All in the Family: An Homage to Carpenter Dads
In honor of Father’s Day, we interviewed a few generations of career carpenters. It so happens that it is pretty common for a career as a Union Carpenter to carry on through several generations within one family. Read on to meet a few for yourself.
Jim and Daniel Wilson
Fourth and fifth-generation carpenters, Jim and Daniel Wilson (both LU 808) agree that the union has been good to them.
Right out of the military in the early 1970s, Jim went to work union, building bridges in Southern Oregon as a piledriver. He switched his book a year later to carpentry and today looks back on a successful career working as a union carpenter and teaching as a long-time instructor/coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute (PNCI).
“I started teaching part-time in Southern Oregon, in 1977,” said Jim. “Classes were held on Friday and Saturday once a month. Throughout my career, I worked union jobs and taught in the apprenticeship part-time.”
In 2017, Jim retired to his farm in Southern Oregon where he and his wife have a garden, an orchard, and a few head of cattle. Occasionally, they fish and golf.
Daniel joined the apprenticeship right out of high school. His father, Jim, was his coordinator. He was a steady hand for SB James throughout his apprenticeship and moved quickly up the ladder to foreman and is now a superintendent.
SB James does a lot of TI Hospital work and uses the ICRA model consistently in their work. He is currently working on Yreka Fairchild Hospital Medical Office Building Urgent Care remodel. The hospital is occupying the facility as completion progresses.
“I’ve spent most of my career working on hospitals in the ICRA environment,” said Daniel.
The COVID pandemic has presented a unique challenge. Although the work was considered essential, the material suppliers shut down, making it difficult to get supplies.
Currently, Jim and Daniel are building Daniel’s new home, a project five years in the making on weekends, afternoons, and holidays. Both men live near Central Point, OR.
Gilberto and Adrian Medina
Adrian Medina (LU 271) says it was his father, Gilberto, who encouraged him to become a union carpenter. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” said Adrian. “I love the physical work, the feeling of accomplishment, the benefits, and pay.”
Adrian currently works for Brand/Safway Scaffolding on a road crew that travels far and wide erecting scaffolding for road improvements and repairs. “It’s Legos for carpenters,” he said.
Adrian joined the union and began his apprenticeship in 2015 and journeyed-out in November of 2018. He is looking into earning his AA through the apprenticeship and is considering project management to further his career in the construction industry.
Adrian’s father, Gilberto Medina (LU 271), came to the union after working as a non-union residential framer for several years. “Being a residential carpenter is hard, fast work,” said Gilberto. “You’re framing walls one day and putting on a roof the next.”
Gilberto, too, says the pay and benefits have helped him and his whole family. For the last year and a half, he has been working on the Hanford Reservation at the Waste Treatment facility (Vitrification Plant). He says two of the advantages of being union is the safety measures taken on job sites and the skills enhancement training offered at our training centers.
Both men live in the Tri-Cities.
Chris and Nicole Bodine
“From the time I was 10-years old, I was working alongside my father building apartments,” said Chris Bodine, who is currently a superintendent for Wilcox Construction and a member of LU 30. “In the summer, I worked forty hours a week.”
A third-generation carpenter, Bodine’s first union job was on the University of Washington’s K/Wing in 1993, building poured-in-place concrete stairs and gang walls. “When I got laid off, I went down to the hall and was back on the same job site the next week installing cabinets for a subcontractor. I was on the same project three different times.”
Bodine says he’s worked for Sellen for a while but enjoys the broader scope of work he does for Wilcox. His next project is for the Northwest Carpenters Institute of Washington (NWCI) overhauling, remodeling, and renovating the building. It will become the new training center for our North Puget Sound members.
Nicole Bodine, too, started her carpentry career working side-by-side with her father, Chris, remodeling the family’s fixer-upper home. “I just loved the work,” she said.
She joined the union in May of 2019 and is a second-period apprentice and a member of LU 70.
“I’m currently at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond and, I’m learning a lot,” she continued. “The journeyman I’m working with, Joe Cooks, gives me options about what particular tasks I want to learn. We stay focused, but we have fun at the same time.
“I really like concrete forms work,” she added.
Chris Bodine is proud of his daughters, all three of whom are union members. Stephanie just joined the Painters union, and Samantha is a union Laborer. Now that really is all in the family.