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Staking engineers help put the electric system in place


Mitchell Bray's new home will be located on a hillside tucked in the trees off a winding road in Clay County. It's an ideal spot for a rustic log home. 


The construction site, however, is several hundred feet from the existing electric line. It's Joe Garland's job to put all the pieces and parts together that will get Bray the electricity he needs.


Garland, and Jackson Energy's other staking engineers, work with co-op members to get electricity to new sites, move power lines and construct new electric line upgrades. 


It's a process that includes not only the location of electric lines but also other utilities serving the area.


"We have to look at all the scenarios," Garland said while measuring the height of a telephone pole. The pole is too short for Jackson Energy to add an electric line to the exisiting equipment and meet construction code requirements. 


"I'm going to have to submit a request to change out the pole before we can move the line from across the road," he says as he ties an orange ribbon to the pole to mark it.


Staking engineers put the details behind construction plans for not only co-op members building new homes, but also for large projects, like highway construction projects and commercial buildings.


Much of their work is done in the field, meeting with co-op members, sketching diagrams on the hood of their trucks and taking measurements for GPS coordinates to be added to the co-ops mapping system.


Like a puzzle, all the pieces have to be in place for the project to come together. For example, a project check list includes obtaining right-of-way easements for locating new poles and electric lines.


They also work with property owners to help them decide the final details of their projects, such as will the electric line be run overhead or underground.


Once the details have been worked out, the engineers take field notes and diagrams back to the office. They use computer-aided drafting programs to design the final line construction and get the project ready for construction.


Jackson Energy has five staking engineers on staff - James Angel, Brent Bingham, Mike Denham, Tim Floyd and Joe Garland.


JEC'S JOE GARLAND and co-op member Mitchell Bray look at house plans for his Clay County log home.