Passion for the Future of Craft Workers: A Profile on Terry Sexton
Enerfab’s History with Apprenticeships
Apprenticeship programs administered through our Union partners are crucial to developing the next generation of highly skilled and safe labor in America. Enerfab has always been a big supporter of these programs, but Apprentices are needed more than ever with the large backlog of critical projects coupled with an aging workforce.
A significant benefit of a Union apprenticeship program is that you can “earn while you learn.” While so many people graduate from college with a large debt, apprentice school is paid for by the Unions. The participant can work and earn money while gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to become a skilled journeyman in their trade. A prospective employee with apprenticeship experience within the Building Trades brings confidence and the working knowledge needed to navigate an active job site productively and safely.
This working knowledge, coupled with initiative and hard work, lay the groundwork for opportunities and future growth – and such was the case for Enerfab’s Business Development Manager, Terry Sexton.
Meet Terry Sexton
Terry was born in a coal camp hospital and grew up in a poverty-stricken area of Eastern Kentucky. He later joined the National Guard to further his professional career in drafting and construction, which he first picked up in vocational high school. He then continued studying drafting at the Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC) with hopes of making a career out of it one day.
Terry worked for 5 months as a draftsman, collaborating with engineers on drawing locomotives for underground mines. During that time, he would often go down to the shop to watch the crews assemble the locomotives per the blueprints he helped develop. Terry eventually found himself more interested in building these components and less in drafting things up, which led him to pivot from his career behind the desk and pursue the building trades. Terry applied for a Boilermakers apprenticeship program and spent the next 6 years in classrooms and fieldwork before graduating in 1986.
Over the next decade, Terry worked as a journeyman at various plants across the Midwest, doing high-quality work for Enerfab and other contractors as a Boilermaker. Then in 1996, on a job site in Southern Ohio, Terry was reviewing a large stack of blueprints when the Superintendent asked, “can you read those prints?” Terry quickly replied, “sure can,” and he was quickly offered a job as a full-time Superintendent for Enerfab.
For the next 16 years, Terry traveled to almost every coal-fired power plant where Enerfab has worked. In addition to Superintendent, Terry held other roles such as project manager and weld technician and spent some time in the safety department. Fast forward to 2011, when Terry received a call from his boss, asking him what his plans were for retirement. While Terry had dreams of spending his retirement playing golf, he was excited to learn that Enerfab had bigger plans for him: serving as Business Development Manager for the Ohio Valley region—his current role.
Passion for the Future of Craft Workers
From his beginnings as an apprentice to this point in his career, Terry has made a name for himself as the person you can call when you need help with labor. Where hard work, passion, and compassion meet, that’s where you’ll find Terry. He spends a great deal of his time helping young people understand their options for future employment opportunities and the benefits of the apprenticeship programs within the building trades. When asked why he has such a drive to help others get into an apprenticeship program, his answer was simple: “I see myself walking in their shoes looking for a way out. I can guide them to that path while helping our building trades and Enerfab build a workforce for the future.”
Terry’s dedication and years of involvement in building the awareness of the apprenticeship programs for the young people in our communities ensure that Enerfab will continue to have great leaders for years to come, as demonstrated by Terry.
Founded in 1901, Enerfab has become an industry-leading contractor for fabrication, construction, and maintenance in the power, chemical, oil & gas, water/wastewater, and heavy industrial markets. At Enerfab, we like to think of ourselves as a single-point craft contractor. One point of contact, managing, and direct hiring the craft needed to get the job done.