“Do your best even if no one is watching.”
During a recent site visit of a Whole Foods being built in Lincoln, Neb., Willmar Electric Service’s Foreman Luke Fosket showed me how complex the building process can be. After having the opportunity to talk with Luke about his career and experience in the industry, it’s clear his knowledge extends beyond the jobsite. In the Q&A below, Luke shared with me a look into his life and what it takes to be successful in construction.
Q1: How did you begin your career in construction?
Luke: “After high school I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. I thought about what I like to do and realized I liked working with my hands. I wanted to do something that challenged me, so I decided to enroll in electrical classes at the community college.”
Q2: What path did you take to become a foreman?
Luke: “I became a foreman after I completed my four years of apprenticeship. We happened to get a small remodel job of a True Value. They offered it to me and I accepted it, but to get to that point I worked hard and learned from the foreman that I worked for and learned from their mistakes and accomplishments. I’m still learning every day to become a better foreman.”
Q3: What skills do you think are the most important to complete your job every day?
Luke: “Well, the first thing is patience with people, especially my coworkers and other trades. Everyone has different ways of learning and you just have to find that way and help them. You also have to be good at communicating. There is a lot of planning involved between the trades and a lot of obstacles to overcome on a jobsite. Not everything comes together like it does on paper.”
Q4: What is the most interesting project you have worked on and why?
Luke: “The most interesting job to me was when I was a second-year apprentice and worked on a Salt Valley generating plant. Everything was new to me and I learned a lot in the year and a half I was there. There were so many things going on—big equipment and a lot of people—but it was fun to do. I was only 21 years old and it was fun to see that place come together.”
“The most memorable job would be the Nebraska State Fair. It was the worst working conditions I have ever been in. In the winter it was bitter cold and we would bend pipe in snow drifts and in the spring time the building I was doing was flooded. It was a fast-paced job and we had a short deadline, but the best part about it was that we got it done on time and it looked good.”
Q5: What is most challenging about your job?
Luke: “The most challenging part about my job is getting the job done on time and within budget. You start seeing all of the numbers behind the job. As an apprentice you just show up for work and do your thing. You don’t worry about time restraints and money. But when you are a foreman you have to know what’s going on everywhere all the time.”
What is your favorite part of the job?
Luke: “My absolute favorite thing about my job is to see a job come together and see the end result and making the customer happy with the end product. That is the most satisfying thing about my job. All the hard work and time you put into it show at the end.”
Q6: What advice would you give to someone entering the industry or considering a career in construction?
Luke: “Work hard and show up on time. Do your best even if no one is watching; the foreman will notice. You will pick it up over time so don’t get frustrated over something you can’t do. You will learn it and you will become faster and more efficient at it as long as you keep at it. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’d rather take time out of my day to answer some questions than have someone do a job completely wrong.”