John Nang loves nothing better than to operate new equipment or drive new machinery, especially on some challenging, rough terrain.  

It’s something he did as a member of the Army. It’s a big part of his job as an underground lineworker. And he’s more than fine with it. 

“This is definitely the right job for me,” said Nang, who has worked here since 2021. “Excavators, bull dozers, digger derricks, flex tracks. You name it, I probably have operated one.” 

He is one of the dozens of underground lineworkers tasked with improving reliability by relocating powerlines from overhead to underground, often called “undergrounding.” We are exploring which locations are safest and most cost-effective to prioritize upcoming projects. 

Nang, a father of four young children, said he appreciates the opportunity to raise a family by being an underground lineworker. 

“My wife and family have been very supportive of my career, he said. “Plus, I’m really happy to be on the team. We are all part of something that is bigger than all of us. People are tired of outages and want less outages. Undergrounding is going to help with those frustrations.”

Nang is currently working on underground projects in some large residential developments in the Grand Rapids area. 

“It’s fulfilling working there to know that we are helping Michigan grow,” he said. “It’s a great time to be an underground line worker. I would highly recommend it.” 

Some of the skills needed by underground lineworkers include boring, trenching and helping train apprentices. Also, an extensive knowledge of procedures, materials, tools and equipment is required. 

Energy providers who have buried lines around the country have reported a 90% improvement in reliability in those areas. Consumers Energy is ramping up its efforts to underground 400 miles of lines per year. 

Nang’s journey to becoming an underground line worker wasn’t a clear one. He started out as a lineworker by attending the training program at Lansing Community College. But he decided that wasn’t the job for him. Thankfully, when one door closed another opened. 

“I thought about going back to the above ground line side of things,” he said.  “But I really feel I was meant to be in this position. I love operating the machinery here and I can’t wait to see what new equipment will be created to provide reliable service to our customers.  My career is proof that everything happens for a reason.” 

Related Blogs:

Next Up in the Reliability Roadmap Journey: Burying the Lines

Consumers Energy Announces Reliability Roadmap to Achieve Fewer, Shorter Power Outages