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Woman in power, she's breaking the glass ceiling on utility poles in Virginia

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Posted at 10:36 AM, Apr 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-11 10:36:09-04

NORTHERN NECK, Va. - If you’re ever searching for Genevie Boarman the first place you should look is up.

Gena, as she is known to friends, is climbing to new heights while breaking the glass ceiling.

The 26-year-old works for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative. She is learning to repair and restore electricity along the companies 2,100 miles of power lines across six counties.

Boarman is proving in a field long dominated by men, there is room at the top.

“I am a line worker/lineman. I like being called lineman. I don’t really go for the whole line worker thing,” seh said.

The training can be brutal, especially during a late winter blast. “It was my first ice storm that I worked. It was definitely an experience,” said Boarman.

It’s definitely not a job for the faint of heart. “I’m not going to lie. I was scared the first time I went up a 45 foot pole,” she recalled.

Safety is a top priority. It needs to be when you’re handling 7,200 volts.

“You’re constantly learning on the job. There is never a time you’re not going to learn something,” said Boarman.

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She has the support of her colleagues on the ground and in the air, like foreman Craig Loving.

“To me I believe she is a modern-day trailblazer,” said Loving. “Even my daughter said she’d like to be like Gena and not like her dad. She is making her own way and doing a great job. She is hard working and a great addition to my crew.”

Northern Neck Electric Cooperative’s CEO Brad Hicks said, “She has been well-accepted because she has earned it. And I would put her up there against any other line worker out there.”

Boarman doesn’t need to look far for inspiration. Her late-dad Joe was a respected lineman for 35 years.

“I definitely grew up around it. Every day. It always crosses my mind,” said Boarman.

Like a first responder, Joe’s job forced him to miss family vacations and holidays.

“I’ve always looked up to my Dad. He was a really good man. Really want to be like him when I get older,” she said.

The rewards come when customers sitting in the dark finally see the light.

“I can’t see myself doing anything else. Because I enjoy helping people,” said Boarman.

Genevie Boarman IHAS

Boarman’s ultimate goal is to reach Journeyman Lineman and Foreman.

“I just come to work like every other guy who works here, and I hang right with them,” she said.

Before switching to a career in electricity, Boarman worked in the restaurant industry.

Boarman still has about four years of in field and classroom training before becoming a full-fledged line worker, or as she likes to be known a lineman.

Genevie Boarman is a woman in power. Proving there is room for her at the top.

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