTE was one of the best places to work and to try to get in if I could.”

Through conversations with area veteran and employment programs, Keyes learned of DTE’s Natural Gas Boot Camp, a program to train work-force ready employees. He was accepted into the program and was later hired as a maintenance fitter apprentice. He’s worked for the company for nearly five years now.

In his role at DTE, Keyes works to ensure the safety and reliability of the company’s natural gas system.

On a regular work day, Keyes and his team can be found in communities in and around Detroit, removing decades old cast iron and steel gas main service lines, and replacing them with new and improved materials, reducing the risk of gas leaks. For Keyes, the work is an opportunity to continue doing what comes natural for him: protect and serve.

 “It’s making sure incidents don’t happen. We can prevent gas leaks and keep people safe,” Keyes said. “I’m grateful to have this job.”

Maintaining and enhancing the natural gas system is vital for DTE customers to run their homes and power their businesses. Because renewing mains and service lines with updated materials will further improve the safety and reliability of the natural gas system, DTE is upgrading hundreds of miles of gas pipelines throughout the state every year.