On Tuesday, March 14, representatives of Stutzman Services gave an interactive presentation to students at South Albany High School as part of a Lunch & Learn event.
Fifteen students gathered in a classroom to eat pizza and learn more about career opportunities in the skilled trades, which are in high-demand according to Stutzman Services Communications Director Chris Nafziger. “We believe that water is life’s most valuable resource, and today we are going to talk about two careers that are crucial to managing water, and also in high-demand,” he said.
The presentation focused on two careers: Well Water Systems Technician and Journeyman Plumber.
Water Systems Manager Dale Aerni spoke about his career path and encouraged students to discover what they like to do and are good at doing. For him, it was managing groundwater by installing and servicing submersible pumps and water treatment systems, work that eventually led him to become a co-owner of the company.
Well Water Systems Technician Luke Butler described the education and training required for his career and what he likes best about the job. “I enjoy the travel. We drive a lot and get to see a lot of the Mid-Willamette Valley,” he said. “I also like the variety of the job and working outside with my hands. Seventeen years into my career and I’m still learning.”
Plumbing Manager Brent Stutzman began by asking students what comes to mind when they picture a plumber. After acknowledging the expected negative caricature, he explained the importance of plumbing systems and quoted from Plumbing Manufacturers International: “Clean, drinkable water has likely protected more lives and extended life expectancy more than any medical advancement.”
Stutzman said that Journeyman Plumbers are in very short supply across the nation, and that is resulting in increased wages. In Oregon, students in a plumbing apprenticeship are also required to work full time, which means they can move into a high-paying career without college debt.
Stutzman also encouraged the female students in attendance to pursue career paths in the skilled trades, including plumbing.
Afterwards, students had the chance to see a submersible well pump and control system close-up, and use a power tool to assemble some pipe and fittings.
“The students loved the presentation and the speakers did an excellent job engaging the group,” said Rose Zoellner, Business to School Liaison at South Albany High School.