Photo by Scott Hilling/ENR

Any time ENR mobilizes for an important story, you know the subject touches our hearts. This year’s feature on Award of Excellence winner Matt Compher of Quanta Services was no different. To get the print and video reporting done, I dispatched Deputy Editor Richard Korman, who covers safety, along with Art Director Scott Hilling and multitalented freelance photographer and videographer Bruce Buckley.

They met Compher and his colleagues at projects in Denver, where I also joined in, and at Quanta’s Northwest Lineman College campus in Edgewater, Fla. The resulting story, starting on p. 33, is an exploration of Compher’s conversion in his safety approach thinking and how he and his teammates now use the company’s Capacity Model safety program to limit harm from serious injuries. Quanta Services customers include utilities, and they perform much work on energized overhead power lines, with more to come. A video about Compher, edited by former ENR staffer Luke Abaffy, is now on

In Denver and on the college’s campus, Compher showed some of the unselfconscious charisma and earnestness that has helped him and Quanta carry the message of the contractor’s safety approach to staff. utilities and associations.


Cover is from ENR archives

Korman has had an interest in lineworker safety dating back almost 20 years. In 2004, he led a team that produced the cover story “Lineman Lost,” about the  death of 22-year-old Matthew Walker Johnson amid an uptick in transmission and distribution construction and repair.

While reporting the story about Compher and Quanta, Korman was especially impressed with skills being taught at the college campus, education of trainers and the quality of its materials.

“What I had thought I understood before from viewing repair of high-voltage electrical lines, I had not really fully grasped,” Korman says. “No matter what technique is used, distances, voltages, insulation and grounding all must be considered. There’s also climbing and hoisting to manage safely.”

That highlighted for Korman the importance of Compher’s and Quanta’s decision to apply New View safety ideas to such hazardous work.I think you will find it fascinating reading.