The Perfect Job

One of the PUD’s newest employees says public power is a big part of his life

By Rodger Nichols

After getting his start in public power at Klickitat PUD, Bernie Predeek is a journeyman lineman at Northern Wasco County PUD. Photo by Rodger Nichols

For some people, finding the right career can take some time. For others, the career comes to them. The latter was the case for Bernie Predeek, who grew up in White Salmon. His father was an equipment operator for Washington’s Department of Natural Resources. His mother was a nurse at Skyline Hospital.

“I spent basically my whole life there— other than three years I went to Eastern Washington University at Cheney,” he says.

At 19, Bernie found a summer job working as a groundsman for a Klickitat PUD line crew based in White Salmon.

“I almost call it a scholarship-type job,” he says. “There was a requirement that you had to be going to college. It was a good-paying job and a good job for a kid because you’re doing everything that you can do to assist the journeyman—all the work nobody wants to do: running the shovel, shipping stuff on a rope to the people up in the air, and cleaning up. It’s great training.”

Bernie worked that job for a few summers.

“There was a groundsman on the crew who quit, which left an opening, and I took that opening,” he says. “I was 19 when I started the summer jobs. I’m just a few days short of turning 46, so I’ve been working for public power for a long time.”

Bernie took apprenticeship training and passed his exams. He became a journeyman lineman in 2001 and has been working on the lines ever since, whether up in the air or underground.

Bernie enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Lori, and sons Lucas and Logan. Photo courtesy of Bernie Predeek

Bernie recently got remarried. He has 2 sons, one 17 and one soon to be 13. They enjoy the outdoors but also love video games, “like all other teenage kids these days,” Bernie says.

Bernie loves the outdoors, hiking both sides of the Gorge, particularly around Mount Adams; hunting deer and grouse; camping; riding motorcycles; and fishing.

“We have a Columbia-sized boat that we don’t take out too often and a rowboat that gets a lot of time on the mountain lakes,” he says. “Most of my fishing in the recent past has been tying hooks for my boys, but I was happy when they were able to tie their own. I’d do it again because it’s fun. Just to get those guys out there and see the joy in their faces when they get to hook into something.”

Bernie joined Northern Wasco County PUD on February 1 this year, making him one of the utility’s newest employees. He says the job as a journeyman lineman is the perfect job for him.

“I love public power,” he says. “It’s been a big part of my life for more than half my life. It’s wonderful to work for the people that you serve, and you get to interact with people all day long. It’s just a big family, and the service you provide is for the public. I really like that about this job.”