Lighting the way: Luke sees the light in linework

Posted on Nov 08 2022 in Noble REMC
Luke Gillis
Apprentice Lineman Luke Gillis stands in the truck garage at the end of the work day.

Noble REMC wouldn’t be successful without our employees and directors. To highlight the work that they do, we’ve established Lighting the Way to place a spotlight on those who help the co-op thrive.

Warsaw native Luke Gillis first wanted to be a paleontologist. Then, in college, he set his sights on English, earning his bachelor’s degree in editing and writing. Soon after, in the midst of applying for master’s degree programs and possibly pursuing law school, he diverged from that path, finding a job at a horse ranch in Michigan.

But looking to move closer to home with his wife and newborn, he wanted to try his hand at a new trade and found himself at Noble REMC — where he’s worked his way up to apprentice lineman.

Let’s hear from Luke:

Tell us your co-op journey.

“I applied here partly because I was looking for something closer to where I grew up. Kristen [his wife] and I had just had our son and were looking for that family atmosphere. I took a chance and applied for the tree trimmer job at the co-op and did that for 11 months. Then, an apprentice lineworker position opened up. I’ve been doing that for two years now.”

What’s your favorite part of your job?

“I really like doing line work. I enjoy learning the trade. I like trades. I think after I got out of school, I just felt more in line with being outside. I can’t sit inside for long. I get antsy. If I had an office, I’d have it organized six different ways by the end of the year, you know. My desk would be over there one day, and then this would be over there and there’d be holes in every inch of this wall.”

Are there any misconceptions to the work you do?

“I honestly think that people don’t take into consideration, during an outage, the time it takes lineworkers to get to work, gather the necessary materials, information, personnel, and then commute to the job. I think that’s the biggest misconception: that when you call in an after-hours outage somebody’s going to be on site right that minute — that we can teleport. It’s a process.”

What do you like to do outside of the co-op?

“I really love being outside. I love hiking, I love soloing in the woods — I’ll go in the woods and build a shelter. I’ve got a friend who’s super into it, too, and we really want to go up to Canada and just drop off and see how long we can last. I think it’s the simple nature of it. It’s almost relaxing. You have one goal. I think sometimes the world around us gets too complicated and distracts from the things that are really important.”

What is your favorite movie?

“I’m going to nerd a little bit here. It’s got to be Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. That’s probably my all-time favorite first movie. It’s the journey, it’s the adventure. You have, you know, a lot of unknowns still at that point. I think that’s what attracts me, and I always love the first movie in a series.”

Favorite music?

“I mean, I’ve seen everything from Jason Aldean and Eric Church to Coheed and Cambria and Underoath … so, no favorite. Everything’s mood dependent.”

What are you watching on TV?

“Oddly enough it’s about one of my favorite hobbies, called ‘Alone.’ It was on the History Channel, and it’s on Hulu now. I love it because they drop 10 people off in the woods, and it’s just the last man standing. I told Kristen I want to be on there so bad.”