Seattle sheet metal worker Emily Wigre had worked with metals for nearly her entire life prior to joining Local 66 – “I was a welder, a machinist and a jeweler; I started making and selling jewelry when I was eight years old.” But she eventually found herself searching for a career with more stability, better benefits and a union that has workers’ backs. After completing her apprenticeship in Oregon with the help of Oregon Tradeswomen, she is now a 14-year journeyperson exploring all that the sheet metal trade has to offer. Learn more in her sister story:
What unique strengths do you bring to your trade?
I have a diverse background in metals, a college degree and a great work ethic.
What do you love to do when you are not at work?
I love spending time with my baby boy, Alden, and husband, Matt. Preferably outdoors somewhere.
Goals in the future — any ambitions or changes to your career, growth or education?
I’d love to work for Zahner Sheet Metal so I could be on some amazing architectural projects.
What surprised you about your trade?
I didn’t know that my trade existed. I always liked working with metal and I wanted to make things larger than jewelry, but not sculpture.
What do you find frustrating about your job/trade?
Now that I have a little one, the strict schedule can be very hard to work with.
How did you get into SMART?
Through our local women’s committee.
Tool you can’t live without?
Snips, both reds and greens.
Best advice you got as an apprentice?
Work smarter, not harder. I’m 5’3″, and although I’m strong for my size, I’m still quite small for the average construction worker. But because I know how to work smart, I keep up just fine.
What do you think about Tradeswomen Build Nations?
I think it is an exciting conference that can connect women across many boundaries.
Are you active in trade-related activities such as career fairs, volunteer work or SMART Army events?