Tiffany McClelland: Beyond the Line
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re recognizing a few women at AEP who inspire us.
If you call her superwoman, you wouldn’t be wrong — just ask her kids. Once you get to know her, you’ll see why. As a lineworker in the Chillicothe area, Tiffany McClelland helps keep the power flowing for customers. She takes pride in her work and loves seeing customers smile, but her work ethic and positive attitude go well beyond the line.
Tiffany didn’t originally set out to be a lineworker, but counts herself lucky to have found a career she loves. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in the military and spent several years in the U.S. Army Reserve. After 20 years working at a local manufacturing plant, she was left wondering what was next when the plant closed its doors. That’s when she made the decision to pursue a career in linework — and she said she’s never been happier at work.
Read below as Tiffany shares more about herself, her job and advice for those interested in a career in energy.
How’d you get into this business?
While working at the manufacturing plant, I met my husband. We bought a house and had two children. Unfortunately, when the kids were young my husband got cancer and passed away at the age of 36. It was pretty rough. It was a great job, but they closed down. I honestly thought I was going to retire from my job at the plant. There’s always a silver lining in everything.
I ended up going through the Power Line Program at Pickaway-Ross Career & Technology Center. I absolutely love my job at AEP Ohio – it pays more, the benefits are better and I’m happier.
My husband passing away was absolutely terrible, but it really made me independent. When you have to start doing all the things he was doing — like keeping the lawnmower running or figuring out what’s wrong with the hot water tank — you’re trying to fix all this stuff and when you actually do it you get some confidence. You realize you can do more than what you ever thought you could.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The customer service part, for sure. Doing a good job, putting people back in power after a storm or outage. I love to put a smile on peoples’ faces and make them happy — that’s pretty rewarding.
What do you wish customers knew about your job?
Sometimes people don’t realize how dangerous it is. It takes a lot of time to make it safe to do the job — especially during a storm. It can be tough to understand, especially when you really want your power back on.
What’s your advice to girls or women interested in a career in linework?
It can be intimidating, especially when it’s a male-dominated field. Don’t let fear keep you from trying — trust your gut. You’re capable of more than you realize. If you think you can do it, there’s no harm in trying. You might surprise yourself.
Who inspires you?
My kids and my dad. My dad is a great motivator and a good life coach. My kids keep me on my toes — always wanting to do better, be better. When I come home and tell them what I did at work, they think I’m superwoman.
Want to learn more about a career in energy? Visit AEP.com/Careers.