It takes a special blend of toughness and smarts to become a lineworker. It also takes dedication; the same dedication that David, John, Larry, Roberto, and Sylvester have shown the people of Michigan for the past 40 years.

Regardless of weather, all our lineworkers work tirelessly to make sure you have the energy you need when you need it. They are also the reason that when we set big goals, like no storm outage affecting more than 100,000 customers or all customers restored within 24 hours, we set them with confidence knowing we have dedicated people on the job!

Read on to meet five of the real faces behind our reliability commitment.

Sylvester Thompson 

Fresh out of the military and struggling to find work after his former employer declared bankruptcy,    Sylvester Thompson didn’t know how we was going to support his wife and two young children. Then, one day in 1976, an unexpected phone call from Consumers Energy changed his life.

When his wife shared that the energy company had called, he asked: “Are they turning our power off?” She told him to call and find out – and that’s just what he did.

To Thompson’s relief, the voice on the other end reminded him of a forgotten job application. Following several meetings with leadership, Thompson was hired as a meter reader. And now, he celebrates nearly 48 years with the company.

“Some things were just meant to be,” said Thompson. “Consumers Energy has been nothing but a blessing to my family. And today I have zero aches or pains, no high blood pressure. After 47 years, I feel great and that’s because it’s not a job when you love what you do. I love serving my family, friends and neighbors.”

Love and appreciation for the work is common among Thompson and four other lineworkers celebrating 40 years or more in 2024.

Larry Hower

There isn’t much Larry Hower hasn’t seen on the job. He’s witnessed the devastating paths of tornadoes and major hurricanes. And in 1998, he remembers traveling to Quebec, Canada to assist with a major ice storm that ravaged the east coast.

“You see things that get burned into your mind – like broken poles tipped over and lines that are still hot,” he said. “I’ve seen more than my share. But you go about your work safely and make sure you and your co-workers have one another’s backs.”

Hower said the reason he showed up to work every day with a purpose is simple.

“It’s to do something meaningful to help people out – to either prevent them from losing power or if they do lose it, restore it as safely and quickly as possible,” said Hower, who plans on retiring this year. “Especially when storms hit. That’s when the people we serve need us most.”

David Allen

As a youngster in 1950s mid-America, David Allen loved watching his uncle and dad climb poles and fix lines. At an early age, he decided that was his dream job – and for 47 years, he’s gotten to live that dream every day.

“Ever since I watched them climb poles, I realized that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” said Allen, who works out of Saginaw.

Allen, who started out at the Karn Plant shoveling sludge, went on to work in the gas department, then served as a tree trimmer before moving on to the electric department and eventually becoming a lineworker.

“I have had a well-rounded career,” he said with a laugh. “I had a plan all along, I was just trying to get it to work out and become a lineworker. Thankfully it did.”

Allen said a memory sticks out in his mind. It was Easter weekend, a year after his son was born and a storm had hit Hale, northwest of Tawas City.

“I was thinking to myself that I should be home with my wife and baby,” Allen said. “It just kind of hit me.”

After he restored power to a home, two little girls approached him with a plate of cookies.

“They thanked me for being there for them,” he said. “It’s the little things that make this job the best job in the world.”

Allen, who plans on retiring this summer, said he will cherish his time at the energy provider.

“I have so many great memories at this place and people who I have worked with and customers who we’ve helped out,” he said. “I have no regrets. I’m going to miss it.”

Roberto Rincon

Roberto Rincon, a lineworker out of Adrian, treasurers the 40 years of memories he has helping to restore power to businesses and families around Michigan.

He said, “I am proud to be a lineworker and help people in need. I can’t recommend the job enough. You definitely will have a lifetime of memories.”

He loves the job so much, he hopes to keep it in the family.

“I can’t twist my grandson’s arm high enough to get him to be a lineworker,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe one day. It worked out for me.”

John Hawk

John Hawk, a lineworker out of Hamilton, has been with the company for more than 44 years, starting as a janitor and working his way through the ranks as a tree trimmer and meter reader.

Hawk said he relishes working in different environments – sunny days or when the rain comes pouring down. It’s all to benefit the customers he holds in such high regard.

“I get a thrill when people are home and we restore their power,” he said. “It’s been the same reaction over the years – hooting and hollering. It’s music to my ears.”

Hawk said he has formed relationships and created memories that will last a lifetime.

“It’s funny,” he said. “I don’t remember what projects I worked on 10, 15, 20 years ago. But I do remember the people that we helped and the people I worked with that had my back.”

Hawk, who plans on retiring this year, is proud Consumers Energy was his place of employment for so long.

“I am going to pull the plug and go offline,” he said. “It’s time to decommission myself.”