Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16and I decided to attend. Bowie and Aaron, who are the VIP welding instructors at Local 58, were there, and those fellows are pretty convincing, charismatic guys, so they sold me pretty quick on the whole UA program. I applied and got in. I had to tell them I was being ‘med-boarded,’ and I wasn’t sure when I would actually get released from the Army, but I was willing to come in and practice my welding to stay current until I was of- ficially released. ey allowed me to come in and take the class, and I actually got out of the Army three or four days prior to graduation, and I started to work for Ed and Murphy Company January 6 of last year. I had two weeks off during Christmas and got everything in order and came up here, and everything has worked out perfectly.” Brian and his wife have two children, a four- year-old daughter and five-year-old son. As Brian got close to successfully finishing the program, he and his family contemplated where they would like to live. ey made the decision to stay in Colorado, so Brian asked for that placement, and he was thrilled when he was welcomed into Pipefitters Local 208 in Denver to continue with his apprenticeship. Since arriving in Denver, Brian hasn’t looked back. He said, “I just got out into the field a couple months ago. For a year and some change, I was working in a fabrication shop. I was pipefitting for a while, and then I went to welding, since I had welding certifications from the VIP program. So I welded in the shop for six to eight months before I was sent out to the field. Since I’ve been out in the field, I’ve been doing a bit of everything. I tore down a cooling tower and set a new one, worked over at Woodward putting in air and chilled water lines, and then I went to another project, and we changed a tank in there. I also helped build some hangars for piping for the same proj- ect. I like working in the field, because it’s some- thing different every day. Even if it’s on the same project, it’s something different each day. It’s never dull.” When asked if he felt prepared to go to work aer graduating from the VIP Welding program, Brian said, “I felt re- ally prepared when I stepped into the fabrication shop and with the welding I had to do there, but I won’t lie, I had a lot to learn once I got out into the field. ere’s a reason it’s a five-year ap- prenticeship program. I felt ahead of my peers in welding, but I had a lot to learn from journeymen—like general system knowledge, layout knowledge, having the ability to just look at some- thing and knowing intuitively what we had to do to fix it, that sort of thing. I’ve been really lucky, and I’ve worked with some great journeymen, and I’m catching up on the other stuff quickly! In the Army I was in charge of 42 guys. I sat behind a desk. I love what I do with the UA. I’m happier now than I’ve been in 14 years. I don’t get called at crazy hours to retrieve some guy who did something stupid. I’m with these great guys at work, and then I get to go home to my wife and kids—that’s what is so great. I mean, the UA picked up my retirement. I was in the military for 13 years, so I won’t get retirement there. Local 208 has an additional annuity that I can put up to $6.00 per hour in if I want, in addi- tion to the UA retirement, and that’s going to make up what I lost by not staying in the military. My family’s healthcare was picked right up, and I’m not paying out of pocket—it’s part of the package. Being a second-year apprentice, I’m mak- ing more money than I did aer 13 years in the Army, and it’s only going to get better. It’s made a huge impact on my lifestyle. I have a nice house, my truck’s paid for, my wife’s car is paid off, and I live comfortably. I’m not wanting for anything, and it’s only going to get better.” Ed Becker Vice President, Field Operations, Denver, CO CAREERops 8 “I felt really prepared when I stepped into the fabrication shop and with the welding I had to do there, but I won’t lie, I had a lot to learn once I got out into the field. There’s a reason it’s a five-year apprenticeship program.” – Brian Kirby