Our Industry Person of the Week is Courtney VanValkenburg, a Journeyman Pipefitter who works with COP Construction LLC. Hailing from Billings, Montana, Courtney has this to share:
“I started out welding in high school, then made my way through smaller shops and worked my way into the LU 30 plumbers and pipefitters. It was pretty tough starting out in smaller shops, but well worth the reward when I made it into the union. I love not only how physically but mentally challenging my job is; everyday is something new and I respect my trade because of that.
I am very proud of the respect and positive reputation I have built for myself over the years throughout the trades locally. If you’re wanting to start or you are new to this trade, my best advice is to always ask questions. There’s never a dumb question, and you should always be willing to learn. The people that have been in the trades 30+ years are still learning every day, so soak up the knowledge every chance you get.
The project I was in the middle of before covid-19 was inspecting a condition plant’s oily water process sewers with this slick, new intrinsically safe panning pipe camera that runs off a reel. Being a welder, mainly working with hand tools and welding rod, it is very cool that I get to use a tool which is technologically challenging. It’s a good change of pace.
To the future gals thinking of getting in the trades – Go for it! Shoot for the moon!! It will be hard, and you will always have to prove yourself, day-in and day-out, but if you have drive and integrity, you can conquer the construction world! Perseverance is key, my fellow tradie ladies!”