Local News

Female lineman makes strides in South Carolina's utility sector


In a field traditionally dominated by men, Abbi Davis, a 33-year-old lineman with Santee Electric Cooperative, is challenging stereotypes and breaking barriers.

Davis, hailing from the Central Coast of North Carolina, found her way to South Carolina about two and a half years ago, lured by an opportunity to work for a cooperative near Columbia. Prior to joining Santee Electric, she gained experience as a lineman working for a contractor in the Outer Banks, spanning from her native North Carolina to coastal Virginia.

“I always wanted to work for a cooperative,” Davis said. ‘It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, and when the opportunity presented itself, I made the move to South Carolina.”

Residing in Georgetown County, Davis has been in the field for about three and a half years, including her time in training. Initially studying agriculture in college, Davis found herself drawn to the trades after exploring various career paths. “I come from a family with a strong work ethic,” Davis explained. “My father was in the trades, and I’ve always loved hard work and being outdoors. Linework combines everything I enjoy, plus the opportunity to help people.”

Davis, who participated in the recent Lineman’s Rodeo, made a mark by clinching third place in the written portion statewide. The annual event, organized by South Carolina’s electric cooperatives, serves as a platform for line workers to showcase their skills.“It’s not just about competition,” Davis emphasized. “It’s an opportunity to shed light on what we do and inspire others, especially young girls, to consider careers in the trades.”

As the sole female lineman at Santee Electric Cooperative and only the second in the state’s history, Davis acknowledges challenges but also highlights the progress in attitudes towardwomen in the field.

“In previous jobs, I faced negativity and skepticism,” Davis recalled. “But at Santee, I’ve been fully embraced. Everyone treats me as part of the team, without a hint of bias.”

Davis’s determination to excel in her role is fueled by her passion for helping others. “Every day, I wake up knowing I can make a difference,” she said. “Whether it’s restoring power for someone on medical equipment or assisting a family in their dream of homeownership, the ability to help people is what drives me.”

Despite the physical demands of the job and the need to approach tasks differently due to her physique, Davis remains undeterred. She sees her uniqueness as an asset, offering a fresh perspective and problem-solving approach.

Looking ahead, Davis aims to continue inspiring others and advocating for diversity in the utility sector. “I want to show that anyone, regardless of gender, can thrive in this field,” she affirmed.

“It’s about passion, dedication, and the willingness to make a difference.”

As Davis continues her journey as a lineman, she stands as a testament to resilience and the power of breaking down barriers in pursuit of one’s dreams.