Duquesne Light Company Lineworker Receives ‘Men of Excellence’ Award

August 23, 2023

Philip Austin, a senior lineworker at Duquesne Light Company (DLC), was honored as one of the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 2023 “Men of Excellence” at a ceremony on August 10.

The Courier is the third-largest newspaper in Pittsburgh. It publishes a weekly while focusing on events affecting the lives of Pittsburgh’s African American community. The Men of Excellence recipients are peer-nominated and approved by the publication. Honorees are Black men from around the Pittsburgh region “who are 40 years of age or older and are working hard to make an impact in the community, whether it be through their careers or community service,” according to the Courier.

This year’s class included 50 honorees.

Austin, who has worked at DLC for 33 cumulative years, has a unique story that includes employment in various industries.

As a teen, he was a ball boy for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the days of Terry Bradshaw, “Mean” Joe Greene and other Steelers greats. He later graduated from Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

A proud college graduate who studied business and chemistry at Lincoln University, a historically Black college (HBCU) outside of Philadelphia, Austin started his career at DLC as a janitor. He learned how power was generated and transferred to homes and subsequently started drafting electrical prints for line crews.

DLC experienced a period of downsizing in the mid-90’s. Austin was laid off and found work at Pittsburgh TV stations WPXI and WTAE as a broadcast engineer, operating television cameras, sound boards and video boards. He also spent time as an on-air radio host at a gospel station in Pittsburgh. During that time, Austin also became a licensed minister who preached and counseled his own ministry.

Several years later he was called back to DLC, where he started a five-year apprenticeship program as a lineworker. Since then, Austin has put up miles of electrical wires, many electrical devices and hundreds of utility poles.

While at DLC, Austin has received work in the commercial marketing industry as a model and also been featured in fashion shows, newspaper and magazine ads and television commercials.

In his current role as a senior lineworker at DLC, Austin leads a team of line crews through researching and organizing pending jobs and other tasks.

He was also featured in the Soul Pitt podcast where he detailed his career path in depth and talks about his role in the local chapter International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union and encourages young people to consider jobs in the trades.

Austin lives in Penn Hills with his wife Nikita.

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About Duquesne Light Company

For more than 100 years, Duquesne Light Company has provided safe and reliable electric service to communities in southwestern Pennsylvania. Today, our core values of safety, integrity, dependability, equity and community enable us to serve more than 600,000 customers in two counties, including the city of Pittsburgh. We are committed to safely powering our customers’ lives while playing a leading role in our region’s clean energy transition. Our vision is to create a larger-than-light, clean energy future for all by delivering exceptional results today and boldly harnessing opportunities for tomorrow. In doing so, we can ensure a cleaner, healthier and more equitable community for generations to come.


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