Article | January 24, 2024
Employee Highlight: Andrew Salvail
Getting to Know Andrew Salvail and His Path to Apprenticeship
Each of us can identify those fork-in-the-road moments when we made a decision that shaped the rest of our future. Looking back to 2018, Andrew Salvail might say that it was the conversations with his cousin that led him to make one of those life decisions. At the time, Andrew was taking college courses and working but wasn’t certain where it was headed. His cousin, who had made a successful career for himself in the trades, encouraged Andrew to consider joining the trades and specifically the field of Test and Balance (TAB). It didn’t take much investigating for Andrew to confirm his interest and he signed onto the apprenticeship program for TAB with SMW Local 104.
In December 2018 Andrew began inquiring with companies who were looking to hire an apprentice. Up in Oregon on vacation, he got a call from his cousin that the TAB group at Western Allied Mechanical might be hiring. With much anticipation he hurried down on a Monday morning and dropped off all his information. Fortunately, he received a call back from Superintendent Scott Kirkpatrick which led to Andrews hiring in January 2019. (Don’t we all need someone in our lives like Andrew’s cousin!)
Looking back to his early experiences in the TAB group, Andrew recalled, “When I started here, I was fully green. I worked with Aaron Stender, Anthony Escobedo and Thero Blank. From the first time I began working with them they were teaching me how to get deeper into whatever we were doing. They passed down so much knowledge. All three were super supportive and mentoring. If I had questions, I wasn’t afraid to ask. I am really grateful to all three of them. “
Andrew draws job satisfaction from helping labs function properly for our clients. He says, “It feels good to know that you put a good product out there, and it is going to benefit others.” One of his favorite work projects was the Drop Box buildings in San Francisco, right down the street from the Chase Center. “It was my first year, and it was a big project with all different systems. The sheer quantity of the work was intimidating. There were 4 interconnected buildings, two of them were 12 stories and the other two were 6 stories tall. We had over 30 floors, but we got all that balanced working there working for about 7-8 months. The way it all came together was amazing.”
Personally, Andrew is enjoying pet ownership since he and his girlfriend went to a shelter to adopt a cat. They identified a cat they both enjoyed, but before they left the center, the staff explained how this cat had a sibling at the shelter who he was closely bonded. Although they walked in that day to adopt one cat, they left with two! Today they couldn’t be happier with their tuxedo cat named Socks and his calico sister named Sandy.
When he is not watching the cats zoom around the house, he might be watching cars zoom around the track. Back when COVID hit he became reacquainted with watching the Formula 1 racing on TV and now he is hooked. He says, “Come to find out Randy Freitas is a huge fan too, so now we always talk after the race.” Although some races are only broadcast as early as 5 or 6 am on a Sunday he is faithful to get up and watch them with a morning cup of coffee.
Andrew has entered his fifth and final year of his apprenticeship program and looks forward to becoming a Journeyman in 2024. Today, he has a greater understanding of the expanse of this field and how there is always so much more to learn. He appreciates the opportunities where he can work alongside the Startup and Controls as well as the TAB team, to increase his training toward becoming a full mechanical contractor. His Superintendent Scott Kirkpatrick added, “Andrew is the definition of teamwork. He is a hard worker and is willing to help with any facet of the SCBC department. From helping develop our new AirNAB software, assisting with prestart up and controls, to TAB and smoke control. He is a true homegrown hybrid.” Looking toward the future, Andrew sees many options for growth in this field and is so glad to be working at Western Allied Mechanical.
About Western Allied Mechanical
Western Allied Mechanical stands on the cutting edge of HVAC system design and operation. We combine innovative thinking and technologies with intricate engineering to create, build and maintain comfortable, energy-efficient environments.