Victor Del Toro – Detroit EITC Apprentice
1.How did you get started in the Trade?
One day I was working at a neighbor’s helping him build a deck. I noticed his work service truck and mentioned to him that my grandfather was an electrician. From here the conversation just grew. My neighbor is with the IBEW Local 58. He started telling me all about his job, the schooling he went through, the whole process of getting into the Trade, the benefits it offered, all the details, so I decided to apply to the apprenticeship program.
2.Tell me what you did before joining the Trade and/or assuming your current role in the Organization? School/other jobs?
In High School I ran track and field and received a scholarship to a school in Louisiana. Then Katrina happened and wiped out the area. It derailed my plans. With the help of school placement due to the hurricane I went to Indiana University. Here I took general education classes and wanted to work toward a business degree. I spent two years at IU. With student loans and what it would take to stay at IU I decided to enroll in a local community college in north west Indiana. I worked odd jobs while going to school, not even really knowing if I wanted to still pursue a business degree. I met some friends who were headed to Chicago so I decided to go with them. Big mistake. It was a mess, a real struggle. I decided to move back home to Michigan with my parents and attend Macomb Community College focusing on marketing this time. I attended off and on for two to three years. I lost interest and decided to get my CDL, commercial drivers license to drive trucks. After being on the road from truck driving, I came home one day and that is when my neighbor asked if I wanted to make some extra money helping him build a deck. It was a blessing in disguise. My neighbor was a great influence on me when he told me all about the IBEW.
3. What do you like most about what you do?
I love when we start a project, work through it and then complete it correctly. It’s great to see something you have worked on from start to finish. It brings so much satisfaction. I love having the skills to do my job. I didn’t realize this until I really got to learn my job better and better through the apprenticeship program. Once I knew I could do the task it was so great to see the finished product. Seeing the finish line has really brought meaning to my life. The skills from my job really carry over to other aspects in my life. It has really made me grow up. I’m really looking forward to becoming a Journeyman in August and complete my five year program!
4. Where are some of the places you’ve worked?
My first assignment was the retooling of the F-150 to aluminum at the Ford Plant in Dearborn. We did all the wiring and I really liked it. I’ve also been assigned to the St. Clair Power Plant. Here I remember working outside with windchills 30 below but still loving the job! I’m currently at Zug Island working on maintenance and will be rebuilding one of their furnaces.
5. What advice do you have for someone starting or growing a career with us?
I would suggest to someone starting a career with the IBEW is to have an open mind. Show up, and be on time and things will work out. There’s a lot of help from everyone and you can always depend on each other.
6. What qualities make you most successful in the Trade?
Determination! I love figuring things out. I am not afraid to try new things and learn new skills. I have good ole grit and am ready to go at all times.