Q+A with Mason Witt, Apprentice at Manhattan Mechanical Services
Meet Mason Witt, a dedicated craftsman in training in our apprenticeship program. Because Mason is a safe and valued apprentice, we sat down with him to discuss his time in the program so far and to hear his thoughts on what it means to be an apprentice.
Q: When did you begin your apprenticeship with Manhattan Mechanical Services? Where are you in the course of the program?
Mason Witt: I began my apprenticeship about seven months ago, and I’m in the first year of the Pipefitter apprenticeship right now. Next, I’ll be Pipe 2, 3, and then 4. I have about three years left in the apprentice program. As soon as I signed on with Manhattan Mechanical Services and found they provided classes for me to improve my education, I ran at the opportunity. It was too good to pass up because I truly enjoy learning about pipe fitting.
Q: What led you to Manhattan Mechanical Services and the trades as a career path?
Mason Witt: I have been working manual labor my entire life. My dad introduced me, and throughout high school, I worked a lot of hands-on jobs. I knew I wanted to do something hands-on in the future as well, because I learn better that way.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was given the opportunity to work for Manhattan doing sanitation. My brother works here and was doing sanitation at the time. They needed extra help, so I applied for the job. While I was working, I got the chance to see what the company was all about. The rest is history!
Q: Can you walk us through a typical day in the life of a Manhattan Mechanical Services apprentice?
Mason Witt: Right now, I am training on a job site in Morris, Illinois. We start our day with a tool run-down, and make sure we are prepared to get that day’s work accomplished. We get permits signed, and take measurements of what we will need to cut, whether pipe or supports or whatever else. Currently, my lessons and work include learning how to thread pipe, take proper measurements, and install pipe. At the end of the day, we get things prepped and ready, so that we can get right to work in the morning.
Q: What is the balance between learning and working?
Mason Witt: My teacher is actually my foreman on the job site. He does a great job of explaining everything that we would be learning in a book and transferring it to exactly what we are doing on the job site. The mesh between learning and working is great. You don’t find that at a lot of places. Right now, I don’t have classroom time, but normally I would if I wasn’t on the job with my teacher. I love getting the field experience.
As far as classes, you have so many options here. They offer classes for pipe fitting, welding, boiler making, and more. Once you choose a class, you are not tied down to it. You can take more classes and keep learning, which is what I am aiming to do as I continue the program. Getting as much experience and knowledge as I can at a young age is important to me.
Q: How do you maintain safety through your day-to-day work?
Mason Witt: I immediately realized how important it is to be aware of what you’re doing every moment that you are clocked into work. I am always examining what hazards could potentially happen. We use a scissor lift a lot, and it is important to make sure everyone is properly harnessed up for that. Also, overall good housekeeping means being safe, so you’re not tripping or getting caught or struck by anything. We take all of the precautions we need to make sure we are always in a safe work environment and preventing all hazards.
Q: What is the biggest takeaway from your time as an apprentice with Manhattan Mechanical Services so far?
Mason Witt: When I started with Manhattan Mechanical, I had some mechanical knowledge, but there is always room to grow. The number of options to learn and figure out what you want to do is huge here. The training they give you is top-notch. I couldn’t ask for anything better. Going through classes is an eye-opener because of how many options there are working in the trades. I knew pretty quickly that I could see myself doing this for a long time, and that’s what piqued my interest. Also, there are so many great people at Manhattan Mechanical. They all want to help you learn and watch you become a valuable part of the company. That’s what I am here to do.
Q: What do you look forward to the most after your apprenticeship, and where do you see the program taking you in your future career?
Mason Witt: I am looking forward to continuing. I am hoping to stay with Manhattan Mechanical for a long time. I like working on the job site, and the opportunities that the company gives me are second-to-none. They also have great benefits which are always important. I’m 19 and will be 20 soon. Most people my age don’t think about starting a retirement plan, but I do and I can’t wait to start investing in that at a great company.
Q: What advice would you give someone looking to join the apprenticeship program at Manhattan Mechanical Services?
Mason Witt: Work hard. Be willing to learn and take criticism, no matter what. If you’re young and working with people who have been doing this for a while, they know better than you. You want to take in every moment as a learning experience.