Hear From Our Students
Get a REAL picture of what a career in the construction industry look like and how training at the Greater Michigan Construction Academy can benefit you. Hear what those who have trained with us, are employed in their trade, and live in our communities have to say...
Trade: Pipefitter & Millwright
Employer: Three Rivers Corporation
HOW HAS YOUR SKILLED TRADES TRAINING BENEFITED YOU?
Skilled Trades training has benefited me by opening up opportunities at different companies that wouldn’t even take a second look if I hadn’t had a formal, post-secondary education. It gives me a leg up on anyone who just has a high school diploma. Some employers would rather see that you went to trade school for a specific trade rather than to college for a degree that doesn’t apply to the field you are working in. It has made me better at the job I do.
WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I have a great career working for Three Rivers Corporation working within the Dow Chemical Company. I am able to provide very well for my family. I was able to compete in a national trades competition in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 2015. As a 30 year old certified NCCER Pipefitter, I make twice the annual income that my parents do.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AT WORK?
My job is very physically demanding. There are days when you have to through push cold weather and sore muscles to get the job done. Another big challenge for me is finding a balance between work and home life. I work at a place that needs coverage 24 hours a day, so there are times when work needs me for additional time and pulls me away from family needs.
WHAT JOB/PROJECT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF WORKING ON?
Being a pipefitter can be a highly technical trade that carries with it a lot of responsibility. I work in the chemical industry and am proud to say that I am good enough to work with some of the most dangerous/hazardous materials in the world. Being a machine repairman is even more technical. A misalignment of as little as .003” is unacceptable for some jobs. When the temperature in the room affects what your measurements are going to be you better pay attention to the details. Also, the complexity of the equipment an engineer is asking me to fix gives me pride when I am able to get it running again. The particular job I am most proud of was when I was called in to work on an Impact Mill that weighs thousands of pounds, has hundreds of moving parts, and rotates at 3,000 RPM. It took myself and another Millwright three – sixteen hour days to get it back up and running. This plant has a limited number of “down time” hours during the year. When they can’t make product to sell, the pressure is on to get it fixed as fast as possible. I love the pressure. When you are told they are losing $50,000 per hour that they are down and you are the one who can get the equipment working again it feels good!
WHAT CAREER ADVICE DO YOU WISH YOU HAD WHEN YOU BEGAN?
I wish I would have learned about machine repair BEFORE I became a Pipefitter. My biggest challenge in becoming a machine repairman was that I was asked to learn the Pipefitter trade first. There was not a lot of hands on learning during the work day to better my machine repair skills. Also, no matter how good you are or what you have done for your employer there is always someone else willing to do your job so you can never get too comfortable. You are always going to have to work hard and continue your education if you’re going to be the best at what you do.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS.
I love Kit Kat bars, dislike golf, and my idea of a good time is a bucket of popcorn and a movie!
Guide To Careers In Construction
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Skilled Trades training has benefited me by opening up opportunities at different companies that wouldn’t even take a second look if I hadn’t had a formal, post-secondary education. It gives me a leg up on anyone who just has a high school diploma.
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