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KUB’s first female lineworker inspires ahead of International Women’s Day
March 7, 2022

  kub first female lineworker amber ray
Amber Ray; image courtesy of KUB

KNOXVILLE - The glass ceiling isn’t an issue from the boom arm of a Knoxville Utilities Board truck – at least that’s what KUB’s first female lineworker, Amber Ray, has found.

As the first female graduate of Tennessee College of Applied Technology’s powerline technician program, Ray accepted a position in KUB’s lineworker apprenticeship program in January 2022.

“Amber’s skill set, passion and values are great assets to KUB, and we’re proud to have her contributions as we continue to provide reliable utilities,” said Tanisha Baker, KUB diversity, equity and inclusion analyst. “Diversity, equity and inclusion are integral to our mission of providing excellent customer service. To do that, we must reflect our community in our workforce.”

Ray shared her experience while working at a job site in advance of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8. Only 6.6% of powerline technicians in the country are female, and the job remains one of several occupations that are overwhelmingly held by men. Ray hopes to inspire other women and increase representation in her line of work and other male-dominated industries.

”I’m happy to be in this role at KUB, and proud to be the first female lineworker here,” Ray said. “I love this line of work, and it’s exciting to know that I could make an impact on other women who might be interested in this work.”

KUB’s Steve Proffitt, manager of overhead construction; Baker, diversity, equity and inclusion analyst; and Dewayne Corum, a fellow lineworker each spoke about the company’s culture and how KUB is expanding opportunities through the apprenticeship program and other efforts. The most recent cohort of apprentices is its most diverse yet, officials said.

“This is a place where people can flourish,” said Proffitt. “We want people of all backgrounds and abilities here.”

KUB regularly hires candidates with different backgrounds, experiences and ideas. The company seeks and retains diverse applicants through intentional actions to enhance the employee experience, with a focus on equity and inclusion.

“It’s important to KUB that our employees feel respected and valued,” said Gabriel Bolas, KUB president and CEO. “We are excited to celebrate Amber’s accomplishments ahead of International Women’s Day and hope her story inspires others to pursue careers that align with their passions and the unique skills and perspectives they can contribute.”

For Ray, her path means keeping on track to finish the program as she learns from more experienced lineworkers at KUB.

”I’ve been able to learn a lot about working in the field from other lineworkers in a short amount of time here,” Ray said. “My coworkers and I are already working as a team, and it’s just the beginning.”

KUB’s lineworker apprenticeship program typically lasts between 4-6 years.

For information about careers at KUB and to apply, visit

About Knoxville Utilities Board
KUB is a municipal utility serving Knox and parts of seven adjacent counties and provides electric, gas, water, and wastewater services to more than 473,000 customers.

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