News + Updates, People, Work

In celebration of our community who works hard year round, we took time to get an inside look from a variety of real workers across all industries to share what they love about their careers.

While many people have an idea of what the work industry entails, it might surprise you to learn the ins and outs and the meaning of a day to day life in the trades. In reflection of so many different industries the title of “work” encompasses, we take a closer look to hear from a mix of workers across the country on what the trades and a skilled hands-on job means to them.

Read on to hear their unique perspectives, below.

Diego Torres-Palma: Real estate Developer – Ventana Ventures – Managing Partner


Location: Los Angeles, CA

What gives you the most pride about what you do?
Impact.. the thing I’m chasing is impact. When we build a coffee shop, brewery, or any new development.. our aim is to impact thousands of people and allow them to enjoy a great cup of coffee, get a new job at our locations, relax with a beer, or simply improve the area by investing in a formerly empty building.

What keeps you going on tough days?
Mindset… this landscape isn’t easy and the challenges along the way make it all worth it so I try to embrace the problems since they present growing opportunities that help us get sharper.

What do you think people should know about the trades and work industry that they might not know?
The trades industry is hard work, requires immense skill, and can lead to a very rewarding career. Without our tradespeople, we would be nowhere. They’re the superheroes on our projects.

Stephanie Dailey: General Contractor


Location: Draper, Utah

Why do you love your job in the work or trades industry?
I love having the opportunity to create something that improves my community. Many of these homes that I am building will outlive me. They will provide memories, shelter, and happiness for families for years to come. As a contractor I get to spend my days outdoors working with many different people. I get to build and create things with my hands that I can physically see the results from. There is no greater feeling!

What keeps you going on tough days?
My dad, I’m lucky that I get to work side by side with him every day. There are days or times when jobs or clients can be difficult. But, it passes, we move on and we make the next day better. Having my dad’s support to help me understand and learn is invaluable during those tough times.

What do you think people should know about the trades and work industry that they might not now?
There is a stigma about “Blue Collar” jobs and I would like to invite anyone to come spend a day on a job, it will change your mind. The trades have changed over the last few years. Walking on a job site you will see more women and a cleaner atmosphere that you probably expect. I also want people to know you can make an excellent living in the trades. Many electricians, plumbers, carpenters etc. have the ability to make six figures doing something with their hands. I wouldn’t change it for the world, I absolutely love the career I have chosen.

Rachel Taylor: Carpenter & TV Host


Location: Los Angeles, CA

Why do you love your job in the work or trades industry?
Carpentry allows me to combine 3 of my favorite mental challenges… creativity, problem solving and working with my hands to produce useful, tangible things that will be cherished by their owners long after I’m gone.

What keeps you going on tough days?
There are very few women in the trades, so on the days I feel like something is bigger than I can handle, I remember all the young women who are inspired by watching someone who looks like them tackle something that can provide them financial stability, independence and self-sufficiency using their own hands. That is incredibly powerful for me. To lead a life that inspires others is a purpose-driven life. I’m all about that.

What do you think people should know about the trades and work industry that they might not know?
I had the privilege of a background as a business startup expert before entering the trades. This taught me how to monetize my hobby into a full-time pursuit, and then pursue a public platform in television to expand my mission, my career and my happiness. Building a solid business behind the workbench is the key to longevity, sustainability, and profitability in in the trades.

Kheldon S,: Caterpillar EPG Shop Technician


Location: Wheeler Machinery, Salt Lake City, UT

Why do you love your job in the work or trades industry?
This trade is more than an opportunity to provide for my family. It’s a level of career fulfillment that I don’t feel like I could find anywhere else. There’s just something about how a broken or worn-out piece of equipment is taken in and repaired or made new again through careful application of my skills and talents.  On that note, there is also a certain aspect of challenge and variety which play their own parts as well. As an EPG Technician, we work on anything Caterpillar makes or powers that’s not classified as earthmoving or paving. From Caterpillar packaged generator sets to the industrial engines in snow groomers, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a lot of different things. Each with their own unique challenges which had to be overcome and each with the same rewarding feeling of accomplishment at the end.

What keeps you going on tough days?
Ironically enough it’s the work itself. Even on the toughest of days, one can still count on the opportunity to fix something. And I mean that quite seriously… it’s oddly comforting when one feels stuck or trapped to fix something. It helps mitigate that “stuck” feeling and provides that sense of accomplishment and direction. The days where it feels like you just can’t win are the days where it’s best to put in the earbuds, delve into a project and get it done.

What do you think people should know about the trades and work industry that they might not now?
It’s hard work. There’s a big push right now to get people in the trades and I’m doing my part, but it’s not a career for the faint of heart and the hard work part of it is rarely advertised. There are days where you will work your heart out in the freezing cold or the scorching heat and yeah.. those days suck, but there is something about the trades which make those days easily bearable. Our office views alone are unbeatable when compared with what is traditionally viewed as a “career” and the camaraderie that comes with working in the trades is like working with a second family. So, for those who like the satisfaction of working with your hands, if you can fortify your spirit to withstand the drawbacks (and especially if you are willing to work hard) then a career in the trades just might be for you.

Elijah Godfrey: Business Owner, Woodworker & Craftsman


Location: Austin, TX

What gives you the most pride about what you do?
Two things. Accomplishment and process. I get a great joy from having a finished piece, knowing I put my blood, sweat and tears into it…and now I (or someone else) can enjoy it. But then also the process. I love putting my blood, sweat and tears into a piece, from every cut on the table saw, to the precise measurements to make that complex joint fit just right. Every step of the process is an accomplishment and joy

What keeps you going on tough days?
Clients that get it. I’m so lucky that majority of my clients are ones that understand the amount of time and energy that is required to make a beautiful handcrafted piece of furniture. Majority of my clients appreciate this aspect, which is why they come to people like me, in the first place.

D’ondra Howard: Woodworker and Custom Furniture Maker


Location: Sacramento, CA

Why do you love your job in the work or trades industry?
I love what I do because it allows me the freedom to create something with my hands.  It also is so cool to see what I think of, come to life.  I have the flexibility to work from home and still be involved in my kid’s activities without being stuck to a traditional 9-5.

What gives you the most pride about what you do?
I get the most pride when I see how happy customers are with their orders.  I always hope they love what I have created for them, so seeing them get excited about it too, is the icing on the cake.

You can do hard things and don’t underestimate your abilities.  If you have a dream in your heart… GO FOR IT!  Don’t let fear stop you!

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