EMPLOYEE STORIES – GRANT JORGENSEN
Grant Jorgensen brings a unique perspective to his role as a tree trimmer and it’s served him well for over 20 years with Active. As a fully qualified electrical linesman he’s the person crews are depending on to earth electricity and explain where and when the team can work under what conditions.
It’s a job that’s taken him all over News South Wales, from Sydney to the Central Coast and beyond, notching up enough kilometres to travel “to the moon and probably back”.
Grant explains word of mouth first drew him to Active during a period when the electrical industry was in turmoil amidst the lockouts of the 1990s. He had eight years electrical experience under his belt at the time, working for Sydney Electricity conducting pole changeovers, moving lines and replacing poles.
Grant started out with Active at Chatswood and Epping before making the shift to the Central Coast covering Wyong, Gosford, Port Stephens and Cessnock. In the early days there was also work living away in areas like Buladehlah, Forster and Penrith, but when Grant became a sole parent 14 years ago, he kept the travel closer to home.
“In 20 years I’ve covered a fair bit of ground,” Grant concedes. “But I enjoy knowing and seeing the different sites.”
Among the more memorable was tree trimming around Mooney Mooney Creek where the job included walking down the valley side, and through the waters of the creek, armed with a chainsaw and still trimming trees.
“There are some unbelievable sites, the high mountains of the Hunter Valley, and the fog near the wineries rolling in… Looking out from the mountains at Cessnock and seeing all the way to Nelson Bay. It’s not always comfortable but sometimes it’s so beautiful.”
His length of time in the region and with Active has allowed him to get to know customers and the area well.
“That can be invaluable when negotiating,” Grant explains. “You build a rapport with people and understand what they are likely to want. It’s an opportunity to build up trust.”
That trust also extends to the team he works with, mentoring younger workers and sharing his insight into electrical infrastructure and tree trimming.
“I know the network well, so can explain the terminology and how the network works. I try to get this across so people have a better understanding.
“I try to look a couple of steps ahead, find the traps and communicate the risk. Things can change very quickly when working with electricity.”
And Grant notes Active’s commitment to electrical safety is one of the company’s assets.
“Introducing the insulated Versalift is arguably the biggest and smartest thing Active has ever done,” he says. “It was a good thing for everyone in the industry.”
Innovation particularly appeals to Grant, who also has a keen interest in science and engineering.
“‘How come?’ Was my constant question as a child. I always pulled things apart to see how they worked.”
Now he utilises this inquisitive nature to keep an eye out for any pitfalls facing his crew in the field.
“I take pride in what I do,” Grant says. “Some say ‘You must have an Active tattoo’, but I like to do a job well.”
At 54, Grant says he’ll be doing that job a while longer yet after spending more time with the company “than most people get for murder”.
“I dare say the last job I work in will be Active. I’d like to stick with it as long as I can.”