Work Strong America – Empowering America's Next Generations of Craftsmen, Builders and Makers to Craft Our Future

Our interview with Ron Paulk! I hope you enjoy this. As I said in this episode, please forgive my extreme lateness in posting! Lot’s going on, and great things on the way!

A brief list of what you will hear:

Stopped college to pursue building/finish carpentry

Still uses psychology in dealing with clients (and trades)

Importance of safety and efficiency in employees

Severe lack of qualified candidates coming into the trades/ construction

Mentorship is a necessity for all business owners to embrace

Collaboration of businesses is the only way to really succeed.

Finding like minded people who will be proactive in bringing up the next generations

Young men and women NEED skin in the game, no matter what they pursue in their education and life. Learning a skill can only help long term

Change the typical public perception of the trades to be truly seen as professionals

To be viewed as a professional, you must act as a professional

Encourage other contractors to teach through social media

Encourage the use of new technology to attract young people

  • Robert Dailey

    As someone who is almost 30 I wish someone had encouraged me to go into the trades. During the summers of my Junior and Senior years of High School I worked for a friend of my dad’s who owned a small residential construction/remodeling company (about 6-8 people). I loved it and was welcomed back the next summer with a dollar an hour raise. I talked to my parents about working for a year after high school, but that was completely unacceptable to them.

    Thanks to the skills I learned those summers I’m a fairly profiecient DIY’er doing my own remodels to making things for friends and family as a small side business. But thanks to 5 years of College (that first year was wasted after all), I’m buried in Student Loan debt, with a degree in a very narrow job field.

    I’d love to get back into the home building trades, but its scary to take that leap. Especially since I would rightly need to start at a lower level and payscale, if I worked for a company. With a family to support not feasible. Another thing I’ve been considering just going out on my own and doing smaller jobs. But then I never had the opportunity to learn how to fairly do bids and estimates. Something my former boss in High School wanted to teach me, but was never allowed the chance.

    Ron – I love your Youtube channel, and built your “Total Station” (which is great). You talked a lot about reaching younger guys and encouraging them in the trades, how would you suggest an older person (not that I’m old, but have a family to support) get into the trades? I can do a little of most things, master of none.

    • Rick Seigmund

      Hi Ron,

      Thanks so much for listening! Tell your friends and bring them on down to hear as well.

      Really great you had those good experiences for your early summer jobs. It obviously got in your skin and made you really appreciate working with your hands!

      So, to talk about your question, you say that you are “almost 30”? Perfect age for a career change, IF that is truly what you want! There are a few options you have if you really want to pursue a career in the trades. First question, was there, or is there a specific trade that piques your interest more than the others? Plumbing, HVAC, electrical, rough or finish carpentry, painting? You get the picture? If you wanted to specialize, that would be a quicker path into making the career transition as well as making up your wages.

      Once you narrow down a focus, see if you can either start letting your friends and neighbors know, or building a relationship with a good contractor that could use you either part time or even give you some smaller projects that are very honestly not worth their time.

      And, as always, read and learn as much as possible. Taunton Press ( Fine Homebuilding and Fine Woodworking) and JLC ( Journal of Light Construction) are the two that give the most trade/contractor specific information.

      The thing is Ron that none of what we do is truly “rocket science” at its core. Some are simply a bit further along the learning and practice path than others. Time and experience are some of the best teachers.

      I hope some of this helped. If there is anything I can do, or even answer or clarify information, please feel free to respond here, or use that “Send Voicemail” button floating on the right hand side. Thanks again for listening!

      Rick Seigmund

      • Robert Dailey

        Thanks for the Reply Rick.

        If and most likely when I take this step I’ll be focusing on small carpentry projects that are a “one man” gig. I do plan on targeting specifically smaller jobs that contractors would turn down. I’ve been doing things on my days off like repairing a kicked in door jamb and broken window at a friends rent house, fix some water damage on a church member’s house before they moved out of state. And I repainted an older lady’s porch after she was ripped off by a dishonest painter.These types of jobs take maybe an afternoon and once reason is they couldn’t get anyone to come do the work. These types of things would be my focus and aligns well with my skills and abilities.

        Right now I do the blogging and youtube thing, making and selling woodcrafts. It’s nice for now when I can just squeeze in a hour or two after work. But it comes down to the fact that I can build a nice bookcase and sell it for maybe $500 or do a built-in bookcase for $1500.

        Robert (not Ron) Dailey

        • Rick Seigmund

          Hey Robert (NOT Ron!),

          Just to let you know, I’m recording the next episode today, and I’m going to use this conversation as the topic. I’ll most likely release the episode tonight or in the morning, so let me know what you think!

          • Robert Dailey

            Very Cool! I’ve got an hour long drive tomorrow (perfect podcast listening time), I’ll be looking forward to it.