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Top graduate apprentice reflects on journey to title


Branden Dormire, winner of the 2017 National Outstanding Apprenticeship Award

Dormire credits L-169 mentoring for success

ACHIEVING THE TOP graduate apprentice title takes a commitment to studying and a helping hand from Boilermakers willing to commit their time and effort to mentoring, said 2017 winner Branden Dormire from Local 169 (Detroit). Dormire earned the National Outstanding Apprenticeship Award during competition hosted by Local 101 (Denver) August 21-22.

The Boilermakers indentured Dormire into the apprenticeship program following a five-year stint in the Navy, where he worked in San Diego as an aviation mechanic. When he was separating from the Navy, he went to classes on résumé writing and job opportunities. That’s where he heard about Helmets to Hardhats and the Boilermakers union. Dormire found the union to be a good fit.

When he started training for the apprentice competition, he discovered an abundance of support from all the brothers and sisters at Local 169. He said everyone helped him, not only in preparing for the competition but also throughout his apprenticeship.

“Our local takes pride in doing this. They expect a lot out of you. It was really awesome to be able to represent them.”
— Branden Dormire

“Guys notice that you show interest, and they want to help you out because you’re going to be the guy carrying on the trade,” said Dormire.

On the journey to the national title, he had his hands full with studying, working and family. Currently, he and his wife, Danyel, have three children under the age of 5. Dormire demonstrated his commitment to his local and to the competition when he left to compete in the regional contest the day after his youngest was born. He said going out of town was hard on everyone, but his wife supported him and he was “just glad I was there for the birth.”

Right before the competition for the national title, he knew it would be a long week of applying everything he’d learned over the last four years. He had his own nerves and the written tests to contend with, which he cites as two of the hardest things he encountered during the competition.

“All the guys competing really knew the trade,” said Dormire. “I knew it was going to be stiff competition, and it was.” So much so that when his name was called at the awards dinner, he was stunned.

Looking back, he knows he wouldn’t have won if not for the help he received from Local 169 and the high standard his local has for training apprentices.

“Our local takes pride in doing this,” he said. “They expect a lot out of you. It was really awesome to be able to represent them.”

He also received help from past winners John Nevadal (2015) and Marcus Delo (2016), who were dedicated to mentoring him. Dormire also valued the instruction he received from Local 169 Apprentice Coordinator and Lodge President Mike Card and others too numerous to name.

“Lots of brothers from the trade helped. They had patience training me and teaching me what they know,” said Dormire. “I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Locals  L-169
Reporter  V56N4
Published on the Web: November 14, 2017

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