Coming Out Blue Collar (Ep. 242)

John Willenborg is a welder. He’s also a few other things, including a husband, a father, and a CEO, but mostly, he’s a guy whose true purpose came into focus the day he started bending metal. Today, John runs a small but very disruptive company called Owl Van Engineering that generates tens of millions of dollars every year fabricating bike racks, bike carriers, and a variety of other devices that improve the utility of Sprinter Vans. Currently, John employs half-a-dozen welders, all of whom make over six-figures. If he could, he’d hire six more tomorrow, because his business is positively booming. But John can’t hire those welders. Why? In short, because most people have no idea how far a welder can go in 2022. Most people still believe the myths and misperceptions that surround the skilled trades, and that has become, in my opinion, nothing short of a national scandal. Because those myths and misperceptions are the only thing separating countless people from a lucrative and worthwhile career.

If you have a kid or a grandkid, or a niece or a nephew, or a neighbor or a friend who is trying to decide what to do for a living, I strongly encourage you to listen to my conversation with John. It’s important for lots of reasons, mostly, because John could have done anything. Literally, the world was his oyster. He grew up in Silicon Valley, attended a great school, and was given a genuine opportunity to pursue any vocation he desired. And what did he choose? He chose to weld. And as you’ll hear, it was a million-dollar choice. The whole conversation is here. Short clip below.

P.S. Speaking of a million dollars, mikeroweWORKS is currently awarding a million dollars in work-ethic scholarships to anyone looking to master a skill that’s in demand. Like John, we’re looking for people want to weld, among other things.