How did you get started in the Trade? And what you did before joining the Trade? Organizations, School/ other jobs?
I became interested in the trade in 2008 and applied to the apprenticeship program. I re-applied in April of 2015 and by August of that year I was able to get into Local 58.
Growing up my family owned an apple orchard and we worked fixing and building projects around the property. I also did a lot of work for family and friends which included house projects and working on our church building. A family friend owned a construction company and I started working for him as an eager teen who enjoyed the work and seeing how things were made. After high school I went to Michigan Tech, and studied civil engineering for one year. After coming home, I started working as a courier for a law firm while continuing college classes at Macomb Community college. When I was 25, I helped start a search company in the real estate arena. About 5 years later, the company closed and I started working for another law firm for 2 more years. After this, I moved my family to Pittsburgh to work for an oil and gas broker until the price of oil bottomed out and I was laid off.
What do you like most about what you do?
I get to do something new each day and experience a variety of jobs. We get the opportunity to problem solve, which is fun and allows us to think outside the box and be creative. I enjoy expanding my horizon while being exposed to new things. I love learning!
Where are some of the places you’ve worked?
I have been assigned to work at the Great Lakes Water Authority, Ford Field, Royal Oak Beaumont, Henry Ford Macomb and I am currently assigned to Royal Oak Beaumont working on expanding an existing build and a new addition.
What advice do you have for someone starting or growing a career with us?
My advice to those starting in this career is to take ownership of your apprenticeship. It is a privilege to be a part of the IBEW. Be assertive, respectful, and humble. Think forward and be confident in what you are doing. The opportunity is there and you can benefit from it if you apply yourself every day. You only get out of it what you put into the job!
What qualities make you most successful in the Trade?
Each individual that comes into the trade has to be a self-starter and a good communicator. It’s important to be diligent, very disciplined and to think 3 or 4 steps ahead. When building something, invariably it may not always turn out perfect, which offers the opportunity to troubleshoot and look ahead when solving problems. In this 5 year program we are afforded the opportunity to learn how to be competent electricians and we have to make the most of it. It’s important to try and learn something from everyone on the job.
What else would you like me know about you/your story?
Life is an awesome opportunity, own it and have fun. The IBEW offers the opportunity for me to enjoy my work life, and I am extremely grateful to be a part of this program.