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It’s Not Luck: Canton Underground Celebrates 20 Injury-Free Years

by on April 23, 2021
Left to right: Vince Eberhardt, Bryan Wright, Eric Halsey, Mark Copeland, Brian Tong, Seth Robison, Mark Icardi, Eric McCreery. Top: Ed Nuske

Distribution System Supervisor Eric McCreery knows from his family ancestry a thing or two about the luck of the Irish. But you don’t reach 20 years of injury-free work by being lucky.

McCreery’s underground network team in Canton celebrated this significant Zero Harm milestone on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. The team is a small group of seven network mechanics and a crew supervisor. Their average age is 55 and they know each other well.

“All the guys here have worked in the trenches together for years. They’ve worked their way up,” McCreery said. “We’re more like a family. It’s a close-knit group. There’s a whole lot of experience here, and that helps.”

According to McCreery, Canton’s underground network was built in the late 1920s and is the third-oldest underground network in the country behind only New York and New Orleans. With aging equipment that has been around for decades, the Canton underground network was completely rebuilt starting in 2006 through 2016 – a huge undertaking that installed brand-new cable, transformers, protectors, a monitoring system and a new substation. The project was a seminal moment for many of the workers who worked side by side during the effort, cementing long-lasting camaraderie and valuable skills.

The group was formed after a restructuring in 2001 and that’s when current safety records started. (It’s possible that the 20-year safety performance may extend farther back.) The group’s small size ensures they work with each other almost every day and that’s why they operate completely in sync.

“These guys are all together, all the time. They know each other so well that when a task is being performed they know the next step before they’re even told to do it,” McCreery said. “They’re very good at communicating. No one is afraid to speak up. These guys are very good at what they do – they’ll stop a job because things aren’t going to work or because something may not be right.”

McCreery says Canton network mechanics are hard workers who achieve results consistently and quietly. They don’t seek out accolades, but this milestone is worth taking a moment to pause and recognize.

“They like being under the radar. They come in, do their job and do it well. They don’t ask for the limelight, but they deserve it.”

  • Eric Halsey, Network Crew Supervisor   
  • Vince Eberhardt, Network Mechanic-A       
  • Mark Icardi, Network Mechanic-A                        
  • Ed Nuske, Network Mechanic-A     
  • Seth Robison, Network Mechanic-A       
  • Brian Tong, Network Mechanic-A           
  • Bryan Wright, Network Mechanic-A       
  • Mark Copeland, Network Mechanic-B                                                                                                        

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