Apprentice of the Day
We featured apprentices going above and beyond each day of Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 14 to 20, 2022).
Learn more about finding your path to a great career through registered apprenticeship.
Saturday, Nov. 19
Peter Mohagen, electrician – Twin Ports Electrical JATC employed by PEC Solutions
“The main benefit of the apprenticeship is the knowledge I‘ve learned. I feel as though I learn something new every day," said apprentice Peter Mohagen. After talking with several family members about careers in the building and construction trades, Mohagen decided pursuing the electrical trade would be a good fit. Mohagen applied to the Twin Ports Electrical JATC and was selected as an apprentice in May 2022. Since beginning his apprenticeship, Mohagen has earned the accolades of his instructors and journeyworkers.
Mitch Moravec, electrician – St. Paul Electrical JATC employed by Phasor Electric
Mitch Moravec is a fifth-year apprentice with the St. Paul Electrical JATC. Besides earning the praise of his employer and instructors, Moravec is an active-duty member of the Minnesota National Guard and recently started a family. Moravec is grateful for the benefits his apprenticeship has afforded himself and his family. In the future, he would like to become an instructor with the St. Paul Electrical JATC.
Nathan Waslaski, electrician – Iron Range Electrical JATC
Nathan Waslaski is an electrical apprentice with the Iron Range Electrical JATC currently working for Hunt Electric. Pursuing the career of his father, Waslaski became an apprentice in 2018. The opportunity has allowed him to develop the skills needed for a well-paying career. Waslaski's goal is to pass his state journeyworker exam, and hopefully work alongside his father before his retirement.
Friday, Nov. 18
Adam Hodgman, equipment maintenance technician – SkyWater Technology Inc.
Adam Hodgman was selected into SkyWater Technology Inc.’s registered apprenticeship program after several years of working in the company’s production department. This opportunity has allowed Hodgman to further develop his mechanical and troubleshooting skills while growing in his new role in the maintenance department. Hodgman's goal is to continue to grow his responsibilities in the maintenance department and become a mentor to future apprentices.
Omar Lopez Sanchez, mechatronics apprentice – Buhler Inc.
After learning about Buhler Inc.'s registered apprenticeship program from a high school counselor, Omar Lopez Sanchez knew that apprenticeship was the path for himself. Since beginning his apprenticeship, Sanchez gained a wide array of skills and experience while proving to be a reliable, adaptable, and professional employee of Buhler Inc. After completing his apprenticeship he plans on working in Buhler's hardware engineering department and pursue an engineering degree from the Dunwoody College of Technology.
Alex Sisomphane, equipment maintenance technician – SkyWater Technology Inc.
As staffing has become a challenge for employers in recent times, Alex Sisomphane has filled an important role within SkyWater Technology Inc.’s maintenance department. Sisomphane’s supervisor said he is a model apprentice and technician dedicated to learning and growing in his role with the company. Sisomaphane’s goals for the future include completing his apprenticeship and gaining an understanding of all aspects of his company’s maintenance department.
Thursday, Nov. 17
Tiffani Brass, electrician – South Central Minnesota Electrical JATC employed by Parsons Electric
An online search for electrical apprenticeships launched Tiffani Brass on the path to registered apprenticeship. Brass' inquiry led her to the IBEW Local 343 in Rochester and to apply to South Central MN Electrical JATC’s registered apprenticeship program. Since beginning her apprenticeship, Brass has not only become a dependable worker but also an ambassador for the opportunities available to women in the trades.
“I hope other girls interested in construction or any trade go do it. I wished as a kid to get into something like this, and never knew that I could. Now, I’m doing everything a much younger me would be incredibly proud of,” she said.
Karin Dahlin, pipefitter – Minneapolis Pipefitters JAC employed by Northland Mechnical
“Karin is one of the best apprentices we have had in my 20 years working in our apprenticeship program,” said Chad Birk, training coordinator, Minneapolis Pipefitters.
Starting her apprenticeship with the Minneapolis Pipefitters JAC in 2018, Dahlin has made the most of the opportunity. Over the past year, Dahlin has competed in, and won, several apprentice competitions including the PHCC National Apprentice Contest in Kansas City, Missouri, the Minnesota Pipe Trades Apprentice Contest in Rochester, Minnesota, and the United Associations International Competition in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She’s the first women to have won these contests.
Nancy Gonzalez, electrician – St. Paul Electrical JATC employed by Collins Electric
Nancy Gonzalez, a fifth-year apprentice, overcame an initial fear of being a women in the electrical trade to gaining the confidence of knowing she can do whatever her male counterparts can. Gonzalez became an apprentice electrician with the St. Paul Electrical JATC after completing Dakota County Technical College’s electrical program. Gonzalez’s advice for women considering entering the trades is, “Just go for it! There’s a lot to learn and it’s changing every day and you can be part of the change."
Michaela Oelkers, ironworker – Ironworkers Local 512 JAC employed by DCCI
A first-year apprentice ironworker, Michaela Oelkers has been described as a “make it happen” not “watch it happen” apprentice. Recognized as a willing learner with a positive attitude, Oelkers is proving to be a leader among her fellow apprentices. After completing her apprenticeship, Oelkers plans on pursuing a leadership position, possibly as a welding instructor.
Leah Warwas, electrician – Iron Range Electrical JATC employed by Cunningham Electric
Leah Warwas was referred to the Iron Range Electrical JATC’s apprenticeship program by her electrical instructor at Hibbing Community College. Since starting her apprenticeship, Warwas has demonstrated all the traits of a successful apprentice; hard working, willing to learn and a commitment to learning the electrical trade. Warwas' goals for the future include passing the state journeyworker exam and to keep working on the Iron Range.
Wednesday, Nov. 16
Trisha Dahl, limited energy system installer - Minnesota Statewide Limited Energy JATC employed by Twenty 4 Seven Fire and Security Corp
Trisha Dahl learned about the Minnesota Statewide Limited Energy JATC registered apprenticeship program from a friend. Besides learning a trade while earning a sustaining wage, Dahl became an advocate for her program by volunteering at outreach events. In her spare time, Dahl enjoys building and racing motorcycles.
Jack O’Brien, plumber – Minneapolis Plumbers JJATC employed by Commercial Plumbing and Heating
Jack O’Brien began his apprenticeship with the Minneapolis Plumber’s Local 15 in May of 2017. During his apprenticeship, O’Brien dedicated himself to becoming an expert in his craft. His dedication led to winning the Minnesota Pipe Trades Apprentice Contest this past year. O’Brien successfully obtained his state licenses and became a journeyworker in May 2022.
Rachelle Rahn, electrician – Twin Ports Electrical JATC employed by Hunt Electric
An online search for careers in the construction industry led Rachelle Rahn to the Twin Ports Electrical JATC’s registered apprenticeship program. Since becoming an apprentice in May 2022, Rahn has excelled. “What she lacks in knowledge and experience is irrelevant when it comes to her work ethic, willingness to learn, and her ability to learn,” said her supervisor. Rahn's goals are to continue to enhance her skill set, become a journeyworker, and eventually travel across the country applying her trade.
Hon Say Na, carpenter – Carpenters Training Institute – GAP YouthBuild
A Karen refugee from Burma, Hon Say Na is achieving his dream through registered apprenticeship. After arriving in the United States, Hon Say Na enrolled at the GAP YouthBuild program in St. Paul. Participating in GAP’s YouthBuild program, he gained the skills needed to enter the construction industry. Upon graduating, Hon Say Na was hired by Stern Drywall and started his apprenticeship with the Carpenters Training Institute. He is now on his way to achieving his dream of a long career in the building trades.
Tuesday, Nov. 15
Lee Anderson, wastewater operator – Minnesota Rural Water Association employed by the City of East Gull Lake
A wastewater operator apprentice for the City of East Gull Lake, Lee Anderson understands the importance of having a clean, safe water supply in our rural communities in Minnesota. Anderson is currently in the second year of his apprenticeship with the Minnesota Rural Water Association. His positive attitude, professionalism, and dedication to learning make him an asset to his community.
Thomas Jensen, electrician – Iron Range Electrical JATC employed by Amptek Inc.
A second-generation electrician from the Iron Range, Thomas Jensen is making the most of his apprenticeship. After completing the electrical maintenance program at Hibbing Community College, Jensen applied to the Iron Range Electrical JATC and was accepted into their registered apprenticeship program. His instructors and supervising journeyworkers have described him as an excellent apprentice who is dedicated to the trade.
Johnathon Protivinsky, plant attendant – Xcel Energy
Johnathon Protivinsky is a plant attendant apprentice at Xcel Energy’s nuclear power plant in Monticello, Minnesota. After working for Xcel Energy in their nuclear security department, Protivinsky was accepted into the plant attendant apprenticeship program. With an eye for collaboration and improving efficiencies, Protivinsky is developing into an asset to his team and the company. “The apprenticeship has challenged me intellectually as well as given me the opportunity to work hands-on with equipment in the field," Protivinsky said.
Kevin Tuerk, ironworker – Ironworkers Local 512 JAC employed by Linco
After a conversation with a friend, Kevin Turek decided to pursue an apprenticeship with the Ironworkers Local 512 JAC. Now a second-year apprentice, Turek is developing into a leader in the classroom and on worksites. Turek enjoys the variety of work the trade offers, and admits the pay and benefits aren’t bad either. He hopes to become a foreman supervising jobsites in the future.
Monday, Nov. 14
Djiedjom Blabuh, machinist mechanic – Metropolitan Council
Over the past two years, Djiedjom Blabuh has honed his skills as a maintenance machinist apprentice working at the Metropolitan Council’s wastewater treatment facility. Blabuh's coworkers have commented about his commitment and dedication to learning his trade. Besides completing his apprentice, Blabuh strives to work his way into a leadership role with his employer.
Sam Holland, electrician – Twin Ports Electrical JATC employed by Hunt Electric
Sam Holland is a first-year electrical apprentice from Brainerd in the Twin Ports Electrical JATC’s registered apprenticeship program. In addition to the opportunity to start a new career, Holland is grateful for the benefits of his apprenticeship, especially being able to spend more time with his family. Holland's goals for the future are to pass the state journeyworker exam, obtain a master electrician license and possibly start his own business.
Dwayne Douglas, laborer – Lunda Construction - Urban League Twin Cities
Dwayne Douglas' path to registered apprenticeship began when he was referred to the Building Strong Communities construction exploration program by the staff at the Urban League Twin Cities. After completing Building Strong Communities, Douglas was hired by Lunda Construction as an apprentice construction craft laborer and began working on the Southwest Light Rail Corridor project. Douglas' goal is to complete his apprenticeship, buy a home and possibly start his own business.
Justin Vinkemeier, ironworker – Ironworkers Local 512 JAC employed by Sowles Company
Justin Vinkemeier is described by his instructors and co-workers as “on time and ready to work and learn.” A second-year ironworker apprentice, Vinkemeier is developing into a dependable and reliable tradesperson. He enjoys seeing the finished product of his labor. Vinkemeier's goal for himself it to become the best ironworker in his local union. View more information about the Ironworkers Local 512 JAC.