In this video, you can hear about the personal story of someone who is starting a career as a carpenter.
- My name is Heather Mayther and I am a journeyman carpenter. General carpenter, but I specialize in concrete. All through high school I worked with my uncle. He had a small residential painting company, but he also did a little bit of remodeling, so kind of just like base, crown molding, hanging cabinetry, things like that. I graduated, I went to college, was looking at journalism and I decided I made more money working with him. So, I went back to work for my Uncle Chris, found out I was pregnant with triplets and suddenly the world stopped turning and I needed a career, like now. So, I actually found a flier for the Oregon Tradeswomen one day. I called them up, I said, what do I do, how do I sign up? I enrolled in a seven week class. During that seven weeks they take you to various training centers. And then, when I was done I just, I knew I wanted to be a carpenter. I like seeing things come to life. So, that's what I did, I signed up with the carpenters. You know, you're wearing your tool bags and you're building forms, you know, you're doing your construction math and layout. And as an apprentice they help you with purchasing tools, rain gear. I also qualified for a daycare stipend, which was awesome, so I paid very minimal in daycare for the first year, year and a half. My first couple weeks was a little nerve-racking, but I had great superintendents and for the most part, if you show up with your tools and a good attitude, people want you to be successful. Like I said, I make a pretty good living wage, so that means I can pay that $1500 a month for before and after school care, I can get my truck fixed when it needs to be, and I means I get to buy my first home, my daughters each have their own bedrooms, we have a family room, I've got a backyard with a swing set, you know? Are you okay with the cleanup right now? My experiences are generally pretty positive, each crew, you know, is there for their own purposes, but we all do have one goal, which is to complete the project, do it in a timely manner, and on budget, right? But, I think one issue is ego, a lot of people have egos and some people have an issue with me, A, being we call a first term journeyman, and sometimes female. But then you get on a project like I'm on now at the Multnomah County Courthouse, I've been there 16 months, I've been with my crew for a long time and we're all like family. There are some really amazing people out there and they, they want you to go out there and be successful, you know? I couldn't have asked for a better path that has been laid out for me. A lot of people in my shoes want to be superintendents, or, you know, run a job site. I don't have those aspirations, I want to be good at what I do, but I feel like my path for me, is to play more of a pivotal role within my union. I try to be as active in my union as I can and being on the bargaining side of our contracts, being a union rep, advocating for others is really my passion, so. The columns in the lobby of the new courthouse, they're 50 foot tall, they have the wood finish concrete. Those I had nightmares about, setting the forms for them, stripping them, but when we peeled back the forms and saw these awesome, beautiful columns that are going to be there for another hundred years, it was like a steak dinner. But then, to build on that, my husband brought my daughters to see them, their little faces, they just, you know, they were so proud that I built those, that their mom had a hand in that, in something that's, I mean, it's going to be iconic for downtown Portland. I'm super stoked, I can't wait. And just be like, these are my columns, I helped to do this, this is amazing.