When I finished my career as an Olympic athlete racing luge, I wasnít sure what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work outside and do something physical that required skill and training, but I wasnít entirely sure of what that would be. I also knew I wanted to work in the woods, hopefully near my hometown. When I became aware of a career as an Electrical Forester with Hydro One, it sounded perfect.
Every day of my apprenticeship I get to learn something new, work with a great team and earn a good living. This was important to me, because after years as an athlete, I didnít want to spend a lot of time paying money to go to school before I could start getting paid.
For every year of my apprenticeship I complete, I get another raise. By the time I finish my apprenticeship, Iíll not only have a job I know and like waiting for me with a great company, but Iíll be qualified to work as a forester on any electrical system in Canada.
In some aspects, working as a forester is quite similar to my career as a luge racer. The respect for safety is exactly the same. Youíve got to be focused every day, every second, because there is zero margin for error. Itís an exhilarating job when youíre up an 80-foot tree. Youíre counting on the person on the ground to work with you and watch your back. Speed, like electricity, doesnít discriminate. If you make a mistake it can be incredibly costly.
The biggest difference between what I do now and what I did on the luge track is that this isnít a race. Weíre not in the business of taking chances.
Every day is different, depending on what weíre doing on that particular day. Some days we work on maintaining the clearance around the lines, other days we get called in to help with restoring power after a storm. People are pretty happy to see the folks who put the lights back on so it feels good to be part of that team.