Career Spotlight: Get to Know Vanessa

who works in the detailing department for Hermanson Company

Being a single mother, I never thought that I would be able to financially 'make it.' Sheet metal provided my family a great future.

Vanessa Carman

Sheet Metal & HVAC Industry Testimonial: Vanessa, Detailing Department

Hometown: I was born in San Diego, grew up in Bellevue, Washington and currently live in Renton, Washington.

I live with: My three sons: Jonah (16), Gabriel (13) and Elijah (12)… and our one-year-old dog, Chepe.

Education: Five year apprenticeship completion at Local 66 Sheet Metal Workers, AAS Degree Multi-Occupational Trades

Years in the industry: 15 years

My main responsibilities are: I am in the process of transitioning to detailing. I currently support the sheet metal detailing department.

# of promotions since I started: I started as an apprentice, then a Journeyman then a Foreman.

My job is: New to me. I am excited to learn a different aspect of working in the sheet metal trades.

My first ever job was: As a barista at Starbucks.

My favorite subject in high school was: Production graphics/screen printing.

To be good at my job you need to: Get to work on time, have reliable transportation, have a strong work ethic, ask for help if you need it, advocate for yourself, have good communication skills and take care of your body/health.

My favorite part of my job is: New opportunities, learning, growth, and working with great people.

My least favorite part is: Not being able to wear overalls anymore.

How I got my start in the industry: Through a classified ad in the newspaper (yes.. a real newspaper). My brother was a sheet metal service worker and his job seemed like fun. I applied for entry-level positions at non-union sheet metal shops. My first sheet metal related job was a warehouse worker at a small residential sheet metal shop.

My advice to someone considering coming into this industry is: Trades work is definitely not for everyone, but anyone that wants to succeed, can. We are construction workers and the work can be challenging at times. Be prepared to work hard physically and mentally. I would also say… It is totally worth it!!

My favorite project was: My first union dispatch, to a tower in Bellevue. It was amazing to see so many new construction processes that I had never seen before. It was a huge jobsite, scary…but exciting. I got to learn so much. Also, my brother, a plumber, was on the same jobsite. 

Proudest work accomplishment: Becoming a journeyman. Being a single mother of three, I never thought that I would be able to financially “make it.” Sheet metal provided me and my family the opportunity to have a great future.

Interested in Working in the Sheet Metal Industry?

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