Each year, dozens of firefighters put on their gear and take part in the Fight for Air Climb. This year, they will have some competition because We Energies line mechanics are going to do the climb in their gear.
Line mechanics are the people you often see way up in the air fixing power lines and making sure customers have power.
"We've got line mechanics that have been doing this for 35-40 years, and they wouldn't do anything else," said Dave Harris, operations manager of work methods and development for We Energies.
Harris trains line mechanics, and on March 9, he and his team will put on their work belts and climb to the top of the U.S. Bank Center during the 11th annual event.
His team consists of five people that directly report to him, and each of them will carry about 25 pounds of gear.
"The thing I'm most frightened about, if you will, is the rubber gloves we're going to be wearing," Harris said. "They're quite hot and they hold a lot of moisture in, so as we're climbing the steps we're going to be sweating a lot."
And forget the comfy sneakers, the We Energies workers will sport steel-toed work boots.
"I'm a little worried about my feet, tell you the truth, more than anything," said Vern Peterson, vice president of Wisconsin field operations for We Energies.
Harris said his team has been practicing in their boots, and many have complained their feet hurt and they have blisters.
"I think that was part of the benefit of doing it was looking at the firefighters interact with each other during the climb and then just bringing that competitive nature to We Energies, too." — Dave Harris, operations manager of work methods and development for We Energies
But the team knows that will make the trip to the top all the more worth it. "I think that's what all my team's going to do: We're going to shed the gear and take the elevator down," Harris joked.
Hopefully after a little friendly competition.
"I think that was part of the benefit of doing it was looking at the firefighters interact with each other during the climb and then just bringing that competitive nature to We Energies, too," Harris said.
Peterson added, "We saw what the firefighters did. (We) really thought it was really cool — their enthusiasm and their little competition — and we thought it would be really good to bring that to our company."
Harris encourages other companies to get their line mechanics involved in the Fight for Air Climb. He said We Energies welcomes the competition.
TODAY'S TMJ4 is once again a proud sponsor. Storm Team 4 meteorologist Brian Gotter will be there and will also do the climb.
For more information, visit the American Lung Association's website.