To mentor, train, and provide the next generation of electrical grid-system workers with the skills and abilities necessary to provide safe and reliable electric service.
Like many worthwhile projects, Global Power Line Academy first started off as a idea in 2005: Ken Bilek, President and owner of Global Live Line, Inc. (a training and safety consulting business for Electric Utility Companies) and his mentor, Fred Fritz, knocked around the idea of starting a school for powerline workers–their ideas spurred by what they saw happening in the industry; e.g. experienced linemen getting ready to retire, lack of new and interested candidates entering the line trade, and candidates entering the trade without the fundamental skills needed to be successful.
As discussions and ideas continued to grow the idea finally came to fruition in 2009-2010 when Ken partnered with the Keystone Development Partnership (KDP) and held a 10-week pre-apprenticeship linemen’s boot camp. The success of that program lead Ken, with the help of Fred Fritz and other partners, to develop the curriculum and training program that was eventually approved by the PA. State Board of Private Licensed Schools in 2012.
In collaboration with the Owners of the Blue Knob All Season’s Resort, it was identified as an ideal training ground; everything self-contained with student housing (if required), eating facilities, plenty of space for training, along with outdoor activities like golf, mountain bike riding, swimming, and hiking….that’s if the students have energy left after the rigorous training!
Candidates that successfully complete this 10 week boot camp can be proud of their accomplishment (it isn’t easy!) and it isn’t for everyone. Those who do complete the course can be productive members of a line crew as they enter an apprenticeship program. What’s the benefit to a potential employer? We increase your chance of picking a candidate that is going to be successful for you in an apprenticeship program.
Sadly, Fred Fritz, who was instrumental in the creation and formation of this program, passed away on Dec. 11, 2013. Fred was able to meet and interact with the students in session one and two and he will be greatly missed; that said, the school continues to grow because of his efforts at the beginning.
2013 Inductee into the International Lineman's Hall of Fame
Founder & Director of Training
Prior to founding Global Power Line Academy, Ken has had 40 years of experience working as a lineman, trainer, and consultant in the electrical lineworker field.
Ken worked as a union journeyman lineman for 21 years for the Pennsylvania Electric Company. In 1992, Ken expanded his expertise in Transmission and Distribution work by becoming a Live Line Demonstrator for the A. B. Chance Company (now Hubbell Corporation).
During his five-year sojourn, Ken worked in and out of the United States, learning and teaching techniques in high voltage work and proper tool application. His work was very technical and specialized with his expertise being in the area of Extra High Voltage Maintenance (EHV). Ken also served as Job Safety and Training Specialist for the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association (PREA) before starting his own training business.
In 1999, Ken founded Global Live Line, Inc., a technical training and consulting business in all aspects of transmission and distribution electrical work. Ken is the president of Global Live Line, Inc. and is Lead Training Specialist for the organization. To date, Ken has worked in 38 states and 26
countries. Ken has served as an expert witness for legal counsel in cases involving line workers; he is a member of the National Fire Protection Association and a member of the Pennsylvania Municipal Electric Association.
Ken works as a consultant and agent for Bashlin Industries. He has also worked, in an advisory capacity, for a world-renowned manufacturer of live line equipment in Brazil.
Prior to instructing at Global Power Line Academy, Clair has had 37 years of experience working as a lineman, supervisor, and manager in the electrical lineworker field.
Clair started cultivating his lineman career at GPU Energy where he was on the janitorial staff in 1971. Shortly thereafter in 1972, he became an apprentice. During his time as an apprentice, he also served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as a Staff Sergeant.
After working with a line crew, learning the ins-and-outs of line work, Clair took on the title of journeyman lineman in 1978. As he continued to learn and gain experience in the field, he advanced to Line Supervisor in 1989.
While working, Clair completed his Associate of Science in Management in 1995 and later earned his Bachelor of Science in Business in 1998. In 1999, not long after earning his degree, Clair further advanced to Manager of Operations at GPU Energy.
Looking to continue his career and develop his skills and knowledge, Clair then accepted the position of General Manager of Operations at First Energy/Penelec in 2001. He continued his career at Penelec until 2009.
Clair provides students with over 30 years of real-world experience in the utility industry.
N. Perry Miller
Prior to instructing at Global Power Line Academy, Perry has had over 42 years of experience working as a lineman, instructor, and safety representative in the electrical lineworker field.
Perry first started his career in the electrical power line industry in April 1970 when he landed a job at First Energy/Penelec.
During his time at Penelec, Perry became a line instructor and development team member in 2004 in the Power Line Pro Program which included apprentice training, hot sticking, energized rubber glove/sleeve training, underground cable preparation, and fault locating.
Then, in 2000 he was promoted to Line Lead of Line Construction and Maintenance Department. From there, Perry further advanced to the Supervisor of Line Construction and Maintenance Department. In 2012, he became a Company Safety and Training Representative.
Perry now enjoys instructing at Global Power Line Academy where he brings all of his real-world experience and knowledge to the table. His current instruction qualifications include:
• Transmission line hot sticking
• Bucket and pole-top rescue
• Steel tower rescue
• Switching and tagging in substations and line work
In addition to Ken, GPLA utilizes several instructors with over 50 years of experience among them. These instructors are all working linemen, trainers, and consultants working in the industry. They can provide our students with the benefit of their extensive real-world experience, as well as the academic material they need to succeed.
Barbara holds a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development, in addition to a Master’s from the School of Business, Georgia State University. She worked as the Vice President for Professional Services in the health care field in Atlanta, Georgia for 15 years. The last 10 years she has worked in Human Resources Development with National Services Industries in Atlanta and with the Lytle Group in Hollidaysburg, PA.
Barbara handles our administrative duties and our government relations.
Clarion University Partnership
In continued efforts to help meet the workforce needs of the region, we have joined in an educational partnership with Clarion University’s Venango College. Those already enrolled at Clarion are welcome to attend our program to receive real-world, line worker experience as well as credit hours towards their degree. To learn more about this program, please visit their website.
GI Bill® approved!
Global Power Line Academy’s training program has been approved for Veteran’s Educational Benefits. For more information on how to use your Veteran’s Benefits at GPLA, please contact us.
“GI Bill®” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.”