Sparky Life

What Are The Secrets In The Switch Yards?

December 28, 2023 Lia Lamela Season 1 Episode 54
What Are The Secrets In The Switch Yards?
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Sparky Life
What Are The Secrets In The Switch Yards?
Dec 28, 2023 Season 1 Episode 54
Lia Lamela

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In this episode of the Sparky Life podcast, host Lia Lamela speaks with Trish Conville, a seasoned professional from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. They discuss the importance of safety, cleanliness, and proper accommodations in the construction industry, with a focus on the electrical trade.

Trish shares insights from her work in power distribution and the advancements in technology that have improved efficiency. They also discuss the need for better safety measures, proper hygiene practices, and the value of community in the industry. Trish shares her journey into the electrical field, the challenges she faced, and the importance of authenticity and resilience.

Connect with us: @sparkylifeoflia

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National Memorial to the Women Who Worked on the Home Front Foundation

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Here's the link to donate.

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"We recognize a good education doesn’t always require a four-year degree.”

We support financial advancement for the skilled trades community.  You can reach out to Jennifer Markwell at Platinum Wealth email

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Sparky Life invites Honorary Sparky members to submit to the podcast, any questions you may have about the skilled trades, or the construction industry. Your questions will be digitally answered directly by Lia Lamela and a few questions may actually be selected to be answered on air on the Sparky Life Podcast. You can send your questions to or DM us @sparkylifeoflia.

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Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode of the Sparky Life podcast, host Lia Lamela speaks with Trish Conville, a seasoned professional from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. They discuss the importance of safety, cleanliness, and proper accommodations in the construction industry, with a focus on the electrical trade.

Trish shares insights from her work in power distribution and the advancements in technology that have improved efficiency. They also discuss the need for better safety measures, proper hygiene practices, and the value of community in the industry. Trish shares her journey into the electrical field, the challenges she faced, and the importance of authenticity and resilience.

Connect with us: @sparkylifeoflia

Sparky Life Supports: Raya Kenney's Foundation Women Who Worked on the Home Front Memorial

Be a part of history!
National Memorial to the Women Who Worked on the Home Front Foundation

Here's Raya and a little about her memorial
Congress approves Women Who Worked on the Home Front Memorial

Here's the link to donate.

Apply for Skilled Trades the Mike Rowe Scholarship:
"We recognize a good education doesn’t always require a four-year degree.”

We support financial advancement for the skilled trades community.  You can reach out to Jennifer Markwell at Platinum Wealth email

Music by

Support the Show.

Sparky Life Membership Subscription Opportunities
Click on the Buzzsprout Support Link

Join Us and Subscribe!

Membership Subscription Levels
1. Be a Part of The Circuit…for only 10 cents a day or $3. Per Month

As a Circuit Member you have made the choice to support Sparky Life so it can develop and grow. You will be the first to know about special online events and sneak peaks about upcoming episodes.

2. Be a Part of Live Wire…for only 17 cents a day or $5. Per month

Get a digital thank you directly from Lia Lamela, with an invitation to join the Sparky Life network. Sparky Life as a thank you will send you a free $5 Starbucks card.

3. Be an Honorary Sparky…for only 33 cents a day or $10 Per month

Sparky Life invites Honorary Sparky members to submit to the podcast, any questions you may have about the skilled trades, or the construction industry. Your questions will be digitally answered directly by Lia Lamela and a few questions may actually be selected to be answered on air on the Sparky Life Podcast. You can send your questions to or DM us @sparkylifeoflia.

Lia Lamela (00:00:00) - Welcome to the Sparky Life podcast. I'm your host, Lia Lamela, and here we create the spark in our lives. Join me on this electrical journey where I highlight skilled trade tales and construction career opportunities with those I've met along the way. Thank you for joining. For trade tales continued. Good morning or afternoon or evening, depending on when you're listening. It's not typical that you get a daily morning safety talk at your office job. However, in the skilled trades where our lives can be at risk around hazardous conditions, safety, stand down talks are the norm. The emphasis on protecting workers for their sake seems to get lost far too often in the construction world. And not just safety standards are getting neglected, but hygiene. My guest today, Trish Carnival, has three decades of experience in the IBEW. She has seen it all. And Trish and I talked today about the necessity to raise standards for safety, cleanliness and accommodations across the board. Trish gives us a deep dive into a Sparky life on power distribution sites.

Lia Lamela (00:01:30) - Now think about this. If power lines carry between 4000 and 25,000V, we're talking about a lot of power. So welcome with me Trish. Carnival as a fellow Sparky. Yeah. Are you an early bird like me?

Trish Conville (00:01:52) - I have to get up early, but I am not an early bird by nature. No. I'm an. I was born in the night, and that's where I like it. Yeah, that's what you. But you you've.

Lia Lamela (00:02:04) - Trained yourself to tolerate the early mornings.

Trish Conville (00:02:07) - Yeah. And there's the beautiful gift of seeing the sun coming up. Oh, each day you get to see the miracle of, of the day starting. Yes.

Lia Lamela (00:02:17) - You're currently in Pennsylvania, right?

Trish Conville (00:02:19) - Yeah. And your territory is where?

Lia Lamela (00:02:22) - Within new Jersey.

Trish Conville (00:02:24) - Hudson, Bergen and Essex counties.

Lia Lamela (00:02:27) - In your local in your in your area for the contractor that you're currently with. Do you guys do the safety talk in the morning?

Trish Conville (00:02:35) - Yeah, we got the JSA, which is breaking down what we need to accomplish in that day.

Trish Conville (00:02:40) - So the different jobs, the tasks at hands, then you have the safety risks that go along with those tasks and what to implement to stay safe.

Lia Lamela (00:02:50) - And when you have those talks, I want to know, do you feel those talks are valuable? Because I, I only know the talks that I've heard. And I can tell you sometimes I'm like, wow, these these guys have got it together. This is very valuable. This was great. And other times I would say the majority of the time I'm like, this is a waste of everyone's time. You guys are not instilling safety here. You're walking through the motions. This is silly.

Trish Conville (00:03:18) - Exactly. Everybody knows it's bullshit. Yeah. And even the guys usually doing the talks, they try to make it like, you know, this is they care about you, but they also know they're talking to a fellow brother or sister that they've been working with for the past ten years. That's been through every JSA, every safety, every stand down, every, you know.

Trish Conville (00:03:42) - And and not to say that accidents don't happen or like you say, we get complacent sometimes, especially doing the same things and with electric our electrical. But you hear it in your life. And you feel it. Your hair stands up, your you know, you get wrapped off of some of the things that you're touching because of inductance.

Lia Lamela (00:04:06) - I haven't had any of that experience because I'm primarily in data centers where we're taking high voltage and stepping it down, and I'm mainly around medium voltage, low voltage, primarily low voltage. And so I'm excited. Like I can't wait to hear I want to know what it's like to be in that environment and what type of electrical work are you doing. Is there a conduit run? What does that look like in comparison to a conduit run in a data center? Those types of things.

Trish Conville (00:04:36) - Okay, mainly what I do is considered like a utilities. So your power and distribution almost. We work in generation stations doing maintenance tear down sometimes we did pull down a couple of generation stations.

Trish Conville (00:04:52) - But there's also the yards. So your switch yards that people drive by and they see all this electrical equipment in these high towers and all these cables and boxes and things, and they're transformers. A lot of the work that we do is all the upgrading of the infrastructure. A lot of it's 69 kV because they can get it up and running fast and make money on it fast. So a lot of these are doing new things. So you don't see all these big, vast areas taken up by all this equipment. Siemens and AB have learned how to make gas insulated switch so you can compact it, make it a lot smaller and put it inside of a building. Okay. And so that's a completely different ballgame than old school is thousands of volts. So that's you're going to have 69,000V up to 500,000V.

Lia Lamela (00:05:54) - And that's typically what's going through our utility lines.

Trish Conville (00:05:58) - Yeah that's that's the really the 500 is the really really big ones. But once it starts coming out they get stepped down like you're talking about how you'll bring in high voltage and you step it down 120 volt outlets, you know, type of you're taking a lot of power that's getting generated.

Trish Conville (00:06:16) - You're breaking it down a switchyard, you're distributing it to a town over here, or a town over there, or in New York City. It's amazing. You hear it, you hear it snapping, especially if you have a misty day. Crackles and and the transformer is always home. But everything else you're hearing around is really it's a it's a neat feeling. It's a neat feeling. Oh yeah I wonder Thunder. Thunder. Yeah.

Lia Lamela (00:06:49) - So then are you considered a lineman because there's a difference.

Trish Conville (00:06:53) - No, there's a difference. There's a little difference. We are capable of doing lineman work, but we generally don't like do the stuff before the linemen work on it. So I've put cable up on the towers and stuff like that. That's the things that will come off of the Transformers or what have you, and then off onto these towers, and then they'll usually take in the lineman run it. That's a lot of what they do. But I'm pretty much either in the yard. And we also have really.

Trish Conville (00:07:26) - Rooms, you know, so you have your 24 volt. Was was reading off of the kts, the current transformers. What's. So you know what's going on out there? Yeah, it was a problem switching things on and off. All that computerized. Everything's computerized and they can actually now a lot of it gets done from a distance. You don't necessarily have to be there as somebody pushing buttons or flicking a switch or something like that.

Lia Lamela (00:07:55) - Wow. Okay. So you're primarily doing the electrical that happens before your linemen are going to come into play. Yeah. What does that typically look like?

Trish Conville (00:08:08) - Fun. Yeah. Love. Yeah. Um, I don't know, because it's like, kind of like a typical day. So you get up in the morning like everybody else, you have a cup of coffee, you hop in the car or the granola bar, and you drive to your job site. Sometimes you have to get, you know, everybody hops in the little work van and we all teeter on over to the, the actual site itself and the switchyard, because sometimes you just can't park in it because it's a small space.

Trish Conville (00:08:42) - Right? Then we have our first thing in the morning or talk where you have the tasks at hand, the safety hazards that you're going to run into. Because obviously working with stuff that's that powerful, there's no second chances. A lot of times.

Lia Lamela (00:09:01) - You're not going to come back from that, and if you do, it will probably be in not a good condition.

Trish Conville (00:09:05) - Yeah. Safety is super important when you're working around that. And a lot of us have worked around it for a long time. So we're aware you need to be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes you're stuck in a tight spot. You need to know where you're at. And that's really mostly the key is just being aware. We might be putting steel up that day, so we'll have a lot of times we have our own crane operators in our local, so they'll hop in the crane. You got lull operators like myself. I operate lulls, so either be spotting or I'll be running it. And you're moving. We pick things up, we put things down.

Trish Conville (00:09:49) - I love that. Yeah. So you're gonna build. You have to build the structures that everything is going to go on. So you come into an area that is flatlands and you have the guys from the excavating crew. They've been doing whatever they got to do and putting in the pilings, and they got to put in the concrete bases. And so now we're bringing in the steel and we're going to be building towers. We have to build the other structures that have the switches that are on them outside thing on the inside, we have inside cranes for the equipment that we have to move around on the inside. It's a lot of building things. And then there's usually two different contractors doing one job. So if you're starting a 69 building from the ground up, you've got two, sometimes three different contractors in there. Somebody will have the you're doing all the conduit runs for your switches, your receptacles and garage doors, your fans, all that kind of stuff. And then you'll have the other ones that are coming in to build the actual GIS, the gas insulated switch, which is like a big, huge tube and it's filled with this SF six gas, keeps the electricity from affecting the outside of the encasing steel.

Trish Conville (00:11:13) - So it's really interesting. Like, I'll have to say, we're not supposed to take pictures.

Lia Lamela (00:11:20) - I know, dude, I'm not supposed to take pictures at all. And I'm like, how can I help show people what we're really providing for them if we can't take pictures? Yeah, like, why can't I be proud of my work and display my work? What is wrong with that?

Trish Conville (00:11:38) - Especially like you're looking at the you're in there and you're wiring all these things up and you're like, look at that. That's a it's a piece of artwork. It is, it is.

Lia Lamela (00:11:48) - Yes. And they get their panties in a twist over it. And I'm like, look, it's it's one thing if it's live gear, like I get it because you want to make sure you're cautious and maybe, maybe videoing live gear and taking photos while you're in live gear isn't a good idea because it can happen. But if it's a dead panel or you know there's no electrical current headed to what you're wiring up, which they're shouldn't be if you're wiring it up, there should be no electrical happening there.

Trish Conville (00:12:19) - They're being shouldn't be right. Right. Shouldn't be shouldn't.

Lia Lamela (00:12:23) - Be.

Trish Conville (00:12:24) - But always test before you touch.

Lia Lamela (00:12:27) - Yes live dead live right.

Trish Conville (00:12:31) - With a lot of stuff that we do. I think it's more of a national security thing because we work with power. So they don't want people leaking prints and learning how that they could disable a power grid, because that would be bad if somebody did that. And I and I get that. But I'm like, I'm taking picture of a right, like.

Lia Lamela (00:12:55) - Is your one photo of the beautiful, like wiring that you just terminated? Is that really going to expose the blueprints? I think so.

Trish Conville (00:13:07) - Right. Take out the X152 wire and we're good. They'll never know what hit him, right?

Lia Lamela (00:13:18) - I mean, I work primarily in data centers, so you can imagine the biggest customer. And a lot of it is corporations not wanting other corporations to know what they're doing. So to me, that's like, get over yourself. Get over yourself, buddy. I got news for you.

Lia Lamela (00:13:35) - Y'all doing the same shit I've been in. Every data center is the same shit. Okay? You're not like secret. There's a secret here, right?

Trish Conville (00:13:43) - Like. Like, who am I going to leak a secret to? Like. Oh, don't tell anybody. Yeah, okay. And you're always paired up. You never work alone. You always have a partner. And it's funny because I'm. I'm five with five, six buck 20. So I'm usually paired with the the six foot two. Yeah. 242. Balance it out. Found that balance. They have the balance because some guys like I'll be paired up with the big guy. He can't get in the gear right. He can't he can't climb on certain things because it's just too tight of a spot. It's like, yeah, just get in the hole. Yeah. Get her in there, shove it around with a boot.

Lia Lamela (00:14:28) - But let me ask you, is that something that your local sets up to ensure that there's always two pairs, or is that something the contractor requires? Because I got to tell you, number one, I love that.

Lia Lamela (00:14:40) - And number two, unfortunately in my local I don't see that happen. At all, like rarely. And that's something that bothers me because if something were to happen. If someone's not with you, that's.

Trish Conville (00:14:58) - That's just it. If something were to happen, if you were to misplace a foot, fall out of a lift pole, you know, climbing on whatever you're doing and you have your harness on, you only have think about ten minutes max before you know the blood circulation stops.

Lia Lamela (00:15:18) - Yes.

Trish Conville (00:15:19) - Um, honestly, I couldn't tell you. I believe that's within not so much the contractor, but also the our customer. I've done the utility for like ten plus, maybe even more now. I've been in it, what, 18 years?

Lia Lamela (00:15:37) - Wow. That's awesome.

Trish Conville (00:15:39) - So most of it as soon as I topped out because we don't have apprentices in the yards because it's more they don't know enough yet, right?

Lia Lamela (00:15:48) - Right.

Trish Conville (00:15:49) - They don't want to take the chance. And it's safer to have them out of the yards until they've gone through their training.

Trish Conville (00:15:54) - And it's like, okay, you know, you kind of get broken into it the pair thing. And that's like if there's overtime and you have the painters need to come in at night and paint inside, well they need lighting. So you're on temporary. You're not supposed to work like you can do, like you're on temporary. You're just on watch. You're just watching it. But you're not allowed to go and work because God forbid something happens, you're by yourself.

Lia Lamela (00:16:22) - See, now, I've done a lot of research on this regarding like, safety and rules and regulations. And actually certain states have higher standards and more safety put in place for construction workers in the United States than other states. And in new Jersey, Massachusetts, these states are one of the better states to work in as a construction worker, because you have a higher quality of safety, higher quality standards, and states like, unfortunately, Virginia, where I am, and other southern states have very poor rules, regulations, laws that do not support construction workers, do not properly protect construction workers.

Lia Lamela (00:17:02) - And I was like shocked to discover this because here I am thinking naively blanket like, oh, the government and the state and the laws and they're going to protect us, right? That's why unions fought so hard so that we would be protected, supplying the foundation for civilization, that we would be protected doing this. Right. And that's not the case at all, actually.

Trish Conville (00:17:28) - And it could have a lot to do with the insurance companies. Um, because a lot of the safety that is out there that is shoved down our throats. Safety first. Yeah, is driven by the insurance is by the insurance companies. And and that's where I think some people it's like a bitter pill to swallow. Yeah. Because you'll have people coming around and be like, ah, you're hard at work saving lives. I get it. There's times, yes, you want to, but I'm inside of a gear. I can't even fit the hard hat with my head like so I get it. They're just doing their jobs.

Trish Conville (00:18:09) - But you see what I'm saying? The safety. It doesn't.

Lia Lamela (00:18:13) - I see this all the time on site. I'll have, you know, safety guys come around and go glasses and gloves, but then I'll see a setup using generators to pull in wire. And you can clearly tell it's an electrical hazard. What's happening up top there's like raw wire, electrically charged, touching metal. Not not good situation. But you're bitching at me about gloves and glasses, right? Actually, let's make these actual construction site safe and then talk to me about gloves and glasses.

Trish Conville (00:18:49) - There are a lot. There are, hell, a lot safer than with the first time.

Lia Lamela (00:18:52) - That's for damn sure. That's for damn sure. Electricians were ranked one of the highest death rates of all construction in the back 1970s. I want to say.

Trish Conville (00:19:05) - Yeah, I could believe it. I could believe it. Because your work, I mean, you're working with stuff that can kill you.

Lia Lamela (00:19:10) - Well, I think that's a lot of things that people who aren't electricians don't realize.

Lia Lamela (00:19:15) - You know, they think it has to do with the voltage. It doesn't have to do with the voltage. I know that a lot of people outside of construction understand the danger of working with electricity, but I don't think they really understand what we're bringing to the world that they live in, and how important it is to protect the people that are bringing you this. Yeah. To be able to live the way you're living.

Trish Conville (00:19:39) - Yeah. And it's like, you know, you make how much, you know, like, well, I can pretty much blow myself up in everybody in a team, if something really goes wrong, it goes wrong. Yeah. Right. So yeah. Because you're essentially putting your life on the line when you're going in. There you are. To me, it's a job. I do my job, I go in, it's very safe, you know?

Lia Lamela (00:20:07) - It's safer than what it definitely is. A thousand times safer than what it used to be. I feel it could be improved upon.

Lia Lamela (00:20:14) - And we should be pushing harder for it to be improved upon. I'm tired of the company's, quote safety, which is really protecting the company and the liability of things. I want to protect us. Our brothers and sisters like that's what I care about. Like we're the ones working in it. Yeah.

Trish Conville (00:20:31) - And that also comes down to the brothers and sisters doing the work and what they're allowing to be acceptable. There are times when I look at them and I'm going, it might not affect you at that moment, but down the line breathing that in. Yes. Or do you know what you're handling and you think that's okay? Do you realize the toxicity of this or do you understand the potential of having issues? I mean, we all understand. Yeah, we can get wrapped, we can get liquefied, we can get all that. That's like, oh, yeah, you know, that could happen. But there's other things that happen on the job site as well. And just like having water to wash your hands, I've had hand washing stations on job sites.

Trish Conville (00:21:21) - It was a blessing. Why isn't that just standard across the board to have? Because we're in a lot of places. You don't have water, you don't have access to water to wash your hands. Now you're handling this stuff. You're in areas that are usually not that healthiest, especially in Jersey. You're working in Superfund sites, you're working with stuff you're pulling up that has chromium in it. You it's glowing green. You're like.

Lia Lamela (00:21:51) - It's the real Kryptonite, guys.

Trish Conville (00:21:55) - And that's the kind of stuff. And people can be afraid. Yet in this time, they're afraid for their jobs. So they're allowing themselves to be exposed to some things and just turn a blind eye rather than saying, I'm not comfortable doing this. You know, they talk about stop the job or what? And usually if you have a big mouth about something, you're the person.

Lia Lamela (00:22:19) - Yeah, they'll just get rid of you. Those are scary to you. But that's why we need to stand together. I don't know what happened to the concept of union.

Lia Lamela (00:22:28) - When I was first introduced to unions, I didn't know what they were. And when I read about them, and I spoke to Carmen Stanko, who was the first to unionize the company she was working for in Vermont as electrician. She's an amazing woman, absolutely trailblazer. When she told me how her union functioned and what they did, I go, oh my gosh, that's not what I experienced today. Yeah, that's that's not the Brotherhood sisterhood I've been hearing about. Where is where is this union you speak of?

Trish Conville (00:23:04) - Where is the union exactly? And standing up for each other and watching out for each other? Yes. What I really do like in the yards a lot of times is that we're pretty tight knit and it's you only have ten, 12 a lot of times just you three other guys, you know, doing something. But we all you go through different contractors. There's only so many contractors that did that type of work. So you kind of rotate through them. When you go to the home, you come back.

Trish Conville (00:23:36) - Oh, now we're working with XYZ company. Oh, now we're working with ABC. Well, ABC and XYZ and P are the three big main contractors that do all that type work, right? Right. So you get to know everybody within that realm. And the same thing with the people on the other end are customers. You get to know because you're going through the same yards doing this. Then we got to do that. Then we got, oh, well, now we got to upgrade all the cameras. For some reason. They want new cameras that have speakers on them or something. Okay. Now we got to go in and do that, you know. Oh. Hey, Bob. Hey, Mike.

Lia Lamela (00:24:12) - When you're the female, everyone knows who you are. Have people come up to me going, hey, Lee, and I'm thinking of my head. I have no idea who the fuck this is, but they know me like the only girl.

Trish Conville (00:24:24) - And it's bad. Especially if you bump into people outside of work and they're not wearing their hard.

Trish Conville (00:24:29) - Yeah, you're like, oh my God, I've been working with this guy for three months. You know, like, yeah, like, oh geez, you look totally different. There's a lot of stuff that I think people's own fault at times, the workers faults at own times because they allow things to be okay, because they don't want to speak up. They don't want to say something. They don't want to have a stand down and be like, this is not cool. You look at ironworker.

Lia Lamela (00:24:57) - They're badass.

Trish Conville (00:24:59) - Like that's it. Shout out to local 11.

Lia Lamela (00:25:05) - Ironworkers are badass, and they are not afraid to stand down. They're not afraid to come together as a group and be like, fuck this. This is crazy. I'm not doing it. Or if one of their brothers or sisters are fucked with, they're like, uh, local? No, like in a heartbeat. But I'm not seeing that where I'm at currently. And it's just it's heartbreaking. Like, I don't understand where's the camaraderie? Where's the support? I was shocked when members of my local discovered that I was doing the podcast.

Lia Lamela (00:25:38) - They were not happy about it. They were not supportive at all, and I couldn't wrap my head around it like I'm trying to get our voices heard. I feel passionately about what we do. I know how valuable what we do is, how important it is we should be paid more than what we get paid, even though we get paid well. Quite frankly, it should be more. The construction culture, the standards that were given, uh, needs to be elevated, needs to go up. If we're not talking about it, it's not going to happen. You can't put your head in the sand and your tail between your legs and just think, things are going to change. Yeah, that's not what happens. You need to discuss. You need to have conversations. Yeah.

Trish Conville (00:26:22) - Most definitely, most definitely. Think, like I said before, that fear of lack mentality and that, hey, we got this. It's good. We got a job. It's good. At least I got a job.

Trish Conville (00:26:32) - It's, you know, and I'm getting a paycheck every week. But what are you paying for it? And there's a lot there's a lot of great stuff that's out there. You have to have a foreman that's for the men. And as long as somebody is out there and they're like, looking out for you and trying to give you your, your dues, like what you're supposed to be getting. And we have our times breaks and the way that's that's all worked out. And you treat people with respect, it'll come back to the contractor that much more. Right? If you're trying to take away from people, your workers, people aren't going to be looking to work well for you. A lot of times they'll just come out and you got a good foreman. He's out there, he's watching your back. He covers everything. He talks to people he's supposed to talk to. He make sure that you have the tools you need. You know, sometimes you'll be fighting for your tools in the contractors like that.

Trish Conville (00:27:29) - They said the beat old 19. Yeah. Like give you a.

Lia Lamela (00:27:33) - Break, man.

Trish Conville (00:27:35) - What is this you actually sending me? Like then he goes out and he goes to the Home Depot. Comes back with a Milwaukee. You're like, thank you. Yes. Yeah, but everybody needs to make. That was something that was told to me a long time ago by a very loved person in my life and local. And he's like, you have to make your own conditions.

Lia Lamela (00:27:55) - Yes, yes.

Trish Conville (00:27:56) - And the more people that go out there and make their own conditions and stand by that, the better it's going to get taken up to, you know. Yeah, it's not going to get better.

Lia Lamela (00:28:10) - No. And this is the crazy thing. They think that if they comply that they are somehow going to be kept or guaranteed a job. It's like, no, you're used like a number, dude. Get it through your thick skull by you lowering your standards and lowering your value. You're only helping them and hurting yourself and hurting your brothers and your sisters because you are bringing down the standard of the environment that we're going to be working in, of our salaries on what we are going to be able to do successfully.

Lia Lamela (00:28:42) - Like if you want a good job, provide good tools, demand good tools. We have fucking bad ass sick tools nowadays. These contractors, these companies, they're billion dollar companies. Like come on, like.

Trish Conville (00:28:57) - Into the contract. Like it's bit in right. Going to need certain things and. Yeah. And then there's times you get some some stuff you're just like okay. Yeah. Just got. Just got a deal. Oh, we got to go down to the other job and get it all for their job, okay? You know, no big deal. You're in a van. It's part of the field trip. And you get the big bender, the hydraulic bender for your four inch pipe, and you load it up, and you get the gang box, and it's a whole day procedure, and then it comes back and it's like, okay, you know, that's all right. But they're not expecting you to use some janky piece of equipment that's going to blow up on you. Right.

Trish Conville (00:29:39) - So it's I think it's just a different mental process of it. It's what your beliefs are. And some people, you know, misery loves company.

Lia Lamela (00:29:51) - Oh, yeah. Man.

Trish Conville (00:29:52) - You just got to say, hey, this is what I want, I need blah blah, blah. Like, that's the first thing I get on site is a person might take a couple days, I get it. And in that respect, my form is like generally most Foreman's will be like, you can get in your car, go to whatever place has a restroom, and you use that as a job. You need to go, you go because this is what is is in your contract. You're supposed to get on as a woman, right?

Lia Lamela (00:30:23) - A portion that should just be for female. It should be larger than a regular porta John, and we should have a way to wash our hands. Everything is internal for us. We have bodily functions where we need to touch. In those areas we have a higher risk of infection, like why am I not entitled to cleanliness? My hair used to.

Trish Conville (00:30:49) - Be much longer when I first started and I'd have a big long braid. Well, you're squatting over it. Yeah, right. You're great. Goes in that damn disgusting urinal. Your pants are down around your ankles, laying in all the pits that these guys can't seem to hit the their aim. So it's like this at home.

Lia Lamela (00:31:12) - Yeah, right. That's the thing. Like, even because I've had guys tell me, well, I have to sit down to number two and stuff. And I was like, yes, but you don't have any exposed openings. Everything is external and you have skin to protect you from anything. Splashing up like nothing on you could potentially get an infection or like any kind of real issue. And the majority of the time, what are you guys doing? You're unzipping. That's what you're doing the majority of the time we don't have that option. Not ever.

Trish Conville (00:31:49) - So I even had a foreman hook up the poor jaw with heat because we're brought a heater in there and stuff like that for both of our male males and females.

Lia Lamela (00:31:59) - The I'm jealous of your local man. When you were telling me about your local, I was like, that's a union. That's a fucking union right there. Like, you've got good people. You've got people that understand the value of community and coming together. The beautiful thing about social media is that we can connect and reach people. And if you're trying to talk about subjects that guess what the majority of society has no clue about, like it has no clue how important it is, how a lot of skilled trades are like secret heroes behind the scenes like this is behind the scenes of how our civilization works. It's your skilled trades. Also, they have no concept of we've lost the love of building with hands and mind because so many of us are in front of a computer or in an office all day. A lot of people don't even know what it's like to build something. They've never built something from the ground up. So if you're not sharing and talking about it and having these conversations and, you know, giving these trade tales, you're not going to know what you don't know, right? A lot of these people in skilled trades are brilliant.

Lia Lamela (00:33:10) - Yes. They're brilliant, they're creative. They're problem solvers. The stuff I have seen some of these guys do, I am just, wow, you are the living superhero. Like, holy shit, you move like a cat. The tools are an extension of your body. You're freaking incredible. How did you even think to do that? To make that work? Like it's that side of the box. Like it's just really amazing. And someone that's bringing that kind of value should be given proper compensation for that type of work and for what they are bringing to their communities. Because I know that you haven't been on a plane, but I've I've been to third world countries. I know what it's like to to live without water and electric. And I said this before, it brings out the worst of humanity when real poverty. You've ever had the unfortunate experience of living without running water or electric. We are not our best selves under those circumstances because you break down to survival, not thriving, surviving. And by having skilled trades, building these beautiful homes and having these amazing environments and electrical and internet and fresh water and sewer systems and protecting the environment, a lot of skilled trades have so many things in place to protect our environment that we're completely unaware of.

Lia Lamela (00:34:42) - Yeah, that's when humanity can really thrive. The best parts of us come out when we're not solely focused on survival.

Trish Conville (00:34:52) - And you wonder, you ask why these people would be against this or against that. It's like it's almost survival. Well, we can't have more people knowing about the trades because then they'll have more people and then then won't have a job. And then, you know, like there's there's enough money in the world. I work. Oh yes. And just because you want to speak up and say, hey, we deserve this, I think a lot of people just think, oh, you're a construction worker. You're you're nothing but a dredge. Just because somebody is doing grunt work doesn't make them any less of a person, doesn't mean they shouldn't have handwashing station. Right? Days have gone. When the coal miners had to eat the little pasties and they throw the crust away because they have filthy, dirty hands and you don't eat the whole sandwich. That's why they had the big crust on the end of it.

Trish Conville (00:35:40) - So you can just throw that away. You're covered in this dirt and it doesn't have to be like that anymore. And am I'm very, very blessed in my local. You are one of my one of my other amazing foremen. He was just a godsend. He gave us bumper stickers a lot of times, you see. Yeah, proud to be union, blah blah blah, proud, proud, proud, he said. This one said thankful to be union. Oh yeah. Right on man. That's yes it's I'm grateful for it. I'm just want to point.

Lia Lamela (00:36:13) - Out to everyone that this is a local in new Jersey. That's right. New Jersey, where I was born and raised. Maybe I need to go back home. Here's the girls. Yes, Jersey power, because everybody makes fun of dirty Jersey, right? With this little state, just like northern Jersey isn't that party. You know, you get more beauty when you go down to the shore in those areas. But even our water isn't like what you see in North Carolina, South Carolina or Florida or even in Cali.

Lia Lamela (00:36:50) - Right? It's it's a little dingy. It's a little. So it's not as clear, but it's still there are spots in new Jersey that are absolutely beautiful. Of course, I'm prejudiced because I grew up there. Yeah. And I'm just very proud to hear of this amazing local in the state that I grew up in. What a beautiful community of electricians there are. That's an absolutely fantastic, like really special because it's not everywhere. It's not.

Trish Conville (00:37:19) - It's not. And I have not experienced that. I've heard it. You know, we got travelers that come in and a lot of travelers come up to us because they're locals are crap. Yeah. And they know that this is where the money's going to be made, because I work in those not so nice and territorial Hudson, Bergen and Essex counties. So you're riding along the Hudson. You know, there's some of the areas that are really, really pretty, but for the most part industrial, right?

Lia Lamela (00:37:52) - Dank and smelly and yes, oh, there's.

Trish Conville (00:37:55) - Times where you're just, you know, it's garbage.

Lia Lamela (00:37:58) - It smells like garbage.

Trish Conville (00:37:59) - Well, we have all those and they have the poo pits and plants and anything that you can imagine is pretty disgusting in our territory for the most part.

Lia Lamela (00:38:10) - But that but.

Trish Conville (00:38:11) - That's where the money is, I think out of most of the locals, we are a pretty strong local and pretty tight and I love that. The great feeling. But I'm still like that little bitty squeaky wheel on a daily basis. Yeah.

Lia Lamela (00:38:29) - Let's make it even better.

Trish Conville (00:38:31) - Yeah. And and I'm also blessed because things always work out for me. But there's going to be haters no matter where you go. Right. And and you got to have a thick skin. And as much as I'm going to try to be compassionate, understanding good sister my local, you're going to run up against people that they're just stuck. Yes. They're just they're not happy. Yeah. They're not happy. Nobody else needs to be happy.

Lia Lamela (00:39:00) - I give them a lot of grace because you want to help them.

Lia Lamela (00:39:04) - But you you can't help someone climb out of the hole they dug themselves.

Trish Conville (00:39:10) - Yeah. You can't help those who don't want to be helped. Right. And that goes for a lot of things. So what I realize and understanding though, people might think I'm silly, quirky or whatever on the job when I'm building little cardboard house for myself because it's freezing cold, mentally moving task where, you know, the heat's in the tools, oh well, what I'm doing, you know this. Yeah. Generate.

Lia Lamela (00:39:36) - Right, right.

Trish Conville (00:39:37) - You kind of have to be the change you want to see in the world, right? You know, Gandhi thinks of that one. Be the change you want to see in the world. So you have to be your own cheerleader. You got to fight for the things that you want, and eventually that'll spread out to others. Or, you know, when you're in the grace of a good foreman goes a little bit beyond. And just make sure that you have nice things.

Trish Conville (00:40:05) - You know, we had one that we'd have to set up our tent or Big Easy up stake it in the ground. We had trunks. People had different gang boxes and stuff. We had our chairs, we had tables and everything. And this is all set up outside under some trees. And every morning we go there, we set it up, then we go in. We'd say we're working in a solar field, not wow. Yeah. So we provide ourselves with shelter. He had hand-washing stations there for us. He made sure somebody bring in breakfast, you know, like bring in really crazy lunches every so often. They'd have it. It was it was just really, really great. And that was just people looking out for themselves and saying, this is this is, you know, we can do this, right? Right. You know, and within the construct of still being on a job site. Yeah, it's something we're in our chairs and we're having this amazing lunch and camaraderie and, and it was just, you know, it was just it's great.

Trish Conville (00:41:07) - Those are the jobs I've been blessed to be on. Even when it's the temperatures horrendous or it's a blizzard. We are still out there together. Watching out for each other, and it's great.

Lia Lamela (00:41:21) - Yeah, yeah. And you build amazing things that way. That's that's when you see real craftsmen and craftsmen, when you set up conditions for success. That's what it is.

Trish Conville (00:41:35) - Yeah, that's a huge part of it. And you get a lot of people in there that know it, right? We usually have a good amount of work if the conditions aren't right. And if you're penalized for making your own good conditions, then fine. I don't need to work on your job. I can work on another job. Yes. What? I can also do stuff on my own. And it turned out that this whole union thing got totally micromanaged. We became completely corporate as it's slowly becoming, it's changed a lot in just the 18 years that I've been in it. Right? People are like, oh, you're 52.

Trish Conville (00:42:15) - What, are you going to start all over it? You goddamn skippy.

Lia Lamela (00:42:19) - This is another thing that is amazing about construction, careers and skilled trades. As an electrician, you could literally get a job anywhere doing anything. Regarding electrical work, you could work down at a dock doing electrical for the dock. You could do electrical for boats. You could do electrical with homes work. Yeah, but but this is beautiful because you have that independence. You have that freedom. And a lot of people don't understand that. Is it a huge advantage within construction careers that you might not necessarily see in other careers? Yeah.

Trish Conville (00:43:00) - Yeah. I can go out on my own doing whatever I need to do. Like it. I think it gives you a feeling of accomplishment and the feeling of understanding, like working in the trades, like realizing, I mean, I saw many women be like, oh, I could never do that.

Speaker 3 (00:43:16) - Yeah, yeah. Yes you can. I mean.

Trish Conville (00:43:19) - You might not want to pee in frozen blue water under, you know, 20 degrees below and you're in a box, you know.

Trish Conville (00:43:30) - Right. It sucks. Yeah, that part sucks. I'll give it to you. That, that'll that'll definitely keep a lot of women out of that. But that's a rarity. You know, for the most part working and doing these things. You see your potential, you see what you can accomplish. And you're like, you know, yes, I can do anything. I am unstoppable. If I can do this, I can do anything. And maybe not everybody sees that, but think being a woman coming into that type of world, I see that I can do anything. And it's a really it's a phenomenal feeling and I'm blessed.

Lia Lamela (00:44:07) - Trish, you didn't start off in the electrical field right. Like your journey. So how did we get to be an electrician. Where did we begin.

Trish Conville (00:44:18) - At my family table with my brother in law who's a union carpenter okay. And my world pretty much. I've worked. I did years and years in veterinary medicine, almost 20 years of veterinary medicine, and it was great.

Trish Conville (00:44:36) - But it's a job that you do, for the love of it. Yes. Not for the money. Right. So now I'm working two, three jobs or whatever, double shifts on that job, and I'm still not even clearing a dead 40 in this world, you know. Yeah. So did that. I also was doing I was a service writer in dealerships. So that's my mechanical side that came out because I understand how things work. So for me to be able to help you get your vehicle fixed, confidently talk to you about that. Because I'm a gearhead, I'm always I was always in the garage, so I wanted to see how I was inside. So those are the two things I was doing. But neither of really brought in the money, especially the vet stuff that I love. So one time we were sitting there at the table and my brother in law goes to me. He goes, well, why don't you get involved with the trades? He's like, we've got girls in our local.

Trish Conville (00:45:29) - He's like, you know what? Why don't you go become an electrician? You're smarter and they make more money and. Okay, I love it. Time. I had a boyfriend who's dad was a local electrician, and I could see the lifestyle that having that career provided. Yes. And I want him. Really? It's like. Yeah. He's like, they make me go, go, go do that. I'm like, all right, so. Where the local one was, I didn't know if I was going to like doing what I was doing. So I didn't go to local three. That was the only one I knew of. There's a lot of people that I knew that local three was a thing heard. I come from Blue Collar. My father was a plumber, nonunion, so I could see what that lifestyle looked like. And the money. And it wasn't that much, you know, we were lower middle class, I would say. So I'm like, all right. And I went in, I filled out the paperwork.

Trish Conville (00:46:34) - Well, then you got to go and take your tests, reading and comprehension. Well, you know, I'd say, but being don't want to be like a sexist thing, but being a girl, I kind of have a nice little I get that end of it. Yeah. So aced the reading and comprehension English stuff. And then you had to go in for a interview with some contractors and the people on the board and everything like that, and that was really interesting. And because they see you come in and I'm looking girl, that's super girly because I never really am super girly.

Lia Lamela (00:47:12) - But my impression of you is super feminine. When I first met you, I got this serenity feeling. You remind me the mother of the earth. Like very just in tune with nature, like a fairy. Like these are the things that come to my mind when I look at you. With your beautiful curls and soft waves and bright smile. And you're petite. And I get femininity when I look at you.

Lia Lamela (00:47:39) - And my impression of you is, like, very soft and warm and welcoming.

Trish Conville (00:47:44) - Thank you. That is a large part of who I am. That I am the child of the earth. You know, I'm a Pisces, you know. And none of you figured it out by now. You know, I'm very woowoo, you know, Reiki master. Yes, Sardesai. Yeah. So I have that whole other other side to me with that. So, you know, and have, like a tailored shirt on, button down shirt and a long gray. With my think. I had my combat boots on though, because I usually wear them with my. Little shit kicker in there.

Lia Lamela (00:48:26) - Yeah, there you go. It's a balance. Yes.

Trish Conville (00:48:30) - And that was one of the guys, one of the contractors old school and go do a terrible accent. But he was like, you know, you're going to have to put on their boots and then come on and get dirty and was like, yeah, yeah.

Trish Conville (00:48:47) - I said, so did you read my resume, my application? And he's like, yeah, yeah. Did he's like I said, you know, the part that says veterinary technician. Yeah. He's like, oh, he was like, yeah, you get to play with the puppies. And the kitty got no great necrotic bowels off of Grace at 630 in the morning. Yeah. Rottweiler snapping at my face while I'm holding him to a table. I said mud would be a great improvement. He was like, yeah, she's good, she's good. She can go. She'll make it.

Lia Lamela (00:49:27) - Yes, yes. Well, see, that reminds me of when I first started in the trades. I would have guys say, are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure? No, I'm just waiting for my application at McDonald's to go through. Yeah, well, what the fuck? No. I'm here. What? To look at the pretty lights. Like, why do you think I'm here?

Trish Conville (00:49:47) - Yeah, here you are.

Trish Conville (00:49:48) - Beautiful woman sitting there going, yes, I'm capable, you know, and it's just, it's funny because. And I think when I was coming into, you still had a lot of the old time mentality.

Lia Lamela (00:50:01) - Yes.

Trish Conville (00:50:02) - That comes into play. It's now moving out. Yes. It's weird. You really see a difference in the generations. Yes. And you don't generally have too many younger guys coming into the yards. We're all, we call it the society because we're all like 5050 plus and. All right, I gotta pull this goddamn fucking cable. Holy crap. Yeah, but you.

Lia Lamela (00:50:30) - Guys are in amazing shape. You look beautiful. Like. Yeah. It's like because you're using your body.

Trish Conville (00:50:36) - I mean, look at you, like. Look like I don't need to go to the gym, right? You go to work. Fantastic. And you know, I have another girlfriend. She does a whole full makeup, and she always smells really good. Yeah, I can't put that much effort in, you know? Praise the babushka.

Trish Conville (00:50:56) - Yeah, I'm going in. You know, you to be like that, you know? Got a farm to run when I get back. But it's it's just it's comical. You do have that. But the younger guys have to say I had one recently who? He was so respectful and so protective. I'm not a over the top machismo like get out of my face way, but like a bunch of them were getting to go do and I'll we'll say little training. Each contractor usually wants you trained up in their insurance contracting their, their particular class. And everybody was going and I didn't get asked yet. And I'm one who actually holds the ability to do it. Like I know how to run the level right. And I have the other credentials to prove it. And I was like, all right, sometimes my nose gets a little put out of joint because I'm a woman driver. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Watch out. I'm the only one also who drives stick. And when there's the old beat up truck, you know, and nobody could do it because they don't have just.

Trish Conville (00:52:07) - But he said he's like, listen. He's like you're just go with me. We're you know, we'll just go sit in. And when the guy was like, oh, the teacher said, oh, there's another pair. He's like, yeah, yeah. She was signed in like just he's like, yeah, you're coming in with me and like, thanks man. Oh my. That was having my back. Yes. And it was really, really nice. He was a really sweet kid. And you don't usually you're seeing that more now the the men that are there, there's some old timers that are phenomenal as well. There's guys my age are cool as hell and but it's a younger generation that's coming in that is just, I guess, more accepting, more receptive and think we might start seeing that shift because they are pushing for the change of conditions.

Lia Lamela (00:52:54) - Yes, they're more open minded.

Trish Conville (00:52:56) - I think maybe that's it. Yeah.

Lia Lamela (00:52:58) - It's just more willing to look at things from many different points of view and be receptive to different ideas and collaboration and what that could bring.

Lia Lamela (00:53:09) - So.

Trish Conville (00:53:09) - Right, right. And that's huge and that's huge and that's usually the biggest. Block on any job. Is the egos getting in the way? Yeah. I mean, sometimes I get a little pissy and you don't want me to get the momma voice out, you know, and have to yell across something like, everybody can steps. Like when I have to yell across somewhere and people are like, oh my God, thought my mother was going to throw a shoe at me or something. So it's I really would like to see how it plays out.

Lia Lamela (00:53:46) - Yeah. Excited.

Trish Conville (00:53:47) - You're seeing a shift and I hope more people. And you doing this, you doing these podcasts, you bring it out to the forefront of showing people, hey, listen, it's a good deal.

Lia Lamela (00:54:00) - So because we are in construction careers. What tool is in your tool belt? What's something you've learned throughout your experience in life, throughout your journey that you bring with you every day that has helped you reach your goals?

Trish Conville (00:54:17) - Hmm, that's a good one.

Trish Conville (00:54:19) - There's a lot like five bags worth. So as far as just being me, oh, just honestly being who I truly am, bringing that to the table is something that everybody has a spot, everybody has a place, and everybody has a job and a purpose. And me being who I am and honoring that and bringing that to the table. But that's what I'm there for. That's what I'm supposed to be there for. Being tactful when talking with people, it really is learning how to be relational with people, because you deal with so many different personalities and so much that that goes on to get a job done, you need to work together. Yes, it does it. One person is not going to do this job and to be open to that, you know that we need to work together and it'll get done. It'll get done. It all gets. It all gets done. The best thing I ever heard from an old timer. Because sometimes you go in, you're just not in the right space in your head.

Trish Conville (00:55:27) - And he said, listen, he saw I was having, you know, struggling with something. He goes, you can start your day over at any time. I love that. That's great. Right? You can just make a mental thought process to yourself like, okay that's done. Let next let's start over. Let's let's do this again. Reset.

Lia Lamela (00:55:52) - Thank you so much Trish. Thank you. This was amazing. Absolutely amazing. So much fun. Thank you so much for doing this. Thank you for joining us. If you felt a spark in today's episode I.

Speaker 4 (00:56:06) - Invite you to write a review. I'd love to hear what lit you up, take what resonates with you, and if you'd like to hear more of the spiky life, please subscribe, like, follow and share. Until next time, create the sparks in your life.

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