Name: Michele Doning, owner KNM Construction
How did you get your start in the industry?
I came to the industry late due to a career change. I used to train horses, but my friends were roofers and were always looking for help and I thought I’d try. I knew how to speak Spanish, drive a tractor and wasn’t afraid to get dirty.
I started at the bottom. Now, I am an owner/operator of a small company KNM Construction LLC in Edgerton, Kansas.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
When we are done and we’ve had a really hard project and we step back and look and say, “We did that.” It’s not something everybody can do.
What advice would you give those entering the profession?
Get educated about the craft. Take advantage of continuing education opportunities. It doesn’t matter how shiny the truck a salesman drives, our industry survives on the back of our installers – at the root of it all, is the installation.
“It doesn’t matter how shiny the truck a salesman drives, our industry survives on the back of our installers.”
What will the industry look like in five years?
No idea. All I know is we need some laborers. If we don’t get some skilled tradespeople I’m not sure how we will survive.
What’s the key to success in your industry?
Its training. Its enjoying what you do and being honest with your customers.
Bonus Question: What can we do to get more students interested in a career in the trades?
Put shop [class]back in school! That’s where kids discover they are handy. Everyone’s pushing for a degree. Trades – you can start entry level and work your way all the way up. It’s not less than, it’s a great living for a family.
Are you employed in the trades? Help us combat the image problem and share your story. We know there are a lot of talented people in the trades and we think it’s about time everyone else did too.
Want to read more profiles? Here you go.
For more information on how we support those in the trades and what you can do to help, check out our Keep Craft Alive initiatives.