Adrian Mitchell has always gotten satisfaction from doing little things to help his friends. To him, the engineering trades offer him an opportunity on two levels — to contribute good work and to secure a living wage that will allow him to look after others.

“I would like to be someone that they could look to and know, like, ‘Alright, this guy he’ll always take care of me,’” Mitchell said

Three years ago Mitchell got the opportunity to pursue the engineers and mechanics union apprenticeship program. His consideration for his colleagues, his care for the craft and passion in the field have set him apart. That dedication is being honored at Labor Press’s focused on trade apprentices ceremony.

Mitchell’s union, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30 trains its members on work as heavy equipment operators, mechanics and surveyors in the construction industry. The

core of that work is heating, ventilation and air conditioning, but Mitchell said the training has turned him into a jack of all trades with several different sets of skills.

One way he’s both shown his drive in the industry is by planning a trip down to the international union’s training center down Crosby, Texas, where he’ll get the opportunity to see firsthand a huge range of HVAC units and get know how they operate, how to efficiently clean them better and how to repair and tweak them for better performance.

Recently Mitchell has been working at the iconic 30 Rockefeller-adjacent NBC Universal building where he has gotten an opportunity to work on building management systems. Prior to that he was working at JFK Terminal Four, overseeing the centerline lights and checking on the airport’s generator systems.

“I mean, everything that you do definitely contributes to your knowledge of the future. Because there are skills you do so many times that you feel confident doing them on your own in the future,” Mitchell said.

The experiences have inspired him to continue his education and learn as many specializations within the field of equipment operation as he can.

Mitchell said that it was a handyman friend of his who first suggested he might consider applying for the apprenticeship after he had expressed an interest in something with more stability than his bartending gig at the time.

“I thank him every day because I like this union a lot. And from the business managers to my classmates, the people I’ve met have been really awesome,” Mitchell said.

Throughout the process of the apprenticeship, he’s learned about the ways in which unions support their workers, by making sure they have good health insurance and a decent wage to take care of themselves and their families.

“There are companies out there that are looking to stop unions from forming because they are the ones who give workers fair labor practices. They don’t just like to leave them hanging,” Mitchell said.

Though the apprenticeship has been a challenge, Mitchel expressed that he’s proud to be a part of the union. “It’s three years of your life where you’re  grinding, but when you come out on the other end, you could raise your head a lot higher,” he said.

Adrian Mitchell


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