Entergy Arkansas has welcomed their first female line worker. Sara Russell-Lingo, 25, of Jacksonville, Ark. joined the Entergy Arkansas team in May 2021.
In an interview with Entergy Arkansas Senior Communications Specialist, David Lewis, Russell-Lingo’s revealed that her grandfather is a retired electrician. According to Russell-Lingo, her grandfather saw a story on KATV news about H-VOLT Academy, an Entergy-supported lineworker school at UA Pulaski Tech and told her about it. She was intrigued by the prospects of working outdoors, earning good pay, having a promising career path, and helping people all day every day. Before long, she was enrolled at H-VOLT Academy while continuing a job at Lowe’s. From there, Entergy Arkansas leadership saw her scores, liked her attitude, and made her a part of the team.
Russell-Lingo began with reporting to Line Supervisor Bert Wilson out of the West Markham Service Center in Little Rock. Step one in her training was two months of “linemen’s boot camp” in Jackson, Miss., where new apprentices learn to climb poles, are taught to appreciate the importance of safety on and off the job, and begin to acquire other basic skills needed for line work. She’s now in the next phase of her professional development, a four-year apprenticeship, after which she will be a journeyman line worker.
“I love the adventure,” Russell-Lingo told Lewis. “I love going to communities; their lights are off and they’re all grumpy and upset, and we leave and they’re just all smiling and happy.”
Lewis says Russell-Lingo is realistic about the road ahead. “You know, when a girl comes into the program and doesn’t even know how to change a tire, there’s a lot to learn. It helps to be mechanically inclined, and I wasn’t. But I’m learning every day.”
Now that Russell-Lingo has opened the door for women to be Entergy Arkansas line workers, who’s next? “I’ve been asking around, encouraging women I know to look into it. And I can’t find any. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know what it is. But you got to want to do it.” Still, the opportunity is there, and Entergy Arkansas would welcome additional female applicants.
As for the future, Russell-Lingo is focusing mostly on being the best lineworker she can be. But, for the first time, she’s excited about working for a company from which she can see herself retiring someday after a long, fulfilling and safe career.
Photo credit: Entergy Arkansas
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