Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association
A lifelong member of the sheet metal trade, John Hauck is teaching a new generation of apprentices and passing along what he has learned through years of work experience.
John, who has worked for R.E. Lee Mechanical for almost 20 years, recently started teaching a group of sheet metal apprentices in Tucson. John works hard and makes a good living for his family, and he’s happy to pass on his knowledge and enthusiasm to the next generation of sheet metal workers.
With the sheet metal industry evolving faster than ever, it is difficult work staying up to date with new techniques and technologies on your own, let alone having to pass that on to others. John explains how the trade has changed over the years and how it impacts his approach to teaching.
“In our trade now, you have to be able to use your mind a little more because nothing is figured out for you,” John says. “With the rise of the design-build model, sheet metal workers are now doing a lot of fabricating and are therefore responsible for making sure everything fits together the way it should – I really try to emphasize this point while going over sheet metal concepts.”
An important point that John stresses to apprentices is having a premeditated game plan when you step on the jobsite.
“I tell apprentices that you cannot go onto a jobsite unprepared, wing it and expect to be successful,” emphasizes John. “You need to use your points of reference when you get on the job, but most importantly, you need to have a plan of attack for when you encounter problems.”
Another challenge all teachers must tackle is how to make the material engaging to ensure students truly absorb the lessons. John stays on top of new technologies and techniques and passes those on to students through interactive applications and hands-on problem-solving.
Despite the unique challenges of teaching the construction trades, there are moments that make teaching incredibly rewarding.
“It’s a lot of hard work teaching some of these concepts. Sometimes it can take months for an apprentice to get it right and understand,” John explains. “But it’s the smile on their face when it all clicks for the first time that makes teaching such a rewarding experience.”
Based on his own experience, John knows that this appreciation for learning new skills will translate into on-the-job pride as the apprentices transition to journeymen.
“When you’re done with a job it is really special to take a step back and look at what you’ve accomplished,” reflected John. “It might seem unnecessary, but I find it is so important to recognize personal accomplishments in this industry.”
Above all, John understands that putting your head down and working hard is what leads to a successful career in the trades. He leads by example, passing that dedication and work ethic on to his students during each class.