Home » Tales from the Field – The Journey to Journeyman


My name is Kyle Shatzer and I work for Hawkins Electric Service Inc. I chose the electrical path for a couple of reasons. I graduated high school in 2013 and did not know exactly what I wanted to do in the future, so of course I did as any other 18 year old would do leaving high school and went to a community college in Columbia called HCC. After a full year in school I easily recognized that it was just not for me at the time.

Though it was not what my father wanted for me, I asked him if I could start working for him instead of attending college.

 My father’s name is Eric Shatzer and he is the owner of Hawkins Electric. Before my dad decided to run the company, my grandfather actually owned the business, so it has been in the family for a good amount of time. It being a family business is another reason why I chose to go down the path I did. I figured that I would give it a shot in hopes of keeping it family owned. Finally, I made this choice to get amazing an education in commercial and residential electrical work; in this way I could eventually teach and give back to the generation of our era. Giving back to people would mean a lot to me and I will do anything to make sure that it happens. My grandfather taught my Dad to be a leader and not a follower so that is exactly what I push to do.

The benefits of being enrolled in an apprenticeship program for the electrical field are all amazing. Most companies take the time and money to actually pay for your schooling and I know at Hawkins they do this upfront depending on when you get hired. My company is non-union. We are actually part of the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC). Another perk of the apprenticeship is you get credits out of AU so if you decide to go back to school searching for a higher education these credits can be used. There is no issue doing electrical work. Yes the starting pay is somewhat low, but in IEC schooling every 1000 hours your company compliments you with a raise. Trust me, if you just pay attention in class and to whoever you are working under, you will learn everything that you need to know.

Many people don’t comprehend that paying attention to these people will actually get you a long way in the electrical field. I am going into my fourth year of school and the most important thing I have learned so far is that paying attention in class can be difficult at times but it will be worth it in the long run. Even if you are a 1st or 2nd year apprentice and still using a broom to sweep the floor or lugging around material, you always have to remember that your time and pay is the same as everyone else’s so do not let the busy work get to you and give up. My suggestion for these kinds of people in the field is to ask a foreman for some more hands-on electrical work that way they can see you are willing to learn and tackling leadership.

This year I look forward to getting ready for graduation as it slowly creeps up, getting my Journeyman card for most counties in the DMV, and hopefully getting back out into the field to start running work. Expectedly the following year I will be teaching for the IEC and giving back to people what I was given for many years.

When I graduate I plan on doing whatever it takes to keep moving up in the company and eventually run the business, keeping the family name alive. All I ever wanted to do was follow in my father’s footsteps and that’s exactly the path I am on right now. I never planned on being where I am today, going down the path I did, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world today because it was the best decision I have ever made. I want to see students following their dreams and never giving up the opportunity for success that this field has to offer.

Today is the time for the millennial to grow and exceed all expectations set by the previous generation.

– Kyle Shatzer      
Year 4 IEC Chesapeake Apprentice/ Hawkins Electric