Updated: November 15, 2019 11:05 AM
Created: November 15, 2019 10:55 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A woman at PNM has been winning awards for her skills – and as far as she knows, she's one of only two women in New Mexico who is a line locator.
There are electric lines underground that are difficult to find and can be deadly if a contractor hits one. Josie Scholten makes it look easy.
But when she first begin this line of work, Scholten says it was daunting and sexist.
"There wasn't a lot of trust, especially because I was a woman," she said. "I mean, they're like 'oh we want somebody else out here to locate' to verify my marks, so I had to prove myself a lot."
Scholten said sometimes she would show up to a location and she would be asked if PNM could send someone else instead.
Now, she is winning national and international awards.
"I won Line Locator of the Year in 2016," she said. She also won the International Line Locate Rodeo in Dallas in 2017.
"I was pretty shocked when I won," Scholten said. "There was a lot of good competitors out there."
22 years later, she's thankful she took a chance on the job – thanks to a signal.
"I just saw an ad in the paper and it said they had a company vehicle so I applied," she said. "I didn't know what locating was, I didn't know there was anything under the ground."
Scholten wants women to know that they have the power to take charge, and it might spark an unexpected career path.
"You can do whatever you want to do," Scholten said. "It's a great career. I mean, I raised five kids by myself doing this."
Copyright 2019 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company