Brandon Reisinger is an electrician and second-generation tradesman working in Star, Idaho, working towards his Journeyman's License. He's a firm advocate for trade school, especially for those who want to pursue a solid career but didn't quite fit in the traditional educational system. He admits, "I was not very good at school and thought I would follow my father's footsteps and go the trade route."
Read more about Brandon's life and career journey.
Why Did You Become an Electrician?
We asked Brandon what led him to his career path as a journeyman. He was largely inspired by his father, who worked as a maintenance mechanic at a large pharmaceutical plant for 43 years. And he shared that he wants to continue that legacy by helping to "bring up the next generation of tradesman."
Hardworking people like Brandon and his father keep our lights on and our lives running smoothly. And they're often very passionate about that. When we asked Brandon what his purpose is for continuing to work hard, day in and day out, he told us it's "to glorify God by using the gift of craftsmanship to provide a life for my family" and "to perform excellent work."
Becoming a Journeyman Electrician
Brandon started his career path in the trades right out of high school, starting out in the tower industry. "I was young and had little responsibilities tying me down," he said, "so I traveled all over the place for many years, getting to experience some of the most incredible places." This was a great opportunity for Brandon to explore places outside of his hometown. But after about 10 years of climbing towers, meeting his wife along the way, they decided it was time to settle down back in Idaho. He was ready for a career that was more stable, "where I can be home every night and be with my family."
The next step was becoming an electrician; the only other job Brandon could see himself feeling fulfilled doing. He began his apprenticeship in December of 2022 to work towards his Journeyman's License.
Here's what Brandon's day-to-day looks like now: "I work for a local electrical company in the Treasure Valley area that has specialized in residential new construction of large scale, multi-unit homes for the last 30 years. I primarily work on the rough-in side of the business. My day-to-day consists of layout, mounting boxes and lighting fixtures, pulling circuits, splicing of electrical circuits, rough-in of electrical panels under the supervision of a licensed journeyman electrician."
What Are Your Biggest Struggles with the Career Change?
Starting over after honing his skills in the tower industry hasn't been a walk in the park. He shared with us about what has made this big change difficult:
"Getting into a trade so young, I rose through the ranks quickly. I became a foreman at 21 and have been leading crews for the last 7 years. Now I find myself almost 30 years old and I’m the new guy on the crew. I have years of leadership skills and have to humble myself. Being the best apprentice I can be to help assist my foreman on the job sounds like an easy task, yet I find my instincts to problem solve and make executive decisions is second nature. I often have to catch myself and stop what I’m doing to find out what my foreman wants from me. Most of all, unlearning habits and skills from the tower industry and relearning new skills as an electrician."
Why Do You Recommend Trade School?
"There has never been a better time to get involved in the trades," Brandon explained. Trade school is both faster and less expensive than college, and most people feel more ready to dive into their new career with this type of training. "The traditional route of going to college and racking up a lot of student debt is no longer the only path to success. There is a real future in the trades. Good pay, benefits, 401K, and a skillset that you can use for the rest of your life. A career in the trades teaches discipline, attention to detail, problem solving, critical thinking skills, and a whole set of life skills you can use to improve as a person."
We also asked Brandon what advice he has for the younger generations who are planning their career path in skilled trades. His recommendations include joining a union to help fast-track your career. "And if you’re willing to show up on time, work hard, and keep a good attitude, there’s a company out there with a position that needs to be filled." Some of the most practical advice we've ever heard was for young working people to "STAY OUT OF THE BARS!" Brandon said he learned that lesson the hard way…
A Journeyman's Favorite Boots
Hard working people need hard working boots to help them get the job done. We asked what our favorite journeyman-to-be has been wearing:
"I’ve worn the American Heritage 8" Wedge Soles (814-4364) for many years, and since moving to a cold climate, I decided to switch to the waterproof version (804-4210) for additional warmth during the snow season."
"Growing up in Southern California, I had a lot of high school friends become iron workers and the only boot you saw were Thorogoods. I was climbing cell phone towers at the time and decided to give them a try. I had an older climber tell me to 'never skimp out on boots or your mattress, because if you’re not in one you’re in the other.' Having a comfortable, durable, and long-lasting boot that you can resole over and over again lets me know I can count on my boots, day in and day out. Our body is the most important tool any tradesmen uses and we ought to take the best care of it, starting with your feet."
We stand by that mantra at Thorogood, too, which is why we make footwear with real working people in mind. If you're starting out in a skilled trade and need a solid pair of boots that you can trust, check out our American Heritage series. We're thankful for all those that keep the American spirit alive through hard work, dedication, and strength of spirit. Here's to the next generation lacing up that legacy!
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