‘You get to travel the country and learn a trade that not a lot of people know about’
With the job market saturated with graduates looking for work, skilled trades have received renewed interest from young people who are unsure about investing in a four-year university degree.
There are many avenues for those looking to enter a trade, including Florida-headquartered Energy Erectors, a subsidiary of MasTec, which specializes in the construction of electrical substations and switchyards up to 500 kilovolts across the United States.
“Building substations is basically its own entity,” said Bill Gillum, a supervisor with Energy Erectors.
Energy Erectors works by building teams of workers, who travel across America constructing renewable and non-renewable substations for various clients including some of America’s largest utilities.
“You get to travel the country and learn a trade that not a lot of people know about,” said Gillum.
Teams consist of groundsmen, journeymen, welders, technicians, and supervisors. The work is not easy. But the company provides plenty of opportunities and a top-notch safety culture for new hires, allowing them to obtain electrical and construction trade skills on the job and through formal training.
Gillum has worked with Energy Erectors for over 25 years, starting as a laborer and working his way up through administrative levels. This upward mobility, said Gillum, is part of why he has remained part of the Energy Erectors team for so long. He was able to start from the bottom of the company ladder and advance as he learned new skills, while also being able to support himself and his family. According to Gillum, compensation even for entry level positions is worth sticking around for.
“When I first started, you didn’t make a certain pay grade until you could do specific things on site,” said Gillum. “Now, everyone gets pretty good pay at the start.”
Gillum also credits the longevity of Energy Erector’s workers to the company’s work culture: Interesting projects, opportunities to learn and grow, a safety-first mentality and co-workers you can trust. But above all, one of the best reasons to work for Energy Erectors, in Gillum’s eyes, is the stability, knowing there will always be more to do.
“There always seems to be work,” said Gillum.