Ontonagon REA is staffed by people who live and work in your community. This dedicated team of employees works for you, the members, striving to provide you with reliable and cost-effective power every day. We recently sat down with lineman Gil Martinez to learn more about him and what his job entails.
Q: Please tell us about your background.
A: I was born in Los Angeles and moved to L’Anse when I was three years old. After high school, I went into the U.S. Marines for four years as an Aviation Technician. After being honorably discharged, I went to NMU and graduated with a degree in aviation maintenance. I wanted to stay in the area, but there weren’t any jobs in my field. Instead, I took a job as a corrections officer at the County Jail where I worked for three years.
Q: How did you end up working at Ontonagon County REA?
A: In 2000, a lineman opening came up at REA. I applied for the job and was hired. Like everyone else, I went through the apprentice program, working and learning on the job.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: Working outside and working somewhere different all the time. I could never see myself working inside in an office.
Q: How do you deal with the stress of extended storm-related outages?
A: When there is a big storm, I just kind of go into overdrive. It’s sort of an adrenaline rush and that keeps me going until I get the job done.
Q: Any memorable experiences?
A: My line partner and I were out in Skanee and had been working to restore power after a bad storm. The whole area was out, so no one was very happy. That’s when Dale Hollon, a local REA customer, chased us down in his truck to give us a lunch he had cooked for us—hamburgers, chips and pop. We couldn’t believe that he had brought us this stuff.
Q: What about hobbies? What do you like to do when you’re not working?
A: Like most Yoopers, I like hunting and fishing, especially pheasant hunting in South Dakota with my springer spaniel. I also enjoy bowling at the Whirl-I-Gig.
This concluded our questions for Martinez, but we also had one for his boss, Ontonagon’s line supervisor, Bill Tucker.
Q: Please tell us about Gil.
A: Gilbert is a very hard worker. He processes [information] very quickly and thinks ahead. For the last several months he has been working all over the system as a “swingman.” He serves on the Township Board of Review and is an avid Detroit Lions fan (I guess he likes punishment!).