Career Profiles

Samantha Pearlman, 18

Electrical Apprentice
Nickle Electrical Companies

Job responsibilities:
• Install and run wire
• Read electrical prints
• Install, run and bend conduit
• Follow all safety procedures
• Troubleshoot any electrical issues
• Install and test all lighting fixtures, receptacles, and switches

Career steps: I am enrolled in the electrical program at Delcastle Technical High School to further my knowledge and electrical career. I will continue to work for Nickle Electrical and be sponsored by them for the next three years while I’m enrolled.

What does this job and working at this company mean to you?
I love being able to make something from nothing. I love being able to see the process of something emerge from just a piece of land. I also get to meet and work with some great electricians that have been doing it for years. The best thing about working for Nickle Electrical is their support for hardworking people through their electrical schooling. They also make safety a priority and do a very good job at keeping their employees safe every day.

Advice for students considering trades:
Don’t get discouraged because most of your friends might be going to college. A career in trades is just as good a choice and even gives you a headstart in life.I recommend trying to find a good company like Nickle Electrical to sponsor you while you’re going through your apprenticeship program.

Joseph Zecca, 20

Packaging Operator

How did you enter this industry? While attending William Penn High School, my vice principal chose me to participate in the manufacturing program offered at Delaware Tech.

School/certification background:
• High school diploma/Manufacturing
• Technician Certification


Job responsibilities:
• Make sure that production equipment operates and is in compliance with FDA requirements
• Troubleshoot equipment problems
• Operate packaging equipment in a safe and efficient manner
• Perform and document work in compliance with safety, health and environmental standards.
Career steps: My plans are to attend a trade school so that I can become
a mechanical technician.Advice for students considering trades: My suggestion is to always
pay attention to the small details. They matter the most.
What skills do you need for this type of job?
• Troubleshooting skills
• Basic mechanical ability
• Soft skills
What does this job and working at this company mean to you?
This job means the world to me. It has given me a carer path and a future that I never knew was possible.

Luis F. Torres-Valázquez, 18

Bloom Energy

How did you enter this industry?
I was able to enter this industry through Delaware Technical Community College’s manufacturing program. I was able to acquire the skills needed for this job through the training I received at Delaware Technical Community College.

Job responsibilities:
• Unit disassembly
• Testing and trouble shooting
• Unit assembly
• Unit transportation

What skills do you need for this type of job? You need to have hand and power tool training, and knowledge
of lean manufacturing. You also need to know how to troubleshoot and how to read schematics, as well as how to work in a team.

Advice for students considering trades: This is a field where you get out of it as much as you put into it. You can go as high was you want, if you are willing to put forth the time and effort. You are able to decide your own future in this career.

What does this job and working at this company mean to you?
This job has taught me responsibility and leadership. It has given me the opportunity to take the next step in building my educational career. It has also provided me the opportunity to learn real skills as I earn money for college. Working here at Bloom Energy means a lot, because while I am learning these valuable skills, I am also adding to my personal portfolio. I am able to help the world become a cleaner place and help bring energy to the people.

Josh Robbins, 41

Crane Operator/Heavy Equipment Operator/Truck Driver
First State Crane

Schooling/degree/certifications: NCCO (National Certified Crane Operator), CDL Class A, Certified Rigger and Flagger

Job responsibilities:
• Keep equipment maintained and safe on a daily basis
• Inspect crane cables and hooks for wear
• Crane set-up and dismantling
• Responsible for personal safety and safety of co-workers
• Determine load weights and check them against lifting capacities
• Operate crane equipment to hoist materials and equipment in a safe and efficient manner
• Work within precise limits and standards of accuracy
• Remain in continual communication with rigger
• Complete job tickets and all other necessary paperwork

Career path: To continue to be the most efficient operator, while also continuing to expand my knowledge of heavy equipment.

What does this job mean to you? As a crane operator, you never know what the day will entail. One day may consist of setting trusses on a house, while the next will be setting beams for an overpass on an Interstate. Every day is a new adventure that allows me to further enhance my knowledge, skills and competencies as a crane operator.

Advice for others considering trades: Never stop learning. Use each and every job to extend your expertise, while also maintaining a strong work ethic that ensures adequate performance and personal safety. It is also imperative to have effective communication skills demonstrated through positive interactions with site managers and outside contractors.

Meghan Lester, 43

Vice President & Co-Owner
Geo-Technology Associates, Inc. (GTA)

How did you enter this industry?
I spent a lot of time with my grandfather who was a union carpenter. He would bring home concrete cores, rock cores and samples of construction materials from the heavy highway projects he worked on in PA. I entered engineering school and was lucky enough to get summer internships with a utility contractor, a construction manager, and a surveying and engineering company. The surveyor I worked with my senior year, Duane Bishop of Milnes Engineering, was a true source of wisdom. He encouraged me to find a career in geotechnical engineering and construction. I did find my career at GTA.

Work: Our work as it relates to the trades consists of construction observation and testing, and special inspections. Special inspections are necessary during the construction process to verify that work is being performed in accordance with approved plans and specifications.

What skills did you need? We are engineers and scientists at our core. But if you want to make this your career, you need enthusiasm, a strong desire to learn a sound work ethic. We have mentoring and training programs, so a degree helps but is not necessary. We also have a tuition reimbursement program.

Job duties: I’m a problem solver. At the end, I help our clients (developers, engineers and contractors) craft practical solutions. Not every solution is creative; the key is being flexible in the approach.

What are you next career steps? Constant and consistent improvement of my staff, keeping the quality of our services at the heart of what we do, and helping to grow my company.

Advice for students considering trades: It’s glamorous to play in the “dirt.” You don’t need to sit behind
a desk to be respected or have a fruitful career.

Matthew Degli Obizzi, 52

Owner (with five brothers), Outside Superintendent
Ralph G. Degli Obizzi and Sons, Inc.

How did you enter this business? I graduated from Salesianum High School and tried the college route for a semester, but I had worked for my father’s business all through middle and high school.

I knew that plumbing was where I was going and a mechanical contractor was who I’d be. Delaware has an apprenticeship program and the company sponsors it. I went to Delcastle Technical High School for two nights a week for five-and-a-half months and learned the basic parts of plumbing.

If I didn’t put in the time when I was 18 years old and work my way up through my 20s and 30s, I would have never achieved what I achieved. I started small, working on people’s houses and working on jobs. I wasn’t a foreman — I did the same thing as everybody else. I showed up, had a serious attitude, and I avoided distractions. Eventually, I ran a crew of about 35 guys. That kind of mentality set the foundation and guys respected you and followed your lead.

Job responsibilities: Open the business and make sure it’s operational-ready. We get the entire day worked out and scheduled for everybody’s role. As outside superintendent, I’m on the road all day. We have 20 jobs going on throughout the state, so I meet with the foreman, and talk with the general contractor to make sure we stay on schedule.

Advice for students considering trades: Don’t look at starting a trade as if you’ll be successful in two years. The problem with kids today is that they want to start at the top — they don’t want to take the broom and sweep the floor. Nine times out of 10, they’ll quit and then come back 10 years later and wish they’d stayed with it. So stay with it.

Nello Paoli, 50

Business Development, Peferred Electric Inc.
Adjunct Professor, Wilmington University

How did you get into this business? Coming from a large family heavily involved in the construction industry provided me the insight about different opportunities and career paths that the construction field had to offer. I always had an interest in the electrical field, and that, coupled with my high school career area, helped me choose the electrical industry as a career. I use the term “career” because the electrical industry is so diverse that it affords you the opportunity to pursue other aspects of the business, including foreman, estimator, project manager, engineer and even business owner.

Job responsibilities: Outside of managerial and operational oversight, my primary focus is on economic development (project development), dealing with both the private and public sectors.

Best thing about this job: The best thing about my job is the opportunity to interact with so many different people each and every day from a broad spectrum of the community. This includes everyone from project developers and construction managers, architects and engineers, to even school superintendents and elected officials. More importantly, having the opportunity to be a part of a team that built our business from the ground up has been the most rewarding experience of all.

What do you know now about this career that you wish you’d known when you started? I didn’t realize all the opportunities the electrical field had to offer. Opportunities within the construction industry are endless if you obtain the right education (apprenticeships) and work experience (on-the-job training) from a qualified training program. Apprenticeships are the cornerstone of our industry.

Career trajectory: After graduating from a vocational-technical high school, I was accepted into the IBEW Apprenticeship Program. After completing my four-year apprenticeship, I continued my education at Delaware Technical Community College, where I earned my associates’ degree, then continued on to obtain my bachelors and masters’ degrees at Wilmington University. I was not your traditional college student; I had a full-time job as an electrician while obtaining all of my education at night and on weekends.

Advice for students considering trades: The construction field is a very viable career path with unlimited opportunities. Unfortunately, the public message over the last few years has been that college is the only path to success. This is not the case. We in the industry must continue to tell our story of the numerous quality opportunities available.


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