Former CMEF student creates roadmaps for industry careers
[dropcap style=’box’]IF[/dropcap] you’d have told Craig Thornton-Wright 10 years ago that he’d be a Division Training Manager at a construction company, he’d most certainly be in disbelief.
And yet, here he is – developing training for Brand Energy and Infrastructure Services (Brand) and working on career development for their employees. Why the disbelief? Craig began his career as a manager for an appliance company in Detroit, Michigan. When the economy began to struggle, he decided to take things south to Houston, Texas to work as a scaffold helper at the suggestion of a family member.
“I had no experience. I didn’t know what to expect. It was a shock when I first came in, with all of these rules and regulations that I was unfamiliar with. I thought we’d just go out there and put some stuff together with material. I had no clue,” Craig said. “But I was really motivated to move up.”
With the help of a mentor and an employer that encourages continuing education, Craig was pointed to a scaffold training class sponsored by Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) during a safety meeting.
“At that point, I took the scaffold class. I continued to train and also took paint and insulation. Because I was in the field, I was doing those crafts. After four years, I got my NCCER certification in all of the crafts at Brand. I was actually the first person at Brand to do that,” Craig said.
This was not an easy road. There were many long hours, many uncertainties, and a lot of hard work on Craig’s journey. But after 10 years, Craig went from Helper, to Craftsman, to Leadman, to Foreman, to a General Foreman, to Training Coordinator, to Manager.
[quote align=’left’]”People who start from the bottom and work their way up have a really good grasp of the business. We encourage that actually. When I started, there was no roadmap. It’s important to have some type of career path, and present milestones as you go. It just keeps people motivated.”[/quote]
Now Craig interacts with everyone to develop training career pathways. He discusses needs with management and the helpers to devise a plan that works across the board. He encourages the helpers that come “off of the street,” as he did, to not be afraid about starting at the bottom.
“People who start from the bottom and work their way up have a really good grasp of the business. We encourage that actually. When I started, there was no roadmap. It’s important to have some type of career path, and present milestones as you go. It just keeps people motivated.”
His advice to future construction professionals is to take advantage of every situation available, be it training or other avenues. And, he added, maintain a positive attitude.
To learn more about how to get involved with CMEF, call the office at 281-478-3900 or visit www.cmefhouston.org.