One minute you’re thinking aloud about a design for your co-op’s Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day shirt; the next, that design is set to grace vehicles throughout the state.
That’s what happened in Alabama, where folks will soon be able to show their gratitude to lineworkers with a new license plate—the design for which was inspired by a co-op official.
It began last year when Brad Kimbro, chief operating officer at Wiregrass Electric Cooperative in Hartford, contacted WordSouth, their communications partner.
“I said, ‘Here’s a concept that I would like to have for our Lineman Appreciation Day T-shirt. I’d like to have a silhouette of a lineman on a pole, the state of Alabama behind it.’ And that’s what they did for us,” said Kimbro.
Wiregrass shared photos of its appreciation day event on social media, where Seth Hammett took notice. Hammett is both the chairman of the Energy Institute of Alabama and vice president of business development for PowerSouth Energy, the Andalusia-based G&T.
Hammett contacted Michael Kelley at the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives (AREA), who then called Kimbro with a request.
“He said, ‘They have seen your design and they love it. Would you be willing to share it with the Energy Institute of Alabama?’” Kimbro recalled. Of course, and the design was adopted by AREA and the institute as its official logo for Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day, celebrated the first Monday of each June under a resolution passed by lawmakers in 2014.
“I think our cooperative has taken a lot of pride in that,” said Kimbro.
But that wasn’t all, because the institute liked the design so much they used it on the state’s new “Thank A Lineman” license plates.
“It’s pretty cool. I was happy that they were able to utilize our cooperative’s initial concept that WordSouth polished up and helped create. Now it’s going to be living on forever on a license plate for Alabama,” said Kimbro.
Stephen V. Smith, WordSouth’s CEO, said his firm is “proud to work alongside Wiregrass Electric Cooperative as it honors the linemen who work in every condition imaginable to ensure their members have power.”
Residents and businesses can now commit to purchase the tags. One-thousand commitments are required by May 31, 2019, for the plates to be issued.
“That should be fairly easy. All of the cooperatives are behind it. Alabama Power is behind it,” said Kimbro. There are some 2,000 lineworkers in the state, and Kimbro said there’s an excellent reason to thank them.
“If they don’t do their job, then the rest of us don’t have a chance.”
Michael W. Kahn is a staff writer at NRECA.