December 1, 2022

Cup holder and tool organizer win first prize

For the past five years, the Top Tools of the Trade competition has honored excellence in product development in the electric utility industry. This year’s award-winning product was invented by a lineman for the line trade – the 4N1 Cup Holder and Tool Organizer from Line Work Bucket Products.

Landon Dees, the product’s inventor and the company’s vice president, says he’s been in the line business for 18 years and has worked in multiple storms and states. At this work, he says it is extremely hot and there is an urgent need to restore power as soon as possible. However, when linemen work in the bucket, it can be nearly impossible for them to stay hydrated due to lack of storage. To address this, his company launched 4NI in the summer of 2022 to help linemen prevent heat-related injuries through proper hydration.

“Nine times out of 10, crews put their bottles, drinks, and other items in the control box area,” says Dees. “It’s a safety nightmare because it’s like having a bottle of water under your car’s brake pedal.”

Make changes

By using the 4N1, linemen have a safe place to store their beverages, from water bottles to cups and tumblers. To keep them more organized and efficient, it also includes two XL 50 lbs. hooks, which can hold tool pouches, organizers, hoists and larger tools or equipment.

“It solves two safety issues: staying hydrated and not using the control box as storage,” he says. “And it also solves the organizational problems that all linemen face when they’re in a bucket.”

During the field testing process, the company made multiple tweaks to make it as useful as possible for linemen. For example, they changed the hook spacing and added UV protector, multi-size cup holder and holster applications. The product now includes a 44oz multi-size cup holder and an extra large compartment for radios, batteries, phones or small parts. Dees says the response to the product has been incredible at the 2022 International Lineman Expo, which saw record attendance.

“Many guys have told us they’ve been dreaming of a cup holder in the bucket for decades,” he says.

Tribute to the winners

Line Work Bucket Products and the other two big winners – Digital Apprentice’s Lineman’s Reference XFMR Training Lab (second place) and Sherman + Reilly’s Electric Duct Dawg E+ (third place) – were honored at Lineman’s BBQ along with the winners of the category . Judges first selected the winners in each category, then linemen voted for the top three winners through an online poll.

Top Tools of the Trade judges and voters said the top-place tool, the 4NI, was high quality, affordable, and versatile in all types of weather. Dees says it’s a dream come true for his new company to win this prestigious award.

“It gives us the motivation to start over and hopefully inspires others to pursue their dreams and realize that anything is possible,” he says.

Editor’s Note: To view a photo gallery of category winners on the Lineman’s Expo exhibit floor, visit www.tdworld.com/electric-utility-operations.