Today we talk to Master Electrician Don Metcalf about, well a whole host of things really. We cover the state of the electrical trade, training, the past, present, future and everything in between.
Anytime you get two Master Electricians in the same room talking about their experiences within the trade, look out sparks are gonna fly (pun definitely intended)! Listening to two guys so passionate about their trade, where it’s come from, and where it is going, is worth soaking up.
In this episode, Dustin talks with Donny Metcalf, a fellow Master Electrician from Texas. Donny began his career in the early 90’s as an apprentice in Southern California. He has worked on various large commercial and industrial projects including high rise buildings, casinos, hotels, schools and even a couple of prisons. After a decade and a half in the trade he was exposed to the teaching aspect of the industry and discovered his passion for giving back to the next generation of electricians coming up.
Among their topics of discussion are working union, versus open shop; including different locales and how that fits into the mix. Let’s face it, new electricians to the trade (and even veterans of the trade interested in bettering themselves and climbing the ladder) are not going to teach themselves. So the guys also talk about teaching/mentoring our nation’s electricians and the responsibility we, as professional tradesmen (and women) play in that role.
With so much emphasis placed on kids going to college right out of high school, coupled with the fact that people are going to retire or move on from an industry, there are huge gaps in the industry workforce that cannot be filled fast enough. Getting kids interested again in the trades, prove to them that it is a noble industry and show them that it can be a viable job to provide for themselves and their families, is something that we all should do. There are new technologies that can be incorporated into teaching that can make the task a bit daunting, but something that younger electricians are used to and are beneficial to conveying the vast amounts of information that the trade is composed of. However, actually SHOWING our workforce with hands-on instruction is something that has fallen by the wayside over the past years, and is something that should be brought back to the forefront if we are ever to dig ourselves out of the proverbial hole we have put ourselves into.
As a whole, if you ever get the chance to speak to and learn from a trade professional, one should definitely partake in the experience. There is just so much to learn from our trade veterans that it will certainly make the time spent worthwhile. Heck, you may even find yourself in a position to instruct electricians yourself, something that is almost as rewarding for you as it is for the student!