Overhead School

Back to Calendar

Overhead School

Overhead School

Date: October 17-20, 2017
  • Day 1: 12:30 pm - 7:00 pm
  • Day 2: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
  • Day 3: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
  • Day 4: 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Location: MMUA Training Center, 1004 Michigan Road, Marshall, MN
Get Directions
This event is now closed for online registration

This event was originally scheduled for September 12-15. Due to Florida's call for mutual aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Overhead School has been rescheduled for October 17-20. We have opened up registration again so if you missed the first cutoff, you can still get signed up to attend.

Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association and our partners, Minnesota Rural Electric Association and American Public Power Association, are pleased to announce the 2017 Overhead Lineworker School. The class offering is diverse; offering useful instruction for all levels of lineworker. Please read through the information carefully and make your selection according to your interests and level of expertise.

What You Will Learn 


Tuesday, October 17

Speaker: Todd Heitkamp, National Weather Service
This session is designed to educate individuals on typical weather threats in this region. Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, straight line winds, floods, and winter storms can and do cause millions of dollars in damage and can change lives forever. It is critical that every person understands and knows what to do when hazardous weather threatens.

Topics to be covered include:
  • Radar basics
  • Types of thunderstorms and “ingredients” for them
  • Severe thunderstorm hazards
  • Winter hazards and winter storm “ingredients”
  • ​Winter preparation and safety

Friday, October 20

To Honor the Craft and Inspire Safety—A Widow's Personal Journey
Tracy Moore, Highline Hero Foundation
Tracy Moore’s life was forever changed in 2002 when her husband Marc, an experienced lineworker, was tragically killed in the line of duty. Tracy is the Founder of the Highline Hero Foundation, a non-profit foundation to assist lineworker families during catastrophic times. She is the heart and soul behind Florida’s Lineworker Appreciation Day and hopes someday to influence our nation to recognize linemen as first responders. Tracy has an unfailing love for the trade and an even greater passion concerning your safety. She is the sister of a lineman, the wife of a lineman and unfortunately, the widow of a lineman. Tracy shares her heart and story not only to honor Marc, but to remember the fallen and honor those still serving in the trade that will forever remain the focus of her mission of safety. 

2017 Rodeo Recap—Video & Sharing
Mike Willetts and Cody Raveling, MMUA
Minnesota was well represented in May at the national Rodeo in San Antonio, with five Teams and six Apprentice competing. Hear from several who participated on what the experience was like and how they plan to prepare for next year’s national Rodeo which will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina. Plus we recap our first Minnesota Rodeo and talk about our goals for growing this event. You won't want to miss it!


We will make every effort to accommodate the first choice selection for participant's hands-on training, however, if the number of registrations for a particular class exceeds our maximum limit, we may need to assign a second choice. Please be prepared to specify a second choice on your registration.

Class 1: Backyard Easements and Construction
Instructors: Todd Keach and Chad Peterson, Rochester Public Utilities
This class will focus on pole lines that are considered in backyard easements, which at times can be impossible to access with bucket trucks. In this class, participants will practice and demonstrate how to change out a backyard pole. They will also be taught the safe and correct ways of transferring the primary and secondary from the old pole to the new, all while energized. Participants will also experience changing out a transformer using their belt and hooks and different rigging strategies needed for backyard construction. Please bring your climbing gear/fall protection.

This class is entirely hands-on training and will cover:
  • Using tailgate forms to identify hazards
  • Setting up a safe work zone
  • Proper use of PPE
  • Demonstration of proper tools and equipment
  • How to work efficiently from belt and hooks
  • Demonstration of a backyard digger/derrick
  • Different rigging techniques

Class 2: Overhead Maintenance
Instructors: Trent Hawkinson, Brainerd Public Utilities; Steve Tiegs, Austin Utilities; Larry Lamote, Marshall Municipal Utilities; Zac Johnson, Elk River Municipal Utilities
Overhead system maintenance is of the utmost importance when it comes to preventing that major outage. This class will challenge the apprentice lineworker up to first step journeyman. Participants will have the opportunity to practice several different troubleshooting techniques including testing, grounding and proper rubber cover up. A primary goal will be to focus on becoming proficient at system maintenance while adhering to all safe work practices and methods. Please bring your climbing gear/fall protection.

This class is entirely hands-on training and will cover:
  • Strategy to system maintenance
  • Review of applicable safety rules
  • Using tailgate forms to identify hazards associated with the job
  • Setting up a safe work zone
  • Proper use of PPE
  • Demonstration of proper tools and proper use
  • How to work efficiently from belt and hooks
  • Proper cover-up procedure
  • Proper de-energizing and grounding procedures
  • Safe energized gloving procedures from an aerial device
Class goals include:
  • Replacing damaged crossarms and equipment
  • Completing underground risers
  • Repairing damaged overhead conductors
  • Changing out energized dead-end bells
  • Troubleshooting secondary outage scenarios

Class 3: Mastering Hot Sticking
Instructor: Scott Windham, Santee Cooper
This class is an advanced climbing course for the journeyman or higher level apprentice. Learn advanced climbing techniques and safe work methods for distribution maintenance activities. The course will include classroom training and hands-on field training. Please bring your climbing gear/fall protection.

Classroom training will cover topics such as:
  • Principles of live line maintenance
  • General work rules
  • Safety Check
    • Tailgate discussion
    • Rubber gloves
    • Personal tools
    • Hotline tool check and identification
    • First Aid
    • Review of voltages
    • Appropriate clearances; safe working distances
  • ​Planning
    • Check construction standard: reference to specifications manual, safety codes, clearances, etc.
  • Importance of tailgate discussion; how crew will perform the job
  • Care, handling and maintenance of tools and equipment
  • Selection of tools and equipment for the proper tool layout
  • Tool load ratings
  • Rigging principles
Hands-on field training will include:
  • Principles of live line maintenance
  • Crossarm change, insulator change & transformer change
  • Cutting in a dead-end
  • Converting from a single to double crossarm

Class 4: Rigging and Digger Derrick Qualification—Phase One and Phase Two
Instructor: Bruce Westergaard and Shane St. Clair, MMUA

The class will cover Phase One and Phase Two of the Digger Derrick Qualification program. The purpose is to keep employees who operate or work around digger derricks safe and up to date with OSHA crane standards and Rigging requirements. Phase Three operator evaluation will occur at a future date at your city/utility using their equipment.

Please bring a calculator, pencil and notepad for day one rigging session. Work clothing, work shoes and appropriate PPE required for Day two Digger Derrick evaluations.

Covered topics include:
Day One - Rigging standards and principles:

  • Proper rigging and control of loads
  • The Rigging Triangle
  • Sling configurations and capacities
  • Load weight and center of gravity
  • Rigging hardware selection, inspection and use
  • Use and inspection of chain, wire and synthetic slings

Day Two - Digger Derrick training and evaluation:

  • Training on APPA safety manual hand and verbal signals
  • Written & practical performance-based testing with hand and verbal signals
  • Digger Derrick setup and operation principles
  • Instruction and hands-on evaluation of participants on Digger Derrick:
    • Inspection and setup
    • Lifting a load and maneuvering it guided by hand signals
    • Release, use and stowing of the digging auger


Class 5: Powerline Design and Staking
Instructor: Steven Cook and Matt Mueller, Rochester Public Utilities
Intended for crew leaders, foreman, others in leadership positions or those moving into a leadership role. This class will focus on rebuilding MMUA’s training field into a more “real world” scenario. Students will work together to come up with a design that would resemble a city’s infrastructure with a variety of different consumers. The final design that is drawn up will then be used in conjunction with upcoming Underground and Overhead Schools to rebuild the training field. 

This class will cover a variety of topics including:
  • Different design techniques used in today's world
  • Determining proper wire sizing
  • MMUA's spec book
  • Transformer sizing

Minnesota Lineworker Rodeo

Join us for our first annual event! The Minnesota Lineworker Rodeo will precede the Overhead School. All classes of lineworker—from the first-year apprentice to the advanced lineworker—are eligible to participate. Individual events will include Hurtman Rescue, 5kV Insulator Change Out and Obstacle Course for Apprentice and for Journeyman.

Trophies/plaques will be awarded to top 3 individuals in each category, for each event. Plus we’ll award an overall trophy in the Apprentice category and Journeyman category.

To top off the event, we will hold a reception and present awards to the Rodeo winners that evening. The reception is open to all State Rodeo participants and participants of the Overhead School.

NOTE: Separate registration required for the State Rodeo. No onsite registration allowed. Online registration coming soon!

Evening Activities

These optional activities are available at participant’s expense on Wednesday evening. Sign up form will be available during the school.

  • Golf 
  • Sporting Clay Shoot

Schedule *

Tuesday, October 17
12:30 pm  Registration
1:00 pm  General Session: SkyWarn
5:00 pm  Reception/Rodeo Awards

Wednesday, October 18
8:30 am  Hands-On Training & Advanced Lineworker Classes
12:00 pm  Lunch (provided)
1:00 pm  Hands-On Training & Advanced Lineworker Classes
5:00 pm  Golf or Sporting Clay Shoot (at participant’s expense)

Thursday, October 19
8:30 am  Hands-On Training & Advanced Lineworker Classes
12:00 pm  Lunch (provided)
1:00 pm  Hands-On Training & Advanced Lineworker Classes

Friday, October 20
8:30 am  General Session: To Honor the Craft and Inspire Safety—A Widow's Personal Journey
10:00 am  General Session: 2017 Rodeo Recap—Video & Sharing
12:00 pm  Closing Comments & Wrap Up

* Program subject to change without notice.

What to Bring

  • Hard Hat
  • Safety Glasses
  • Work Gloves
  • Work Boots (no tennis shoes allowed)
  • High Visibility Clothing–appropriate for the weather
  • Rain Gear (just in case)
  • Fall Restraint (if your class involves climbing). Required regardless of experience. MMUA has a limited number of fall restraint devices available for participants to use.
  • Note Pad and Pen/Pencil
  • Calculator

Certificate of Attendance

Overhead School participants earn 19 hours for attendance and a certificate will be available online. Watch for an email notification from MMUA after the school. Please note: we must have the participant's email address on file in order to send the certificate.

Registration Fee

Registration Fees (by September 25, 2017)

Members —$440 per person
Non-Members—$690 per person

NOTE: Registration fees increase $50 on September 26, 2017

Deadline to register: September 28, 2017

Registration fee includes workshop tuition, materials, Tuesday evening reception, Wednesday and Thursday lunch, refreshment breaks and a certificate of attendance.


MMUA charges a $25 per person processing fee for registrations cancelled by September 25, 2017. MMUA must be notified by 4:30 pm on September 25 to qualify. Sorry, no refunds issued for cancellations after September 25.

Hotel / Motel Information - Marshall, MN

For a map of hotels in Marshall, click HERE. The AmericInn and Ramada offer special pricing for participants. Just ask for MMUA's reduced rate when making your reservation.


By registering for this event I, the attendee, authorize Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) to photograph me at this event and use such photographs in MMUA marketing materials (both electronic and print). I understand that I will not be paid for giving this consent. 


Please contact Theresa Neddermeyer by email tneddermeyer@mmua.org or phone 763.551.1230.

A printable version of the Overhead School brochure is also available. NOTE: This is the original brochure with the September dates.


Thank You, Annual Sponsors

View all Annual Sponsors

Video Captures 2016 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo

We now have a 4-minute rodeo recap video of the 2016 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo, live on the MMUA YouTube channel.  It features great footage and interviews with a number of key players in the event.  The April 2 event was hosted by Shakopee Public Utilities and MMUA, and brought together lineworkers from across the country. Watch this video and enjoy reliving that amazing day.  Be sure to bundle up before you click!