High above the earth, linemen carefully replace high-voltage structure that was battered by Washington’s winter. By framing the scene with towering evergreens and a mountainous backdrop, Seattle Local 77 member Derek Williams turned this moment into the most popular shot of the 17th IBEW Photo Contest.


Iconic images of linemen on the job scored big in this year’s contest, which drew more than 4,000 votes overall from members and the general public.

About 300 submissions from members across the U.S. and Canada were narrowed to a field of 15 finalists last month. Voters selected their top three favorites via online ballots between Jan. 26 – Feb. 9.

See the winning images below, and look for more coverage in the April issue of The Electrical Worker.

First Place Winner ($200)

Derek Williams, Seattle Local 77


Storms and wintry weather can deal blows to transmission infrastructure. Here, Willams’ fellow journeyman linemen and apprentices take to the poles on a comparatively nicer day to replace 115-kilovolt structures. The well-composed shot reflects the towering heights linemen must scale to get the job done right.

Second Place Winner ($150)

Derrick Maciel, Boston Local 104

Teamwork isn’t just a word – it’s a vital insurance policy when doing high-altitude work like the two members in Maciel’s photo. Here we see both safety and symmetry, hallmarks of the union ethos and art in the everyday.

Third Place Winner ($100)

Shawn Murphy, Vacaville, Calif., Local 1245

Take away the linemen, the wires and the pole, and you’ve got a crisp, clean nature photo worthy of a travel brochure. Add the members back in, and you get a sense for how, for thousands of IBEW men and women, outside work isn’t just a job – it’s a natural calling.

Honorable Mentions ($50 each)

Michael Vander Weit, Cranbury, N.J., Local 94

As the photos above show, working in the outdoors lends itself to bright, bristling colors. But here, Vander Weit’s skillful black and white rendering offers a noir-like take on a perennially popular image.

Thomas Lawless, Long Island, N.Y., Local 25

Lawless’ vibrant photo of the Big Apple, with the Tribute in Light beams shining heavenward, commemorates the tragedy of 9/11 while also showing the vitality of a resilient city that thrums with life, movement and energy.


Unfortunately, a few individuals tried unsuccessfully to bypass the computer safeguards on our contest page, resulting in hundreds of fraudulent votes we flagged and discarded. We appreciate the vast majority of the members and the voting public who played fair, keeping in mind the spirit of fun and friendly competition that this photo contest has represented for nearly 20 years.