They climb poles in rain, snow, day or night to restore our power. They’re known as “journeymen linemen” – but not all of them are men. Stacie Reeves is our company’s fourth female line worker.
In honor of Women’s History month, we caught up with Reeves to learn more about her journey as a line worker. Her career as a line worker started over a decade ago when she was working as a DTE meter reader and was looking for something different. That’s when she applied for the overhead lineman’s apprenticeship. In 2009, Stacie became a line worker, making history as our company’s first black female line worker and the fourth woman in that line of work.
Reeves, who spent most of her journeyman career as the only woman in the field, describes being a line worker as rewarding and challenging.
“As the only woman, you feel kind of alone,” Reeves said. “You constantly have to prove yourself. You have to work harder. It’s very uncomfortable and at times you feel unwanted. I appreciate the example of hardworking women like Joyce Giraud, Kathy Zittleburger and Patty Brown who preceded me in line work.”
“In addition, because my body is different from a man’s, I had to adjust how I did different tasks. It wasn’t always easy, but I figured out what worked best for me as a woman.”
Despite the challenges, Reeves said overall her coworkers really wanted to see her win and encouraged her.
“There were guys who went out of their way to make sure I got what I needed,” she noted. “One summer, three senior linemen signed up for the Regional Construction Crews to show me how they learned linework. It was a summer I’ll never forget.”
“The journey has been so rewarding. The best feeling is when a customer comes out and says thank you. It’s also a pretty cool feeling when another woman sees you and says, ‘oh my gosh, that’s a woman up there.’”
Reeves shared this advice for women interested in a male dominated career:
“Don’t be afraid to get a non-traditional job. We have bills just like men do. There is always someone out there that is willing to open the door for you, like other woman opened the door for me.”
Nearly 11 years after making history at DTE, Reeves still has a zest for more. She hopes to continue climbing to new heights and breaking barriers for women. She recently accepted a position as an overhead supervisor – another role with very few women in it.