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Adam Haywood, electrical foreman and safety officer at Tewksbury, Massachusetts–based Premier Power LLC, was introduced to construction at an early age. His father worked for the phone company, and Haywood would accompany him on odd jobs, learning to love working with his hands. But his true affinity for the electrical field wouldn’t come until high school, when Haywood enrolled in technical school. 

“Electrical was a big unknown,” Haywood says. “I didn’t know how it worked and it intrigued me. So, I decided that was a path I wanted to follow.” 
Like many young people, he took a small detour before settling on his true calling. “I actually went there wanting to do culinary,” Haywood says. “But after going through that for a week, I decided I wanted no part of that at all. I liked cooking with my mom and my grandma, but I didn’t like doing it as a living and on a large scale.”

Luckily, trade students try each shop for a week before making a final choice, so Haywood knew that electrical was the one. “It was fascinating to me how you could take this invisible energy and do stuff with it,” he says. “So I followed that.” 

Technical school was an influence on Haywood in other ways as well. “You touch a little bit of everything,” Haywood says. “Now, being a homeowner, I know how to do all that—masonry; I can fix a stair; I can fix a cabinet; I can change my own oil in the car and a flat tire. You learn those life lessons.”
Spoken exactly like someone who’s been named ABC’s 2022 Craft Professional of the Year.

KIDS IN AMERICA

Now a teacher at that same school (“When the opportunity came to go back to my own school and teach, it was a no-brainer,” he says), Haywood believes that vocational, technical and trades education is the future. “I don’t want people to feel like it’s a lesser choice to go to a trade school,” he says. “It’s a 100% valid career path.” 

In addition, it’s critical for students to believe that, Haywood says, because the trades have a serious shortage. “In Boston, the average age of a licensed electrician is 65 years old,” he says. “That’s not going to last very long. Where are we going to be at when we have no one that does it anymore?”

To be part of the solution, he teaches two nights per week for three hours each, so apprentice-level electricians can get their licenses. Haywood also ran and won a seat on his children’s school council. He is currently working on a program to pair the local trade school with the elementary, so kids can be introduced to the trades at the earliest possible moment. “It’s very important to get the next up-and-coming group,” Haywood says. “My kids will go to a technical school, and they’ll get a license, so they’re covered forever. And if they decide they want to go to college after that, they’re welcome to.” Haywood’s oldest son, in fact, is currently a junior in the electrical program at the local vocational school.

Haywood himself graduated high school at age 17 and watched his friends head to college; meanwhile, he had already begun getting hours for a license and earning money on jobs during his senior year. With his career already in front of him, Haywood “kept going and going—any chance to work, I’d work any night, any weekend” to get his hours. At 19, he was a fully licensed electrician running his own crews. “I was running work, building supermarkets, shopping malls and office buildings,” Haywood says. 

But he didn’t stop there. Twenty years after achieving his journeyman’s license, Haywood worked to get his master’s license. It was while taking those courses that he was approached to become a teacher himself—and added a teaching license to his resume. “The only reason I know anything is because people took the time to show me,” Haywood says. “I feel it’s almost my duty to pass it along to the younger generation that, ‘Hey, I didn’t know anything either.’”

IT’S A LIFESTYLE

To anyone considering a career in construction, Haywood says, simply: “Do it. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make.”

To his colleagues across the industry, he urges them to make room for newcomers. “We need to change our attitudes as leaders—humble yourselves a little bit,” Haywood says. “Try and remember back to your first day in the trades. Remember that when we started, we didn’t know anything either. So, let’s give these guys a chance, because we need them to grow, and we need them to be the leaders of the future going forward.”

Student. Teacher. Full-time employee. Husband and father. Craft Professional of the Year. Does Haywood ever stop? “No, I don’t,” he says. “I go 100 miles per hour all the time. I cannot sit still. My wife can’t stand it. ‘Will you sit down?’ ‘No, stuff to do.’”

Haywood even keeps a notepad beside his bed in case it happens—and it often does—that he continues to work in his sleep. “I’ll wake up at two o’clock in the morning with an idea and jot it down so I can think about it again,” he says. “It’s not a career; it’s a lifestyle.”

A full plate isn’t a burden, however. Haywood views his life and career as “the American Dream.” He says: “Whether it’s working on a project at home or getting stuff ready for class or planning out my next job, you’re responsible for yourself. And if you put your head down and you hammer, you can be on top of the world.”

“I honestly love what I do and the company I work for, and when you love what you are doing it’s easy,” he adds. 

His achievement as Craft Professional of the Year is just one stop on Haywood’s career track. Although he didn’t expect the award—“Who am I? I’m just a guy. I don’t consider myself someone special. I’m just out there doing what I do. To be recognized and awarded for it is humbling,” he says—Haywood certainly isn’t packing it in now that he’s garnered industry recognition.

“The day is never done,” he says. “Learn something new every day. That goes for every guy on the job, myself included. To me, it’s all about learning, and it doesn’t have to be electrical. We’re privy to so much of building a building, and the learning opportunities are endless.” 

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