Title: Founder and Director of Training
Company: Global Powerline Academy, Global Live Line, Inc.
Location: Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Ken Bilek, founder and director of training at the Global Powerline Academy and Global Live Line, Inc., has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in electrical lineman training and consulting worldwide.
After nearly three decades that included working as a union journeyman lineman for the Pennsylvania Electric Company, then advancing to become a live line demonstrator for what is now the Hubbell Corporation, Mr. Bilek acquired more than enough experience and expertise to instruct newcomers to the industry when he decided to open Global Live Line, Inc., in 1999 followed by the Global Powerline Academy (GPLA) in 2010. His professional prowess has since led to his induction into the International Lineman’s Hall of Fame and a prominent feature endorsement in Marquis Magazine. In GPLA, he trains candidates in the basic aspects of line work during a 10-week boot camp that focuses on the fundamental safety and hands-on application skills needed to be successful in an apprenticeship program and a productive member of a journeyman line crew. His academy partners with Clarion State University to offer students an associate degree in line construction and engineering technology. By the end of 2021, more than 93 percent of GPLA students were employed in the trade and advancing their careers.
A specialist in everything involving electrical linemen, energized transmission, energized maintenance, and barehand assignments, Mr. Bilek and his company, Global Live Line, Inc., work with the local utility company to bring their employees up to speed in energized transmission work. He is sought after across the industry for his know-how as a subject-matter expert consultant and a lead technical training adviser as needed for various companies, having assisted Bashlin Industries, American Hotline, Yale Cordage, Ritz Live Line Equipment, and others. Mr. Bilek also has served as an expert witness for legal counsel in cases involving line workers. He has traveled the world and worked in 38 states and 27 countries. Recalling a memorable trip to Israel, he was hired to help improve customer reliability. The average outage time there per customer was 580 hours each year. By providing training in energized maintenance, Mr. Bilek helped to reduce the hours by 50 percent in the first year.
According to Mr. Bilek, witnessing students achieve their goals and gain lucrative skills through GPLA along with traveling to help improve lives through Global Live Line, Inc., are the most rewarding parts of the industry he has loved and envisioned joining since he was a boy in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York. He credits his success to his wife Carmen Bilek, his work ethic, and mentors Fred Fritz and Ed Nelson, the two colleagues and friends who were always there to offer him guidance and support. Lessons learned throughout the years have also contributed to his achievements, and he offers trainees the same advice that he was given. As examples, he says to be successful in live line work one must have a true desire and affection for it, keep a good attitude, be dedicated to safety, have the willingness to learn additional specialized skills as a continual student, work as a team, learn to embrace adversity, and go where the work is located.
In years to come, Mr. Bilek plans to continue his consulting and training businesses. He ultimately wants to be remembered as someone who was helpful and successfully trained new generations, because he was fortunate enough to learn from talented people. A veteran of the U.S. Navy and member of the National Rifle Association of America, Mr. Bilek and his wife have three sons and four grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys cross-country skiing and weightlifting.
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