Craig Butler, 2019 Residential and Commercial Electrician Graduate
Electrician Apprentice, Izzo Electric & Son, Inc.
I’ve always wanted to work in the trades.
My dad was a tinkerer—he liked to repair things on his own. Early in life he would show me what he was doing; sometimes I helped him. Watching him encouraged my interest in learning a trade. As I went through high school though, I was told I should be going to college.
It wasn’t until after completing high school that I chose not to attend college.
I enrolled in an online electronics course. They sent pamphlets and books for me to study. I would submit work online to be graded and take tests online. Doing book work in an online program just wasn’t right for me.
I started working at Texas Instruments as a Process Engineering Technician.
In 26 years at Texas Instruments I gained experience in electronics and quality control. While at TI, I started taking an Electronics Engineering Technology program at a community college. Unfortunately, after going to night classes for about two years, my work schedule changed. I was unable to attend night classes to complete the program.
After TI closed its doors in Attleboro, I returned to the community college.
I thought I’d give a new program in renal dialysis a try. The program would prepare me for a clinical medical position. My attendance and grades were perfect, but the Teacher, who managed a clinic in Taunton, told me she saw something different in me. She said, ‘You don’t have a clinical mind—you have a technical mind. You’re the kind of person my company would want to hire in a technical position.’ Fresenius Medical Care offered me a position and I accepted.
I believed jobs in Biomed would be secure; but things are always changing.
I wanted to be in a business that would stay in this country—not be outsourced. At Fresenius Medical Care, I successfully repaired and maintained dialysis equipment, water treatment equipment and mechanical/electrical systems. Over time, I was promoted into a management position as a Supervisor of Technicians for southern New England.
When the company restructured, the Supervisory position was eliminated globally.
The company allowed me to step down from being a Supervisor and go back to being a Technician. I continued with the company another five years. Eventually it became time for me to make another change. I decided I was ready to pursue my lifelong desire to become an Electrician.
My son and I were both looking at educational opportunities.
While my youngest son was still in high school, we contacted and met with Carissa DiMuccio-Haddad at CARJON Air Conditioning and Heating. CARJON has hired many Technicians from MTTI. Carissa was helpful in offering information about the HVAC/R industry. Talking with her led us to look at programs at the school.
When I visited MTTI’s Electrician Program, I knew this was where I wanted to be.
The structure of the Residential and Commercial Electrician program curriculum, the layout of the classroom and shops all suited my goals perfectly. My son started the HVAC/R Technician program in June; I started the Electrician Program in September.
Once in the program, it was the most rewarding experience I could have had.
My Instructors, Kevin D and Kevin H, got the information across and made it interesting. Both are very knowledgeable; they were able to teach the skills we needed to learn from their own industry experience. When we applied electrical theory to working hands-on in the shop, it became a living thing.
At the program’s start, I had to ‘de-program my brain’ to no longer want to work in Biomed.
I had enjoyed many aspects of the job at Fresenius. It called on me to be well-rounded in using electrical, mechanical and hydraulic skills. The money was good.
My resolve to stay in school and pursue an electrical career was tested.
One day, while at school, a headhunter called me about a job opening in Biomed. I put the call on speaker. My classmates listened while the headhunter named a very substantial amount of hourly pay. I had to quickly decide: Was I going to stick with my decision to follow my heart and start a new career? Or go where immediately I could make money? My classmates all heard me turn down the Biomed opportunity—and choose to stay in school.
Once I made the decision, there was no turning back; I was focused on becoming an Electrician.
School was a challenge similar to rock climbing. People who know me would tell you that when I got to the base of the rock to start climbing, I never looked back. My primary and ultimate goal was to get to the top. The same was true at MTTI—my goal was to graduate and go to work; once I decided to follow my heart’s desire, I never looked back. This was what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
In preference to looking for an internship, I put all my efforts into finding a job.
I applied for positions online. I worked with Career Services, handing out resumes, shaking employer’s hands and following up with them.
While out visiting a potential employer, I gave Carissa at CARJON a call.
Carissa gave me the names of two companies they refer customers to. One was Izzo Electric. I called and told Joe that Carissa had referred me. He said he was there every day at 5 am. I met with him the next day before going to school. He was advertising for an Electrical Apprentice. He hired me in the position, starting the first day of internship.
It’s not a requirement to be a certain age to follow your dreams.
Sometimes I wish I had followed my interest in electrical right after high school. I do have a unique set of work skills from working years at TI and Fresenius Medical Care. The timeline was right for me.
MTTI is not just a good place—it’s a great place.
My instructors helped me have a rewarding educational experience. Even Staff—Anya, Alicia, Ashley—reached out and were exceptionally helpful. All the Staff at MTTI are very much ‘people persons’. By showing that they cared, they helped motivate me to go to back to, and stay in, school. Having come to this a little later in life, I have the drive to be an Electrician. Nothing is going to stop me this time.
Photos: Craig at a worksite where Izzo Electric & Son, Inc. is wiring, from start to finish, an office building; and at the graduation ceremony held at Chelo's Restaurant in East Providence.