For Kathleen, TrANS opened up more than a career path. It opened the doors to becoming part of American history.
“I always had a fascination with construction,” she insists, “but with no experience or family or friends in the industry, I didn’t know how to break in.” She earned her CDL to see if she could make it as a driver. She had an excellent work history, but at 57, it was a bit longer than expected for an industry newcomer. Then she discovered the TrANS program and knew it was her chance to succeed.
After meeting her instructor Ranard and hearing some of the most impassioned messages of her life, however, Kathleen realized she wanted to explore other opportunities as well. They toured union halls, where Kathleen was so impressed that she decided to join the Operating Engineers 139.
“I learned how to operate every piece of equipment from skid steers to cranes, bulldozers to excavators,” she says. She hadn’t had math in over 35 years, so she studied in her own time from a GED book. “The class arranged for us to take union tests together as a group, and the tests were not easy. Without TrANS, I’m not sure I would have passed.”
Today, Kathleen has contributed to some huge projects, from building railroad beds in North Dakota’s oil boom district to building an interstate bridge over the Mississippi. “I’ve helped build waste water treatment facilities, power plants, paper mill expansions, and updates to nuclear plants,” Kathleen tells us. “My main motivation is being part of something bigger than me – getting together with a bunch of people I never knew before and creating something from nothing that will outlive me and be useful to countless people.”
Kathleen says that Ranard’s leadership and the TrANS program made this possible. “I give TrANS much credit for me being in the construction industry. Ranard’s commitment doesn’t cease after graduation. I graduated in 2013, and if I don’t contact him with updates, he’s contacting me,” she says, adding “These experiences are priceless to me. We are all a part of American history in some small way in this industry.”
Great work, Kathleen!