Foreman Development Series helps journeymen progress on career path

Foremen are vital in making sure a project is completed on time and within budget.

And for those journeymen electricians aspiring to grow their careers, training is now available through the Youngstown Area Electrical JATC.

Brian Crumbacher, labor coordinator at “Joe” Dickey Electric, recently started teaching a Foreman Development Series.

“This has grown into 16 modules that journeymen and apprentices, but mostly journeymen, can learn basic skills of jobs from project startup to materials, man-loading, scheduling and estimating,” Crumbacher said. “About every facet of a project is covered through a different module.”

The course was originated by the 7th District of the IBEW, which covers Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

“This series of modules really covers a job from two men to 50 or 60 guys on a project,” he said. “You learn every facet of the job from pre-job kickoff meetings to close-out documents and as-built drawings. There are very little stones unturned if you complete all 16 modules.”

When this opportunity first came up, Eric Carlson, president of “Joe” Dickey Electric, tasked Crumbacher to find out more about the training series.

Crumbacher traveled to Austin, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona for Train the Trainer sessions. He will go back to Austin in May for the final part of his training.

“We’ve just developed it and I’ve brought it back to our JATC,” he said. “We have 13 journeymen right now signed up. I’m hoping to have another run of this class in the spring. I would like to make it on a rotating monthly basis where guys have options to come and go on their schedule. My goal would be for everybody that signs up to complete all 16 modules over the course of 2-3 years.”

The first two modules the class covered were “Role of the Foreman” and “Project Startup.”

“Those are the modules I encourage everybody to take first,” Crumbacher said.

Crumbacher recalled being part of a group of journeymen that underwent this training in 2010.

“I can go back to one of my former bosses, Jim Geller. He was passionate about foreman training and put together a group of journeymen and foreman from different contractors. I can remember sitting in that select group of 12 people.”

Going beyond job functions, Crumbacher stressed how this training series helps develop leadership.

“Leadership skills are a huge quality of a foreman,” he said. “In signing up for this class, that’s the first step in becoming a leader.”