Empowering Communities

ComEd area operator by day, TikTok historian by night

February 16, 2021

When ComEd Area Operator Shermann Thomas isn’t maintaining and repairing powerlines, you can find him educating his followers about Chicago’s history on the popular social media platform, TikTok.

Born and raised in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood, Thomas inherited his love for history from his father who was a Chicago police officer for 30 years.

“Being a police officer in Chicago, my dad saw and taught me a lot about the city,” Thomas said. “He was a history buff.”

It wasn’t until Thomas’s daughter introduced him to TikTok last year that he realized the impact he could make by educating others on a topic he grew up loving and learning about.  

Shermann Thomas, ComEd area operator

“My eight-year-old daughter showed me the app because she wanted to be the next dancing TikTok star,” he said. “I suggested that she let me feed her Chicago history facts instead, which she wasn’t too fond of.”

Although his daughter isn’t yet sold on this idea, his growing fan-base says otherwise.

Since launching his account in November, Thomas – who goes by 6figga_dilla on his account – has almost 30,000 followers and more than 250,000 likes. The ComEd area operators’ most recent videos explain the history of Jewel-Osco and Cook County Hospital.

“Chicago has a bad reputation today as it stands, and it bothers me,” Thomas said. “I want to instill in young people there’s something to be proud of about this city.”

The length of a TikTok is typically 60 seconds, but for Thomas, an extensive amount of time and effort go into producing a single video. 

“Videos can take up to three hours to a week to finish with editing and all that,” he said. “It also takes time to do research. I want to make sure the information I am sharing is legal and accurate.”

Thomas hopes his TikTok videos can help kick-start his dream of opening a Chicago South Side tour company.

“The South Side is more than what it’s portrayed in the news, and I want to help show that,” Thomas said.

Thomas adds that the support he receives from his ComEd managers and co-workers has been incredible. 

“I am very thankful I work for ComEd,” he said. “It’s easy for me to go home and be creative because my co-workers and managers are very supportive.”