In April, in conjunction with Lineworker Appreciation Day, Northern Neck Electric Cooperative established a scholarship for students from the Northern Neck region to support their education at the Power Line Worker Program at Southside Virginia Community College.
This scholarship has been named in honor of Randall J. “Randy” Thompson as a living legacy to his devoted service to NNEC, this community and the profession of lineworker.
Thompson started with NNEC as a right-of-way laborer. He was known for his work ethic and dedication. He moved up as a groundman on the line crew to lineworker and later worked as a serviceman. Thompson worked his way up to become line crew foreman before being promoted to line superintendent. Thompson was one of the first African American line superintendents at an electric cooperative in the United States.
Thompson believed the only way to perform a job was the “right way.” He was an incredible leader within the co-op, imparting his work ethic and his commitment to NNEC and the community to all who were lucky enough to call him a colleague.
In 2017, Thompson unexpectedly passed at the age of 57. He had worked at NNEC for over 36 years.
“I can think of no one more deserving of this honor than Randy,” says Richard McLendon, vice president of member services. “He was not only an exceptional lineworker, but he embodied the cooperative principle of Concern for Community throughout his life. He often volunteered outside of work to help friends and neighbors with his plumbing, electrical and carpentry skills. In many ways, he is Northern Neck Electric Cooperative.”
“Randy excelled at developing the next generation of lineworkers. He had an incredible impact on many here at NNEC. Now, his legacy will continue for decades,” says Jim Moss, vice president of operations. “When these young men and women receive this scholarship, they will learn about Randy and the “right way,” and they will learn about Randy’s concern for community. They will know that he was a man who not only worked the right way but lived the right way.
The scholarship will help support the costs of students attending the Power Line Worker Program at SVCC. Students must reside in the co-op’s service region, the counties of Stafford, King George, Westmoreland, Richmond, Northumberland or Lancaster.
Interested students may find out more about the program and apply at southside.edu/powerline-worker.