New Employees Bring Skills to North Wasco
PUD welcomes Wilson, Bartz and Sperber
Jim Wilson joined Northern Wasco County PUD as a lineman in November 2016.
“I was a lineman in construction for 14 years,” Jim says. “I was born in The Dalles, but I’ve lived my whole life in Dufur.”
Work as a lineman means Jim’s days are quite varied.
“Anything from setting poles to stringing new wires, to hooking up new homes.” He’s also on call when emergencies occur.
Jim has a wife, Alexandra, and two boys, Karl and Kyle, who both go to Dufur School.
Asked why he sought to work for the PUD, Jim says, “I wanted to get closer to home. I missed a lot of my older boy’s events on the road—school and sports.”
When he’s not working, Jim likes to go camping, fishing and hunting. He also likes to go on trips, including two to Yellowstone.
He says going to work for the PUD was a good choice.
“I love my job,” he says. “It’s outside. It’s not repetitious. I do a variety of things. I really enjoy it. My boy is already set up with his own little climbing area. He’s climbing now. That’s what he wants todo.”
Alex Bartz started with the PUD just three months ago as a meter reader.
“I was a locator before, marking underground utilities all over Oregon and Washington,” Alex says. “Like Jim, I wanted something that was a little more local. This is a good job with good benefits. It’s stable work, not so stress inducing.”
As a meter reader, Alex does a lot of walking.
In his free time, he likes to play music on the drums, guitar and bass. He also likes to go shooting.
Asked if he has any hidden talents, Alex’s answer speaks more to his talents as a jokester than anything else: “I’m not very good at juggling and not very good at sweeping.”
As for his experience at the PUD so far, Alex says, “It’s the best place I’ve ever worked.”
Josh Sperber started as a meter reader for the PUD in October 2017. He had barely four months on the job when he was hit by a tree in an off-duty accident and broke his back.
He says he has been fortunate to make a strong recovery and hopes to be back on the job very soon.
“I’m in the less than 1 percentile for people who recover and what I’ve gotten back,” he says. “I’ve gotten everything back. I’m just working on my leg strength.”
Josh did a wide variety of jobs before joining the PUD, including five years in the oil fields. “I didn’t see my family much, so I didn’t want to do that again.”
Josh married his wife, Ashley, on January 6. He has two children from a previous marriage, Kaylie, 10, and Daxton, 8. He and Ashley also have a baby boy due in June. At Ashley’s suggestion, Josh went to lineman school last year and is hoping to eventually get on the lineman crew at the PUD.
“Right now, all the guys are retiring who have been here forever,” Josh says. “I’m glad I’m still able to do it. It was a big scare. I had to learn how to walk again.”