On his company voicemail, Chad Dubea asks callers to leave a message and to “please thank a lineman. Without them, there wouldn’t be any power. And thank a mechanic as well. Without them, your trucks wouldn’t be running.”
Whenever he can, Dubea champions line crews’ courageous work and daily sacrifices, especially during major storms and disasters. In 2013, he funded the startup of the Fallen Linemen Organization, a charity that raises money for wounded line crews and their families.
The year before, his fleet-maintenance company cosponsored Drivin’ for Linemen 200, a NASCAR truck race at Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis.
Now, Dubea, 39, can add “executive producer of a Hollywood movie” to his linemen tributes.
Released to theaters in November 2016, Life on the Line, an action drama starring John Travolta, tells the story of linemen, the hazards of line work, and the profession’s hidden side: the toll the job’s long hours can take on families.
It’s now available for streaming through services like Amazon video, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, and Netflix.
“It’s the greatest job in the world, and I want to give back to an industry I love,” Dubea says of being a lineman.
Dubea sold his power line construction company to help finance the $12 million film. Through business connections, he met screenwriter Primo Brown, who wrote the film’s original script. Brown researched the industry by attending safety training and compliance meetings at Dubea’s company.
“I learned what it takes to become a lineman and understood how important safety is on the job,” he says. “Being a lineman is an extremely hazardous occupation, and the brave individuals that keep our lives energized have my utmost respect.”
Dubea’s experiences with the movie had flashes of glamour. On a moment’s notice, he flew to the Cannes Film Festival in France, where he lunched with Hollywood film executive Harvey Weinstein in hopes of landing a distributor. He also met the movie’s star.
“John Travolta is extremely sincere. Anyone he met, he’d write or call back,” Dubea says. “He really gained an appreciation for what these men, women, and families deal with on a regular basis.”