Julio Ponce has worked in maintenance for 25 years. Most recently, in electrical, plumbing and welding work at Bergan Mercy hospital. During his time with Bergan Mercy, Julio encountered electricians with Miller Electric, and was left with a positive impression.
“Some of the guys thought I would be a good candidate for the Construction Wireman (CW) program and potentially the apprenticeship program, and after thinking about it, I decided to try it,” Julio says. “Two months in, I’m very glad I did.”
Something different every day
One of the things that Julio enjoys the most about his work as a CW is the variety that each day brings.
“We install and replace fixtures, maintain outlets and lights, put up conduit for new and existing construction — but every day the exact circumstances are unique,” he says. “I face different things every day. One day you have a light that’s not working or an outlet that goes bad and you have to troubleshoot to find an answer. It makes every day interesting and challenging — in a good way.”
Putting problem-solving to work in the prefab shop
As a CW, Julio is learning how to tackle different tasks on a regular basis. One of the places where he is learning new things is Miller’s prefab shop. He’s currently learning how to bend conduit — something he knows he’ll put to good use if he achieves his goal of becoming a journeyman electrician.
A recent project Julio recalls being able to apply problem solving on was an issue with some light installations for a high school.
“We had to assemble and test LED lights in the prefab shop for an assembly. Before it goes out the door, we need to make sure everything is working properly so that all our co-workers have to do is hang them for our customers,” he says. “One of the lights wasn’t working right. Through troubleshooting, we realized the manufacturer had neglected to put resistors on it. We fixed the issue and sent over a properly functioning assembly.”
From Mexico to Nebraska, electrical work has always been a passion
While Julio wore a number of different hats working for the hospital, he enjoys the focus he’s able to place on electrical work because it’s something he’s been interested in since he was a young boy.
Although he was born in America, Julio’s parents moved their family to Michoacán when he was young, which is in western Mexico. He grew up there watching his father run a hardware store.
“Since I was 12 or 13 years old, I have been fascinated by electrical things,” Julio says. “I can remember changing an outlet for my dad or a light switch in the hardware store and really enjoying it.”
Julio’s dream is to become a journeyman electrician and to one day be able to manage a crew. “If I ever complete my journey and am able to save enough, I want to make my wife’s dream of retiring to a sunny home in Florida come true.”
Julio is well on his way to achieving his dream with Miller Electric, and is grateful for the supportive environment he has to pursue his passion of learning all things electrical in.
“The people I work for are great,” he says “They are appreciative and let you know when you do a good job. I enjoy working for them and look forward to going to work each day, where I know I’ll be able to apply what I know while also learning something new.”