Megan Doyle is a graduate of Heritage High School and Rockdale Career Academy. The 20-year-old is a member of UA Local Union 72, through which she’s a pipe fitter with Batchelor & Kimball, one of the region’s leading mechanical contractors. At the opening ceremonies of the 2023 SkillsUSA State Championships in Atlanta, Megan was a participant in a panel discussion with four other young men and women and Construction Ready President Scott Shelar. Following is some of what she had to say to the audience of SkillsUSA competitors.
Tell us about the kind of pay that can be expected in your industry.
The apprentice program that I’m in right now, it’s switching to a four-year program, and each year you go up about $2 in scale. So you can start off as a helper, which is about 13 [dollars an hour], and then … about four to five years of apprenticeship, and then you are a journeyman, which is $35 right now.
What do you love about your job in particular?
Something I like about working in the shop is I can learn everything there is to know that it’s in there when it comes to welding or even plumbing. I love all the different tasks that you can do, and you can always push yourself to be better than you were yesterday.
There are a lot of different paths one can take to get into this industry. What was yours? How did you get to where you are?
I had no idea I would get to where I am today, or even think about it, until I was in high school and I was introduced to a class, Intro to Metals. It was a class I wasn’t too sure about; I wanted to do automotive, but [metals] was the only class available. And I ended up loving my instructor. When I realized the love I had for welding, I wanted to do something with it.
Do you have any advice for women trying to get into the industry?
There are a lot of ups and downs of being a woman in this industry. I mean, a lot. You can either be hated on or you can be loved. The family I have at Batchelor & Kimball makes me feel very welcomed, and they introduce me to so many things.
It can be very hard at times, because you have to pull your weight. I’m not the same build as others, so I have to work twice as hard just to keep up. But if I want to make a point that I can do this, I have to pull my own weight. It’s extremely hard, so you have to have the motivation and drive to do it.