Apprentice of the Year Spotlight: Christopher Kelley’s Journey from Apprentice to Journeyman Lineman

Apprentice of the Year Spotlight: Christopher Kelley’s Journey from Apprentice to Journeyman Lineman

Our linemen are vital because they keep the power flowing. They are a specialized team trained to install and maintain high-voltage transmission and distribution lines that transport electricity from utility-operated power plants to your home and businesses across San Diego County. In our latest employee spotlight series, we are featuring our employees who earned the honor of Apprentice of the Year during the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ 2022 graduation ceremony earlier this year.  

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is described by its members as a fraternity and SDG&E Journeyman Lineman Christopher Kelley is a proud member of the club. Another thing that Chris is proud of: being named one of 2022 IBEW Apprentices of the Year. 

“Being named an Apprentice of the Year is a very big honor for me!” exclaims Chris. “Receiving this recognition is confirmation that all of the hard work that I put in as an apprentice has paid off.”   

Chris’ journey with us began in 2018 as a Line Assistant, a year later he advanced to Apprentice and is now proud to call himself an SDG&E Journeyman Lineman. 

“My job as a Journeyman Lineman consists of new construction and maintenance of overhead and underground distribution systems in our SDG&E service territory,” explains Chris. “My favorite part of being a Lineman is being able to figure out the safest and most efficient way to complete the task that I’ve been given. My top priority is to make sure that I am always learning and that I am always an asset to my crew and the company that I serve.” 

To get to this point, Chris completed three years of apprenticeship which included Basic and Advanced secondary school, climbing school, hot stick and rubber gloving school, underground school, and three years of night school, all while working at SDG&E.  

“Underground school was my favorite,” said Chris. “I’m not sure why, I just found all of the equipment and knowledge we were being tested on extremely interesting.”  

Chris’ manager, Construction Supervisor Lewis Giles believes that Chris’ success stems from the aspirational goals that he set for himself and the fact that he never deviated from his path.  

Lewis quotes the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu when describing Chris’ milestone: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  

“This is not only true for someone undertaking a long journey, but for those aspiring to become a Lineman as well,” said Lewis. “I noticed that before Chris’ first step was even taken, he was always pushing himself, always striving for more.” 

Chris is currently 43 years old, has been married to his “lovely wife Sabrina” since 2010, and has 11-year-old twin boys that he races dirt bikes with.  

“All of the hard work was worth it because this position at SDG&E allows me to provide for my family and allows us to continue to have a great life,” said Chris. 

Chris is proud to join two other 2022 Apprentices of the Year, who will be featured on the NewsCenter in the coming weeks, and says he is equally excited for them as well.  

“I have the highest respect for anyone who has won this award. I know the amount of hard work that it takes, and it gives me a great sense of confidence knowing that we will all be out in the field together.”   

Chris Kelley