Not all subforemen are men.
At PG&E’s Green Valley Substation, 11-year IBEW member Nickey Dillard works as a subforeman A, where she oversees the large-scale upgrade and modernization of the Watsonville plant.
“Right now we’re doing our first phase of our breaker-and-a-half. We have three bays that we’re building, Bays 4, 5 and 6. This is replacing old, oil-filled circuit breakers, making the older station up-to-date and new,” Dillard explained. “Sept. 1 is when the first bays become energized. And then we move on to second phase, and that’s disassembling the older Bay 3, taking that out of service and then building a new one.”
Dillard has spent the past nine years working on substations in the Central Coast. Prior to coming on the job at Green Valley, she worked on the 230 breaker-and-a-half project at Moss Landing. As an experienced subforeman, Dillard has handled the challenges of the project — including the civil engineers on job alongside her crew — with relative ease.
“Civil was supposed to be done by the time we got here, but as you can see they’re still here,” she said. “With us working around them and them working around us, it’s been quite a challenge.”
As one of the sisters of the brotherhood, Dillard is clearly grateful to be part of the IBEW.
“The union protects us, that’s for sure,” she said. “We’re still doing good with our medical benefits, and Casey Barker [the Business Rep] comes around if we have questions or concerns about overtime and meals and seniority. We definitely look to the union for guidance, and we appreciate what the IBEW does for us.”
Photos by John Storey