Our apprentice members are what truly make our organization standout in a crowd. We have many amazing apprentices with many backgrounds and different personalities and have a real passion for what they do. So, we thought what better way to acknowledge the successes of our apprentice members, is to have them share their stories.
Akron Local 894 ApprenticeIf you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. That sentiment, at its core, speaks to the level of investment a person has in their beliefs. Since the age of 12, Mark Seese wanted to invest in his country by serving in the Marine Corps, which he did as soon as he finished high school. During his military career which ended in 2010, Mark served bravely in three combat tours abroad – two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. After his tours, Mark returned stateside to his native home of Akron. It was not the easiest of transitions.
Newcomerstown Local 134 Apprentice
Jessica Shields (Newcomerstown, Local 134) has shown a potential for greatness. With her consistent hard work and positive attitude, Jessica is making her way towards a successful career as a Laborer. Her incredible work ethic is why she was highly recommended to be our Featured Apprentice. April Ogden, Regional Apprenticeship Coordinator explains, "Jessica is one of my best apprentices. She's a go-getter and a self-starter." April continues, "Jessica takes initiative to do what she needs to do. I've only gotten positive feedback from her business manager and her employers. She is not only a good apprentice — she is a good Laborer. She is what all Laborers should be like."
Jessica is currently working on a project for Integrity Kokosing Pipeline Services. On any given day, she could be setting skids, stringing pipes, or doing road work. When asked what she likes best, Jessica responded, "All of it. I like changing it up every day and doing something different." Over being cooped up inside, Jessica prefers being outside and doing hands-on work. “I’ve always labored, since I graduated high school,” she described. “I’ve always been into the hands-on stuff.” This preference led Jessica to work in oil fields straight out of high school. She enjoyed the active work but wanted something more. That was when she decided to join the Apprenticeship Program with the Ohio Laborers. Jessica found the job skills to be similar, and the Laborers came with “better pay and better benefits.” Local 134 Business Manager John Kistler is very pleased Jessica joined the Apprenticeship Program. “The best satisfaction of all, being a business manager, is when you send a contractor someone who you know is going to do a good job and allow them to be competitive and make money,” explains John. “Anytime I send Jessica out, I have a big smile on my face because she is that kind of person.” 7 The current mood in the industry is preparing for the future. “We are looking for good young people to be our next generation of Laborers,” explains John. “I think the Apprenticeship Program is one of the best things the Laborers have done in a long time.
As with anything in life, you have to continually get better, or you become irrelevant and go away. I think the Apprenticeship Program is our key to keep getting better and better.” It is apprentices like Jessica that will give the Laborers a distinct advantage over the competition. "Jessica has maximized her position by being that person who shows up on time and gives it her best every day. I know she is going to go out there and give them 100%," said John. The skills Jessica learns through the Apprenticeship Program and the Training Center give her more work opportunities. She is not limited to what she can do on the job site. Mike Hannum, Steward at Integrity Kokosing Pipeline Services, said, “It is great to have a person like Jessica. She comes to work early every day, ready to go. Whatever is asked, she does.” Mike continues, “She fits in. I think that is the biggest thing. Jessica is able to do whatever we need her to do. We are very fortunate to have her, and we’d like to keep her as long as we can.”
Jessica finds her home in Noble County. When she is not working, Jessica’s time is spent with her son. “He keeps me pretty busy,” explains Jessica, “I don’t have much free time.” They enjoy hunting and fishing together. Even with her busy schedule, Jessica tries to make time to be active with her Local. "I do whatever they need me to, but it can be hard to get out there when you are working all the time." Jessica's future plans are to continue her path with the Apprenticeship Program and gain more certifications and credentials. Jessica comments, “I am always taking classes at the Training Center. I’ve done all my A classes, my STPs, my OSHAs, and flagging.” She hopes to keep working in pipeline. "I prefer to be outside, meeting new people, and doing different things," she explains. As Jessica continues to gain experience, she may one day run her own crew.