Kevin is one of those people you would have liked to have met a long time ago and wish you could keep around for longer. Join us in recognizing the decades long career of a skilled fabricator and a part of our Power Grade family in this special retirement sendoff spotlight.
Kevin, tell us about how you got started in your career?
“Well, I graduated High School and I had a family member that had heavy equipment, so I got started working on heavy equipment. Everything from maintenance to rebuilding engines. Then I got a job with Edison at a one of a kind 1500-megawatt coal fired steam power plant. I started out as a laborer and for two years I shoveled coal and ash, swept streets, operated cranes, I was a helper. I worked with the different crafts: machinists, electricians, mechanics. After that I trained and was a mechanic for two years. Then I moved on to becoming an apprentice welder. I did that for two years then I became a steam welder. I was a steam welder for twenty some years, and during that time I also cross trained as a quality control engineer. So, I got a lot of experience there. That is where I came from, working at that steam power plant. I worked for Edison for 31 years total.
I left Edison in ’08 because of the plant closure, reduction of forces and how that goes. So, I worked at various locations through the years after that, even worked in Las Vegas local 18 for two years as an elevator constructor apprentice. Then I came down and started working on equipment to build transmission towers, a buddy of mine brought me into that. I hired on with Power Grade in March 2018. Here at Power Grade I am a fabricator welder. I build anything and everything from foundations, structural steel, work on equipment, trucks, whatever they need.”
What has been your favorite part of your career? What made you the happiest?
“You know it’s different when you are young, you are just happy to get a job. I had a great time with Edison, it was just an awesome company back in the early 80’s. I got to see a lot during my career, I got to go work on the hydro plants up in the mountains on the Nevada side of the Sierras, lots of little power plants up there. On the other side of the mountain was Bishop Ca, that was awesome. I got to travel all over up there. I liked doing something different all the time. That seems to make me happy, never doing the same thing.”
What are you looking forward to in retirement?
“I am looking forward to still being young enough to do things like travel. No big plans yet, or little plans. Just spend some time enjoying life. Everyone I graduated with seems to be retiring and I’m the only one still working so I guess it’s time.”
Do you ever think you’ll come back to work?
Oh sure, they’ll be little projects. Short term things to work on maybe.
What advice would you give anyone going into this field, fabricating or any other career in the trades?
Now that is a good question, because when I was young the plant I worked at had apprenticeship programs. We had a shops for technicians, electricians, machinists and welders. It was a good program; I just don’t see that anymore. When I was in the elevator apprenticeship, that was a good program too. At Edison we had a TPC training course, it had to do with electrical, hydraulics, pneumatics, hand tools, roping, it worked with all the crafts. It was a great training program that really helped you. Finding those apprenticeships, those good job training programs, that is the best way to do it. Also, just the exposure. Being on the job is your best teacher, watching and learning from everything around you. Take advantage of that.
Thank you for your years with us at Power Grade Kevin, wishing you joy in your retirement. You will be missed.