Technology & Continuing Ed

I was a little boy the first time I saw a robot. I can’t remember if it was on Reading Rainbow or Bill Nye, but I know it was putting together a car. I watched as the gaggle of mechanized pincers mindlessly assembled a sedan without human oversight. How cool, how neat, I thought, to get to work with robots. Read more

The Electrical Industry & the Sims


I remember the first time I played the game SIM City on a friend’s PC back in middle school. The game allowed players to lay out roads and other basic infrastructure, design public spaces, erect massive skyscrapers, and create a digital metropolis—complete with prisons and taxes. Twenty years later I’m learning that the industrial specialists of today use simulation and modeling tools reminiscent of SIM City to help them design and build the sophisticated structures of tomorrow. Read more

Choose Your Own Adventure

Climbing up ‘the ladder’ has been the go-to metaphor for coffee break conversations since time immemorial. Invisible and inevitable, each rung comes with additional responsibilities and associated rewards. It’s a great metaphor and applies to most industries of work…but not for electricians. Why? Because a career in the electrical field gives you options. Read more

Success in the Electrical Field

My coffee mug tells me, “never, never, never give up.” Is it corny? Categorically. Does it keep me going when I hit a snag at work? Yes.But what helps me even more than my mug (and the caffeine therein) is the knowledge that I work in a field which rewards my efforts. There will always be another pathway open to me if my interests shift and my skill set grows in concert. The ability to develop and expand one’s niche within an industry is more critical than ever before, as we live in a time when the only certain variable is that the show will go on, with or without us. Read more

Electrical Artistry

They were a series of educational magazines about animals written for children. I devoured every single one, becoming an expert (in my own seven-year-old evaluation) on all things that swam, slithered, and scampered. My favorite section in every issue was a two-page spread with an anatomical diagram showing the skeleton, muscles, and organs of the featured animal. I was amazed by how the arteries and veins of the creature spread in an elaborate web throughout the organism—connecting and supplying everything at once. Read more

Importance of Training Facilities

Not as an actor mind you—but as a personal narrator. You know, a melodious disembodied authority who says things like “just because both of those foods are leftovers doesn’t mean I should mix them” whenever I’m about to dive headfirst into something that can only end in disaster. That’s the voice I really needed to hear from several years ago when I got the idea that I should construct & wire my own lamp from scratch. So bad was the karma surrounding this idea that I got a speeding ticket on the way to Home Depot for supplies (supplies which it turned out, weren’t what I needed anyway). Read more

The Importance of a Journeyworker’s Card

Rarely is there a “best” path to take when developing one’s professional skill set in the building trades. The road to success is different from one craftsman to the next, and is shaped by the person’s introduction to the trade, his/her long term goals, the educational options available, and the state of the industry at large. At some point during this journey the craftsman is required to attain a level of professional credential indicating his or her mastery of the trade. Read more

A Day in the Life of an Electrician

“Most people start at 7:30am,” he says, “but there are lots of us who are on the job site closer to 5:30 even.” If Nate’s enthusiasm comes as a surprise to those of us who have an intimate relationship with the snooze button, it’s because Nate Nord is a man who loves what he does. “I think like any job you’re going to have little things that you may not like or whatever but I enjoy getting up and going to work,” he tells me as his red beard is split by a wide grin. Read more

Building a Future Doesn’t Require a Bachelor’s

Attending college and getting a degree were, after all, the prerequisites for entry into the middle class existence I had learned were the norm. This was a path that a great number of us were told was the best (if not only) route to gainful employment and enduring financial security. And (naturally) all of the news magazines on my parents’ coffee table informed me how much lower my chances of success were without at least a four year degree. Read more