Category Archives: Skilled Trades

Mechatronics Technician – Mentor, Casey Taylor

Mechatronics Technician  Mentor, Casey Taylor   Mechatronics is an exciting new field in high tech manufacturing used to create machinery and equipment that has built in artificial intelligence. A Mechatronic Technician works with engineers to design and maintain this advanced manufacturing equipment. The Mechatronics program taught at Tulsa Tech by Casey Taylor is designed to give students the training they need to get an entry-level job in this growing field and is open to high school students, as well as adults. In his article, Casey talks about what a Mechatronics Technician does each day and the career prospects available to young people who have completed the Tulsa Tech program. The course work includes instruction in things like hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, optics and computer science. Graduates of this program will know how to install, maintain and repair the mechanical controls, fluid power systems, electrical and electronic equipment used in a...

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Machining Technician – Mentor, Rick Huddleston

Machining Technician   Mentor – Rick Huddleston   Rick is an instructor at Tulsa Tech’s Broken Arrow campus where his students can earn as many eleven different certifications in machining technology from the National Institute for Metal Working Skills (NIMS). Metalworking companies use the NIMS certifications as a basis for recruiting, hiring, placement and promotion. These include the four basic certifications needed for an entry-level job as a machinist and seven additional certifications for machining technicians who want to improve their job skills and pay. Before becoming an instructor at Tulsa Tech, Rick began working in the trade immediately after he received his own initial training at a technical school much like Tulsa Tech. Rick’s career path demonstrates that becoming a machinist also offers the opportunity for advancement as he rose to the position of General Manager for several machine shops. Rick has made aircraft parts for the US...

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Sausage Maker / Entrepreneur – Mentor, Siegmund Sumaruk

Sausage Maker / Entrepreneur – Mentor, Siegmund Sumaruk Summary This Mentor is a fifth generation sausage maker who emigrated from Linz, Austria in 1965 when he was twenty- one. Through persistence and hard work, he has built a successful business that includes a sausage factory, a German deli, a meat market, a restaurant and wild game processing. He has also developed a regional market for his sausage with only minimal advertising based on his reputation for making quality products. When Siegi came to the US, his first job was processing meat in Waco Texas. He then worked for a sausage manufacturer and deli owner in Dallas and was later asked to start a similar operation in partnership with someone from Tulsa. The partnership did not work well and he decided to start his own operation at another location. Siegi raised money from a number of investors that allowed him...

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Electrician/ Apprenticeship Training Director – Mentor, Ted Jenkins

Electrician/Apprenticeship Training Director – Mentor, Ted Jenkins Summary Ted Jenkins is a fourth generation electrician and the current Training Director of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) in Tulsa. There are 285 IBEW locals that help sponsor JATC apprenticeship programs in all fifty states. JATC apprenticeship programs are recognized as one of the best in the US. These apprenticeship programs allow you to earn a good wage plus receive benefits like healthcare and pension contributions while you are training. The IBEW also promotes diversity and encourages women, veterans and minorities to apply not just young people graduating from high school. Besides good pay and benefits, there is also the chance for advancement and like many skilled trades there is the opportunity to later start your own business as an electrical contractor. Because the baby boomers are beginning to retire, there is expected...

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Master Hair Stylist / Businessman – Mentor, Michael Brothers

Master Hair Stylist / Businessman – Mentor, Michael Brothers This Mentor has built a highly successful business using both his artistic skills as a stylist and the business skills he developed over the past twenty two years operating his own salons. Michael was helped along the way by several people who became his mentors. Another key to his success was that early in his career he recognized the importance of building long lasting relationships with his customers, employees and business partners. In his article, Michael shares the keys to becoming a successful stylist and the basic principals he followed to start and grow his salon business. His article should be read by anyone interested in becoming a hair stylist or learning more about the salon industry. Because Michael’s business model is based on many of the same principals used by many successful personal service businesses, his article should also...

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Plumber and Business Agent Dispatcher – Mentor, Mike Skinner

Plumber and Business Agent Dispatcher - Mentor, Mike Skinner This Mentor has broad experience in the plumbing trade. After completing a five-year union apprenticeship program, he went on to work for contractors involved in school and hospital construction, rose to a supervisory position and managed crews of up to thirty people. He is currently working as a business dispatcher with the local union where he places plumbers in jobs with union contractors. Mike is passionate about his trade. In his article, he shares with you the details of what is taught in a five year plumbing apprenticeship program, how you can increase your chances of being accepted in these kinds of programs and what you need to do in order to become a successful journeyman. His article should be read by anyone interesting in the plumbing trade or any other skilled trade in the service and construction industries where...

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Welder and Certification Center Instructor – Mentor, Kenny Eden

Welder and Certification Center Instructor – Mentor, Kenny Eden This mentor has broad experience in the welding trade including working with research engineers developing new equipment designs at a major oil company, working on the North Slope of Alaska, managing a state welder certification center and working with students in welding apprenticeship programs. In his article, he describes what is involved for a person to complete a four-year welder apprentice program. He also gives you suggestions on how to inexpensively determine if you have the mechanical aptitude to be successful in this trade. This article should be read by anyone considering any type of construction trade and people interesting in learning how apprenticeship programs train people to become journeymen. Overview I grew up on a ranch where we raised cattle. Being a rancher’s son, I was taught how to work with my hands and repair equipment. After watching me...

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Cabinet and Furniture Maker and Business Owner, Mentor, Barry Suderman

Cabinet and Furniture Maker and Business Owner - Mentor, Barry Suderman   Summary This Mentor is both a highly skilled tradesman and a successful business owner. His career path shows what you can achieve with hard work, an aptitude for your trade and by building a team that reflects your own high professional standards. His background is similar to many successful YPNG Mentors who grew up on farms or in small rural towns where they learned the importance of hard work at an early age, something that they carried with them their whole lives. This Mentor first shares with you how he gained the experience to become a skilled tradesperson. He then talks about the basic principals you need to understand to be able to create a successful business. This article should be read by young people interested in this or any other skilled trade as well as anyone...

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Heating and Air Technician and Business Owner – Mentor, Mike McBee

This mentor has forty years experience in this industry first as a technician and then as a business owner after he purchased the company he work for when he was only 23. He successfully grew the business from one with 3 employees and a few hundred thousand dollars in sales to a business with 13 employees and over two million in sales. In his Mentor Article he tells you how to become a licensed journeyman, what the trade involves and things you can do to prepare yourself while you are in high school. He also explains what is required to successfully run a heating and air conditioning business. As you will see in his article, this is a skilled trade with compensation levels equal to or greater than many careers requiring college degrees. It also has the advantage found in many skilled trades for those of you with entrepreneurial...

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30 Years as a Barber, Hairstylist, Woman Business Owner

Barber/Hairstylist  This mentor has over thirty years experience in her profession. She is now in her seventies and still has a loyal customer base and works three days a week. She has also run her own six-chair shop for most of that time and has a number of good thoughts about what it takes to be a successful businessperson in this trade. My Personal Experience as a Barber I always had an interest in cutting hair. But I did not go to Barber College until my daughter was older and in school. Barber College lasted nine months and then I took the test to obtain a license. When I got my license, I found a three-chair shop with one chair open. The two chairs already had their businesses built up so I got most of the walk-ins, which helped me build my own list of customers who would make...

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40 Years as a Die Maker

This Mentor had a long career as a highly skilled die maker before he recently retired with nearly forty years experience in this trade. He rose to a position with one of the big three automakers where he supervised less experienced diemakers and worked closely with the company’s engineering departments. As technology evolved, he successfully made the transition to the more automated production of dies that required greater math and computer skills. His article contains a number of observations and personal experiences that we feel will be very helpful to YPNG members considering this skilled trade. My Personal Experience as a Tool and Diemaker My experience started in a job shop that built dies for larger companies like Ford. I went through a four-year apprenticeship before I became a die maker. I wanted to experience different kinds of die building so I left to go to a place that...

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