SALISBURY – The inaugural class of the Powerline Worker Pre-Apprenticeship program graduated on Dec. 20, 2023.
Seven participants completed this 13-week program offered by Wor-Wic Community College through a partnership with Choptank Electric Cooperative and the Virginia, Maryland, Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC).
“We are proud of these graduates and cannot wait to see the success they will undoubtably have in their careers as powerline workers,” said Mike Malandro, president and CEO of Choptank Electric. “This partnership with Wor-Wic Community College and the VMDAEC supports the future of the industry and provides first-hand training for lineworkers right here on the Eastern Shore.”
The Powerline Worker Pre-Apprenticeship program is grant-funded, so it is offered at no cost for chosen applicants who live or work in Maryland. The grant also covers subsequent CDL training of successful program graduates. Much of the hands-on training is conducted at Choptank Electric’s Regional Service Center facility in Salisbury, right across from the program’s classroom instruction at Wor-Wic Community College.
Program instruction covers OSHA 10, CPR/First Aid/AED, and ATSSA Traffic Control trainings with the goal of students obtaining certifications. Students will gain knowledge of the power industry including power generation, transmission, distribution, and industry safety and standards. Students will have hands-on experience with climbing, setting, and pulling poles, proper rigging and framing, bucket truck inspection, maintenance and operation, and electrical test equipment.
“Not only will these men make good linemen, but they are all really good people, and that is what matters most,” said Jerone Mabe, Powerline Worker Pre-Apprenticeship program instructor and manager of Technical Services for VMDAEC.
Alan Scruggs, vice president of safety and training services at VMDAEC, addressed the graduates at the ceremony on Dec. 20 and shared these final remarks, “You now have an insight into one of the best careers imaginable. My advice to you after my 30 years in the co-op family: Never quit learning, always ask questions, and most importantly, always make safety the top priority for you, your families, and your co-workers.”
The program will begin its second cohort in February of 2024.
FRUITLAND – Gillis Gilkerson’s construction team recently completed extensive renovations at Crown Sports Center, a hub for sports and recreation in the mid-shore region.
The state-of-the-art complex features 120,000 square feet of temperature-controlled environment that includes six indoor turf fields, hard-surface courts, batting cages and family entertainment areas, plus an additional 10.5 acres of outdoor Bermuda grass sports fields. Gillis Gilkerson’s development team purchased Crown Sports Center in April 2021, and have been working to transform the athletic and entertainment facility with a variety of enhancements and additions.
Improvements made to the family recreation complex include new turf fields, batting cages, pickleball courts, basketball courts, refreshed interiors and an exciting ‘Clip ‘N Climb’ feature that combines unique shapes, bright colors, and cutting-edge safety technology that makes indoor rock climbing exciting and accessible to everyone ages four and up. The exterior received a fresh coat of paint paired with an exciting mural done by local artist duo We Are Limitless Studios, giving the center a vibrant, modern look.
“Since we purchased the business back in 2021, our team has been dedicated to breathing new life into the center. From the very start, we have been planning physical renovations, in addition to programming updates,” said Brad Gillis, principal of Gillis Gilkerson. “We wanted to reimagine the space. We now have so many more amenities for the community to enjoy. The Clip-n-Climb feature is exceptional, I think everyone should try it out.”
The GGI team has introduced futsal, pickleball, wiffleball and kickball tournaments, and expanded its youth and adult sports leagues, social leagues, and drop-in offerings. “Crown Care” before- and after-school programs have been redeveloped, as well as summer camps and education classes and the in-house eatery, Striker’s Café, has been overhauled with a new look and menu. The team has even brought in Salisbury’s very first Major Arena Soccer League 3 (MASL3) semi-pro arena soccer franchise – The Salisbury Steaks.
“These new physical improvements are the icing on the cake,” said Joey Gilkerson, principal of Gillis Gilkerson. “We are thrilled with the job our Gillis Gilkerson construction team did to make these transformations come to life. The Crown Sports team has done such a great job working with us to modernize and strengthen Crown’s service to the community.”
WILLARDS – The Daily Record has named Deeley Insurance Group as one of the Best Companies to Work for in Maryland.
The awards are held in partnership with Best Companies Group.
Best Companies to Work for in Maryland identifies, recognizes and honors the best places of employment in the state. It is a research-driven program from Best Companies Group that examines a company’s practices, programs and benefits, and surveys employees for their perspectives.
To be considered, companies must be a publicly or privately held business; be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity; have a facility in the state of Maryland; have at least 15 full- or part-time employees working in Maryland; and be in business a minimum of one year.
There were two parts used to determine the rankings. The first consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices and demographics, worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience, which consisted of 75% of the total. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking.
“The 2023 Best Companies to Work for in Maryland honorees know what it means to create a culture in their organizations that results in teamwork and excellence. They are champions of business who know that the people in their companies are the keys to their success,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, managing director of BridgeTower Media/The Daily Record.
“Our industry has changed a lot in recent years,” notes Laura Deeley Bren, president of Deeley Insurance Group, “but our philosophy has stayed the same: we always focus on our people. Collaboration is our way of life here, and every person has a vital role to play. We hire to fit our culture, and empower our team to be their best every day. When our clients need us, we show up and we’ve got their back.”
Jill Gormley, Deeley’s director of human resources, sums up the secret to their success, stating, “As the employment landscape has evolved, we listened to our staff and adapted to meet the needs of our team. We’re celebrating our 95th anniversary in 2024, and we plan to always be a Best Company to Work For!”