We're celebrating National Apprenticeship Week all week long here at Optimation! As a part of our celebration, we're featuring interviews from one Optimation apprentice and one of our skilled journey workers each day this week. It's a chance to get to know some of our employees a little better, learn about the apprenticeship experience firsthand, and learn some wisdom from the folks who are fully immersed in their careers.
Next up, Journeyman Pipefitter and Project Manager Scott Osher and Welding Apprentice Marcie Dalton !
What trade did you enter? Pipefitting
When did you start your apprenticeship? 1980
What made you want to pursue a career as a pipefitter? I went to SUNY Delhi and took plumbing and heating. Kodak went down and interviewed at Delhi for pipefitter apprentices and that’s when I got into it.
How did your career progress after you finished trade school? After I got out of the apprenticeship program, I pretty much stayed in the pipefitting realm until early 2000, when I started looking into construction management opportunities, and an opportunity in the engineering division. They were looking for technicians, so they interviewed for chemical process technicians and I was offered that position as an assignment. So I was working with guys like Mark Haboian in that group. I did two and a half years with that group, then went back to construction, and eventually joined Optimation. I was basically doing pipefitting and job superintendent work at first, then I got into estimating, then I was overseas on Corning projects as a field installation engineer, then a leadership position came up here.
What have you enjoyed about your career? I really enjoyed the physical and mental combination of the job. Doing the pipefitting, planning your job, thinking ahead, looking at obstacles, then executing the project. And then when you’re done, you can see what you did – it’s rewarding. And the camaraderie, working with different skilled tradespeople. I developed a lot of strong relationships.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received from a coworker or a mentor? Take pride in what you do. Always put the job first.
What excites you about the next generation of apprentices? Just being able to watch them progress. Some of them come in with very little background and progress through to become skilled workers. That’s the most rewarding, to see them become successful.
How can the next generation of apprentices be successful? Pay attention. As an apprentice, you’re going to work with many different mechanics. Do it the way they do it when you’re working with them, but just remember to take the good points from everyone you work with. If you take all of the good points from everyone, you should be better. Everyone you work with will have a different way of doing something.
What trade are you learning? Welding
What year are you into your apprenticeship? 1 year
How do you like it so far? It’s great, really cool!
Is there anything that you didn’t expect about the apprenticeship? Yeah! When I was interviewing they asked me if I was afraid of heights, and I’ve been faced with that so many times. At the time I didn’t really know if I was afraid of heights, but I guess I’m not anymore. I did some welding in the ceiling for one client. At first I had to psych myself up for it, but by the end of the week, I was like, well this is going to happen, so I did it.
What’s your favorite part about it so far? All of the different things we’re doing. I’ve used every welding process and learned a whole lot in just the short time I’ve been here. I passed my three TIG certifications, a stick certification and a short arc with flux core certification.
What’s your favorite project so far? Fieldwork is really fun. I like working with Sal Arena a lot because I learn so much from him.
Any goals or plans yet for when you graduate? Not at this point. This is the first job I’ve had where I’m getting REAL experience, doing real stuff and thinking and problem solving. For schooling, I’m going to try and find a metallurgy class maybe.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from an Optimation coworker so far? Don’t be a hack. Don’t cut corners. Take the extra time to show that you care about what you’re doing, even if it is just something simple. I’m getting a lot of great advice from a bunch of people. Everyone is so different in what they are strong at. So depending on your question, there are a lot of people you can go to. A little bit of everything.