When Mike Klopfenstein makes a goal, he sees it through. It’s as easy as that.
Take for example his path at Noble REMC.
He began as an apprentice lineman in June 2019, and by December 2021, he had earned his journeyman lineman certification, alongside an Associate of Applied Science in Apprenticeship Technology – Electric Line Technician degree through Ivy Tech.
“Everybody’s like, ‘Do you feel different?’ I honestly don’t feel different,” said Klopfenstein. “I made it a goal if I start something, I finish it.”
He earned his certification through Indiana Electric Cooperatives’ Rural Electric Apprenticeship Program (REAP), a four-year course that includes 612 hours of classroom instruction and more than 8,000 hours of on-the-job training as an apprentice lineman. (He completed it in less time because he had previous instruction.)
Covering everything from climbing school and tool and equipment instruction to classroom work, surprisingly, his favorite part of the program was the book work – not something you normally hear.
“I enjoy learning. I enjoyed expanding within the electrical field,” Klopfenstein said. “When I sit down and focus on something, I enjoy it. REAP is a great schooling program to help anybody who enjoys the outdoors or working with your hands or for anyone who wants to excel in the utility industry.”
Klopfenstein has been in his new role for a few months now, and he is enjoying the consistency of the work and the camaraderie with those he works alongside.
As a journeyman, he will now be a leader on his crew. Rather than looking to someone else for answers on the job site, he’ll be the one to help teach the next class of apprentices.