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Accelerate Your Career With WTI’s Apprentice Program! - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Accelerate Your Career With WTI’s Apprentice Program! - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
April 23, 2024 at 12:00 p.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Walter Marshall and Ian Cranmer about WTI’s Apprenticeship Program. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast. 

Intro: Welcome to Roofing Road Trips, the podcast that takes you on a thrilling journey across the world of roofing. From fascinating interviews with roofing experts to on-the-road adventures, we'll uncover the stories, innovations and challenges that shape the rooftops over our heads. So fasten your seat belts and join us as we embark on this exciting Roofing Road Trip.

Heidi Ellsworth: Hello, and welcome to another Roofing Road Trips from Roofer's Coffee Shop. This is Heidi Ellsworth, and we are here today to talk about the future of the roofing industry. These are the young men who are forming the future of Tremco and WTI and are really making a difference, but we wanted to talk to them today about how they got involved with WTI, Weatherproofing Technology Incorporated, a subsidiary of Tremco and what they're doing with the apprenticeship program. I'm really excited. Walt, Ian, welcome to Roofing Road Trips.

Ian Cranmer: Thank you for having me. It's nice to meet you.

Heidi Ellsworth: Well, gentlemen, let's start out with some introductions. I'm really excited to hear your stories and really learn more about what WTI is doing. So Walt, why don't we start with you. If you could introduce yourself and tell us what you do for Tremco WTI.

Walter Marshall: My name is Walt Marshall. I'm a lead service field Technician for WTI. I work mainly in the Florence, Charleston, Columbia area in South Carolina. I'm part of the mountain region for WTI. I do a lot of small repairs and leak responses.

Heidi Ellsworth: Excellent, excellent. Thank you. And Ian, please introduce yourself and tell us what you do with WTI.

Ian Cranmer: Yeah, my name's Ian Cranmer and I'm currently a hybrid. I'm the lead inspector and I'm also a lead build technician as well.

Heidi Ellsworth: Okay. You got to tell us, what do those jobs entail?

Ian Cranmer: Okay, so lead inspection, we actually go to warranty jobs or roofs that are already contracted through WTI Tremco. And we do a yearly maintenance and inspection on these roofs just to keep up with their warranty that way to help just submit all the reports and everything and the photos of the condition of the roof. And then also the same thing as Walter I do a lot of repairs and things like that. I actually had the ability to lead a restoration though on my own last summer. So I'm excited-

Heidi Ellsworth: Congratulations.

Ian Cranmer: ...to see what this summer brings. Yes.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah, summer's busy. That's what it brings, a lot of busy. Well, okay. So let's start out with how you got involved with the WTI apprenticeship program. And Walt, let's start with you. How did you find out about this and how did you get started?

Walter Marshall: I was introduced to it whenever it first started. WTI approached me to be a part of it and I had no reason to say no. So I jumped into it, started the process. I really didn't know what was in store for me, but I figured if anything that was going to help my future, I was willing to do.

Heidi Ellsworth: How long had you been with Tremco before you, or with WTI? Sorry. How long had you been with WTI before you joined the apprenticeship program?

Walter Marshall: I believe it was about a year. I just completed my third year with WTI Tremco. So I had already had, I think a good almost half of the on-the-job hours that's required for the program. So I had a little bit of a head start.

Heidi Ellsworth: That's so cool. I love it. And Ian, how about you?

Ian Cranmer: Well, actually I joined Tremco WTI in a unique way. There's another program, I don't really want to change the tone of the conversation, but it's called Elevate and that's how I was introduced to Tremco WTI. And through that, through Malia Evans and Paul Trujillo and Jason Benavia, they welcomed me onto the team. They just filled me in with a lot of love and a lot of support and just encouraging me to really step into my own identity as a person and as a leader. And they encouraged me as well to go ahead and jump into the rise.

Heidi Ellsworth: Man, I love that. That is so cool. And so now as part of the apprenticeship program, there's so much out there for continuing your career and learning.

Ian Cranmer: Absolutely, yes. It's absolutely amazing.

Heidi Ellsworth: Tell us, Ian, about the process. Once you got into the apprenticeship program what has been the process and how has it been working for you?

Ian Cranmer: Actually, it's a little bit of online courses, a little bit of classes and the majority of it is on-the-job training. And I believe that both of them actually, they mesh so well together because when I'm out here in the field, I'm able to get hands-on experience with a little bit of everything. So many different roof types and so many different types of products that we use. You can never get all the questions that you create in the day answered because there's so many. And being able to tie into the classwork on the computer and see it firsthand just really helps tie it all together, at least for me.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah, that's cool. It makes sense because we learn in different ways. You see it, hear it and then you get it actually hands-on. Walt, how about you? How has the apprenticeship process been for you?

Walter Marshall: It's been interesting. 35 years old. There's some schooling, some quizzes, some college coursework that it's been 15 years since I've touched any type of schooling, so it's been a learning experience. But like Ian said, when you start with WTI and you come from a different type of roofing, there's a lot to learn. The application process of the Tremco products and how they're put down. Because Tremco makes a lot of different products and every single product has a different process, a different application, a different primer, different materials to use. So there's a lot to learn. And the most efficient way I have found to learn is hands-on. So the hybrid of online and hands-on has been beneficial.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah, that's good. So now you have both completed the program, is that correct? The apprenticeship?

Ian Cranmer: No, ma'am.

Heidi Ellsworth: No? Okay.

Ian Cranmer: No. I'm only in phase two right now. I've completed all the coursework, but I'm just currently waiting for my OJT hours to catch up, so I can then phase up into phase three.

Heidi Ellsworth: Okay. And then you'll be going into phase three. Okay. How about you, Walt?

Ian Cranmer: Yes, ma'am.

Walter Marshall: As long as everything goes good with the last two college courses I have this semester, I believe I have four more weeks left. I'll complete the whole apprenticeship program and get the journeyman level status.

Heidi Ellsworth: Wow, that's a huge accomplishment.

Ian Cranmer: That's amazing. Yes. That's amazing.

Walter Marshall: I'm about four weeks away.

Ian Cranmer: Four weeks away?

Heidi Ellsworth: That's so exciting.

Ian Cranmer: Yeah, absolutely it is.

Heidi Ellsworth: Well, the coursework you're taking right now with the university. Tell us a little bit about that Walt.

Walter Marshall: For me, it was a little bit frustrating at first. It was a lot of discipline in making time for it weekly because when I'm working full time and you have to deal with life also, it's something that you have to make time for and have the discipline to do it even when you don't want to do it. One of the things that is also I've had to get outside myself and learn to do is to ask for help, allow my wife to proofread papers I had to write, ask friends to help me study for anything because like I said, I've been out of school for a long time and I needed to ask for help.

Heidi Ellsworth: I think that's smart. That's really smart. And when you think about it really kind of prepares you for a career long-term. Sometimes doing this kind of stuff is what really teaches you some of those habits that's going to propel your career going forward.

Ian Cranmer: Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth: Now, how about you, Ian? As you're getting ready to go into phase three. How has it been for you? I love what Walt's saying is that this isn't easy, but hearing this can be worth it being a journeyman. How has that been for you taking the classes and getting your online programs in place?

Ian Cranmer: Well, in all honesty, I've just got enrolled. I'm preparing to begin classes this fall. So it's actually really beneficial to be able to have this conversation and to learn from Walt's experience and the things that he had to overcome.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah, that's cool.

Ian Cranmer: Yeah, totally. Totally excited to just join in and-

Heidi Ellsworth: I love it.

Ian Cranmer: ...see where it goes.

Heidi Ellsworth: So, you guys are in two different stages.

Ian Cranmer: Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth: I think that's great.

Ian Cranmer: I'm starting and he's finishing. Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth: You have to stay in touch. Share how this goes.

Ian Cranmer: Yeah.

Walter Marshall: For sure, for sure.

Ian Cranmer: Yeah, definitely.

Heidi Ellsworth: I know. So okay, Walt, you're going to be a journeyman in four weeks. We're putting that positive out there. I know you're going to do great on your tests and you're going to finish the courses. What does that mean to you to really be able to say, "Hey, I'm a journeyman," and what do you see that doing for your career at WTI?

Walter Marshall: So, for me, I've worked at several different roofing companies before I joined WTI. When I joined WTI and Tremco my supervisor Rick Reeves and my immediate one-up Dean Pepling have been with the company for a long time and they're really straightforward, genuine men just like me. And when I see that they were working for the company for an extended amount of time, what that told me was this is probably a good company that I can plant my feet and work in for the long haul.

So completing this journeyman status is giving me the opportunity to show Tremco WTI that I'm committed to work for the company. They invested in me and I'm trying to invest in them. And to be honest, I really don't know where it's going to go from here. I don't know really anybody that has the journeyman status. I'm just hoping that in the future when the opportunity arises and there are opportunities for growth past the position I am, I up in the top of the picks to take that position due to my willingness to do the program and to come to work every day and really be committed to Tremco WTI.

Heidi Ellsworth: That makes sense to me and I'm sure it will. And I love what you said about the mentors, really looking at other employees who have been there for a long time, have that same commitment, that mentorship is really important. And Walt, just talk just a little bit more about how important that is to find that family community. I've heard the WTI and the Tremco culture just is a lot about family.

Walter Marshall: For me, that's part of it. I'm the type of man that when I wake up in the morning, I don't want to be groaning and roaring about having to go to work. I want to be happy and excited about getting up and going to work. And the men that are in front of me, they support me. They make sure when I have anything going on with my family, family comes first, safety comes first. They want me to get back home to my family safe. They're men just like me. I've told my foreman many times that if he wasn't who he was, I probably still wouldn't be working for this company. He has made me feel like I am valued, I'm needed and I can be a good contributor to this company once the time comes.

Heidi Ellsworth: I love it. Ian, you are just nodding your head and I know you already-

Ian Cranmer: In agreement, yes.

Heidi Ellsworth: ...shared with this.

Ian Cranmer: Yes.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. So tell us about, you told us a little bit about how you got in, was hired and the mentoring that was part of that, but overall, since you've been there, how important is all this?

Ian Cranmer: I think it's of most importance. I really do. The connection that I've had with everyone and support and the way that they've just really brought me in and Walter said exactly what I was thinking, they made me feel valued. It's provided, like I said earlier, an identity for me in my life and it's really just helped me walk into the person that I've always wanted to be because of the surrounding and the encouragement of the culture, of the WTI Tremco.

It's absolutely mind-blowing that a company this large would hire individuals that really truly care and take the time out of the hustle and bustle of every day to really get to know an individual, to really get to know what's going on in your life and to not just say, "Hey, how are you doing?" But to actually take the time to discover who you are and to show you that they genuinely care and it allows you to reach out for that support like he was saying, to ask for help. That's what helps me because I've had to do that already. I've had to learn to reach out and ask these people for help in a few different things in life. And just knowing that that's there and that they truly care is all I needed to say that this is where I belong, this is where I want to grow and this is it.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah, I love that. And as you're on this path through your apprenticeship to be a journeyman, probably about a year, are you about a year out?

Ian Cranmer: Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. That's so exciting. Where do you see your career path, Ian, going with WTI?

Ian Cranmer: I'm not really sure exactly where it's going to end up. I really don't. Whenever I first started, I had this intention that I was going to become a foreman as quick as I possibly could. I definitely want to be in a leadership role. I enjoy reaching out to others and trying to help encourage others and help others to learn through the same process that I went through. But that quickly changed because there's so much to learn here and it's not a bad thing. So I had to learn to slow myself down and enjoy the process and really take advantage of learning from all the amazing people that are ahead of me and the people that are below me as well. So to say exactly where I'm going to end up, I don't really know. But I do know that I have a spot here in WTI and I'm pretty sure for life.

Heidi Ellsworth: And that's awesome. I love that. Okay, now I have a fun question that I want to ask both of you. So I'll start with you Walt. Why do you like roofing? What is great about roofing for you?

Walter Marshall: I thought this was supposed to be a fun question. I thought you were going to ask what my favorite color was?

Ian Cranmer: Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth: I know.

Ian Cranmer: My is green.

Walter Marshall: Heidi, I don't know. I knew whenever I first started roofing and whenever I was out on the roof and it was 107 degrees here in Myrtle Beach and I was working around men and I was just doing the dang thing, I was able to do it and a lot of people dropped out and a lot of people weren't able to do it. So I've seen that as like my sign that this might be where I fit in. And it goes back to what I said before. I did many things before roofing that I just didn't enjoy. I just didn't like it. I stressed about it. I stressed about it before I went to bed, waking up the next day. I just did not enjoy it. Since I've been roofing, that's just not the way it is. I can't tell you why I like roofing. My brain's just, this is what I feel like I'm meant to be doing. Somebody's got to stop leaks from getting in the building. I guess I'm the guy to do it.

Heidi Ellsworth: I think that's a spectacular answer. I love it. Okay. Ian, why do you love roofing?

Ian Cranmer: For me, it's almost like a vacation every day because I don't like being indoors at all. So when I'm on top of a roof, I feel free in a way, just because I have the open sky, whether it's sunny, cloudy, it doesn't really matter. I love to feel the fresh air. I get to work with my hands and I get to help protect the assets that mean so much to the everyday working class, the schools and the hospitals, I'm allowed to work on those and I think that's absolutely amazing. So it propels me even more and more and more to want to continue to do it. I know that you may not think it, but I know I'm making a difference.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah, I know you're making a difference. I know you're both making a difference. Man, this is my favorite, serious, favorite podcast in a long time. You two are just amazing.

Ian Cranmer: Good.

Heidi Ellsworth: So, I do have a question for us to give out to everyone out there. What is some of your advice to young people or not so young people who are looking to make that career change or who are looking for a career? What's your advice on how to get into roofing and why they should consider doing this apprenticeship? So Ian, let's start with you.

Ian Cranmer: I think that anyone that's considering getting in roofing or getting involved with any type of construction or anything should really consider WTI Tremco only on the basis of our motto. They say we lead with safety and we end with family, but I think it's a little twisted because they create such a family here, so they lead with the family as well. So it's lead with family and safety and you get to end with your family. Just what they've created here and the ways that everyone, there's so many people involved here and anyone that you contact, all they want to do is see you become a better person, better at your job, better communicator. And it's just so encouraging and enlightening. This is the definite place for anyone who wants to grow, has the opportunity to do that.

Heidi Ellsworth: And Walt, what do you think? What's your advice?

Walter Marshall: When I first applied for WTI, the person who gave me the reference told me that WTI was the big leagues of roofing. And I took that as a, okay, this is where I need to be and I need to do whatever it takes to get in there. And I got in there and I haven't regretted, I've been here for three years. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't be here. But advice I could give to the younger generation or anybody that's planning on roofing, if this is what you think you want to do, don't waste time. Get involved, jump in. Don't be scared. It's not a scary job. The company that I work for puts safety first. They want you to be safe. They're not here to put you into risky situations. I would say just trust the process, jump in, get involved and trust the process.

Heidi Ellsworth: That is excellent. Gentlemen, thank you. This has been phenomenal and congratulations on both of your journeys where you're at. I can't wait. Walt, as soon as you get your journeyman, we need to get that out over Roofers Coffee Shop. And that is so exciting. And Ian, I can't wait next year to hear the same back from you.

Ian Cranmer: Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth: And good luck this summer with all of your-

Ian Cranmer: Thank you very much.

Heidi Ellsworth: ...projects.

Ian Cranmer: Yes, ma'am.

Heidi Ellsworth: This is great. Well, thank you both for being here. For anybody who's interested out there after listening to this, you should be totally inspired because I am. This is a chance for you to get involved with the WTI apprenticeship, where you get to take online classes, work experience, on the job experience and work through the apprenticeship and become a journeyman and work for an amazing company as you already heard from these gentlemen. Please check out the Tremco WTI directory on Roofers Coffee Shop for more information how you can apply and get involved with the apprenticeship program, Rise.

Again, Walt, Ian, thank you so much for being here today.

Ian Cranmer: Yes, ma'am.

Walter Marshall: Thank you.

Ian Cranmer: Thank you very much.

Heidi Ellsworth: Thank you. And thank you all. Please take us back to everyone you know, your community, your friends, the vocational schools. This is a chance to get the next generation into a great industry. Please also check out all of our podcasts under the read list and watch navigation of Roofers Coffee Shop, look for Roofing Road Trips and also on your favorite podcast channel. Be sure to subscribe and set those notifications so you don't miss a single episode. We'll be seeing you next time on Roofing Road Trips.

Outro: If you've enjoyed the ride, don't forget to hit that subscribe button and join us on every roofing adventure. Make sure to visit RoofersCoffeeShop.com to learn more. Thanks for tuning in and we'll catch you on the next Roofing Road Trip.

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