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Jackson EMC employee Jonathan Weaver with his mentor Dwayne Ansley
Jonathan Weaver (left) with his mentor Dwayne Ansley

Jonathan Weaver

Some of our rock star interns and co-op students turn into stellar full-time employees. Jonathan Weaver began working at Jackson EMC in 1997 and he’s been here ever since. We asked him a few questions about his experience.  

What was your job then?
Engineering Assistant – I helped staking engineers with field work and drawing work orders

What do you do now?
Director of System Engineering – responsible for the engineering of the expansion of the distribution system

What program were you working through? (high school intern/ college intern/ co-op/ youth apprentice)
Youth Apprentice

Why did you choose a student job at JEMC?
I was working a retail job that I didn’t enjoy.  I had aspirations to be an engineer and had an opportunity to get work experience with Jackson EMC

What was your mentor experience like?
Dwayne Ansley was my mentor. He had a full plan laid out for the things I should complete and show competence. He spent time going over the plan. I learned a lot from the people I worked with at Jackson EMC. They were always willing to explain things and give me opportunities.

Tell me about a cool experience on the job as a student.
Often when we would drive between staking jobs, me and the staking engineer would play “name the pole structure” where we’d call out the primary assembly on the pole.  It would have sounded nonsensical to anyone else in the vehicle, but it was a great way for me to begin to understand the equipment and the situation where the equipment would be used on a power line. I still look at pole structures all the time. Every now and then on vacation or a road trip, you’ll run across a power pole worth talking about. Also, sometimes while driving when the right song played on the radio, we’d play some air guitar.

Advice for students considering this path?
Learning opportunities at work come more slowly than at school. Sometimes someone will hand you a job without much explanation. This is different from school, which is longer on explanation and shorter on experience. It’s a change of mind and a change of pace.  I can be impatient, so it was difficult at times to see the purpose in some of what I was doing, however, the learning happens in a work environment kind of under your nose. Eventually, you’ll be the expert in the tasks you're given, you’ll be given new opportunities, and slowly the purpose will come into focus. So, I’d say be patient, have fun, and stick with it.