You never know where a degree in sports management may take you. For me, it led to a love of facilities management and a curiosity to explore how my varied interests could combine and lead to a really fulﬁlling career.
My interest in the trades started in high school. I really enjoyed hands-on learning and loved my woodshop, welding, and construction classes. I was actually a certified welder (stick welding) coming out of high school and was originally going to pursue that as a career. But in addition to the trades, I was also interested in sports and ended up studying sports management at Michigan Technological University.
When I ﬁrst graduated, I got a job at the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids working as a building services supervisor and fell in love with the hands-on side of facilities management – building systems, HVAC, plumbing, managing the pools and hot tubs, electrical controls, you name it. But when the pandemic hit, I got laid oﬀ.
I had a couple of cousins who had started their careers as electricians at Windemuller. After debating whether to go the trades route or follow my college path, I decided to apply and was hired in 2021. I started oﬀ my apprenticeship in the prefab department in Wayland, where we build, assemble, and fabricate the systems and electrical components in a controlled environment for use in the ﬁeld. I got some great experience in the day-to-day prefab operations. After a few months, I went out into the ﬁeld and was able to work on a number of diﬀerent jobs, including several water tower projects. I trained for tower climbing safety/rescue and became a competent climber/rescuer along with our water tower climbing team. No matter the job, every day you see tangible results – it’s the most satisfying thing.
When a position opened in the prefab department, I recognized what a tremendous opportunity it presented for me. I now serve as the prefab foreman, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department. From receiving detailed plans or direct requests from the field to the actual construction of a task or project, our team collaborates with various Windemuller staff across multiple departments. This collaboration includes tasks such as ordering materials, managing labor needs, working with field personnel on job sites, and coordinating with our logistics team to ensure timely and precise project completion.
I have a lot to learn in this new role – I’m in the second year of my electrical apprenticeship, working toward my journeyman’s license – but it’s been a very collaborative training process. I have a lot of strong mentors. There is a willingness to let me grow into the position.
What I really appreciate about Windemuller is the workplace culture. The diversity and experience of the people who work here. There is a great variety of people I get to interact with, bringing diﬀerent strengths and leadership styles. People here take pride in their work and really work to hone their craft. Senior management are actively engaged in the day-to-day grind operations of the organization. They strive to be people-focused and work to ensure that our mission and values aren’t just posters on the wall.