New ETV Video Released: NECA-IBEW Team Does it Again

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Rochester-Based O'Connell Electric Makes Nik Wallenda’s Chicago Tightrope Walk Possible

O'Connell Electric setting tightrope
When asked about the trust he places on NECA-IBEW team, Nik said "... these guys are amazing...from O'Connell and from IBEW. I've got a great realtionship with them, I trust [O'Connell] with my life."

Nik Wallenda's exploits – like those of six generations of his forbearers – are the stuff of legend. For well over a century, the Wallenda family has thrilled audiences with their feats of daring atop high wires stretched hundreds of feet above the ground.

Nik Wallenda continues to push the envelope, having traversed Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and most recently, six hundred feet above the Chicago River.

However, like all entertainers and showmen, Nik wouldn't have gotten very far without an expert team of technicians working behind the scene, pulling and securing those wires. In this case, a few of those technicians happen to be IBEW linemen - members of IBEW Local 1249, employed by NECA Contractor O'Connell Electric, a venerable firm based in Rochester, New York. Time after time, they have been hand selected to manage the setup of the tightrope on each of Nik’s last three stunts.

When asked about the trust he places on NECA-IBEW team, Nik said "... these guys are amazing...from O'Connell and from IBEW. I've got a great realtionship with them, I trust [O'Connell] with my life."

Nik's ongoing partnership with O'Connell Electric began when he was searching for a company with the skills, experience and equipment to stretch a high wire across Niagara Falls in 2012. It was IBEW Local 1249 that made the recommendation – and the rest is history. Since then, the linemen and engineers of O' Connell Electric have successfully installed high wires across the Grand Canyon and, most recently, between Chicago's Marina City East and West Towers and Leo Burnett Buildings.

This most recent project posed special challenges, not the least of which was freezing temperatures and high winds as well as last-minute changes. Planning and preparation took several months, and the actual installation of the wires required five days worth of work.

This mammoth project is the subject of Electric TV's most recent video presentation, in which viewers have the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes to see and hear from the IBEW workers who pulled off the impossible. For them, however, it is all in a day's work.

O'Connell's expertise in wires is seen in their next project which is every bit as challenging, if a bit less exciting – involving the dismantling of an old tower on the U.S.-Canada border. Meanwhile, when Nik Wallenda decides on his next feat of daring atop the high wire, he'll be calling on the NECA-IBEW linemen and engineers of O’Connell Electric.

About Electric TV: Electric TV is sponsored by the National Electric Contractors' Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (NECA-IBEW).The short video documentaries are produced by Oswego Creative in conjunction with IBEW-NECA to help educate the public on a wide range of projects involving these professional organizations.

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Dominic Giarratano
Electric TV
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