Build the Lifestyle You Deserve: HVAC Tech Achieves 0 Student Loan Debt
At the early age of 4, I was inspired by my father to consider a career in construction. I watched as he worked in the HVAC industry and made improvements around the house. We were close. I looked to him for strength, guidance and leadership. He encouraged me to join the Boy Scouts, so I could dive deeper into hands-on learning. The program helped me build self-confidence, reinforced ethical standards, inspired me to try new things, and serve others. It was a great experience. My deepest regret is never following through to become an Eagle Scout. So much so that I tattooed the Boy Scouts of America emblem on my forearm as a reminder to follow through with what I set out to do in life.
As I got older, hands-on learning came easier to me, so I started exploring careers in construction. The goals I set out to achieve for myself were to acquire zero student loan debt, purchase a motorcycle and my first home. I chose the HVAC trade and started working right away; taking classes in the evenings and earning a paycheck during the day. My first big purchase was my motorcycle. Soon after I joined a family organization called, “Hartwood Militia.” Their purpose is brotherhood, family, dedication and loyalty to the constitution and my home state of Virginia. We meet often traveling across the state and country actively participating in charity rides that support our wounded service men and women, less fortunate children and the eradication of drugs that plague communities.
As I pushed forward in my career as an HVAC Technician it continued to pay off. The trade allowed me to travel the world for several years because my skills were transferable. At the young age of 25, I was able to fulfill my third goal and purchase my first home. Choosing construction has allowed me to support my wife and two children off of one income. Instead of the college route, I took the technical trade path which led me to become financially stable at a young age.
Life wasn’t always stable, however. In late 2018, tragedy hit my family. My spunky little niece, Macie, lost her life while playing on the playground at 3 years old. My eldest sister launched a Facebook group called, “Hearts for Macie.”
The idea of the group is to take a purple heart with you in your everyday travels. Then snap a photo of the moments that feel special to you and share them with the group. The group has grown to over 1,700 members that share her spirit and love for the world.
Whether it’s the Boys Scouts of America, Hartwood Militia or Hearts for Macie, participating in causes that are dear to my heart provides a necessary and humbling experience. That’s why I chose to work for a company that makes corporate social responsibility part of their business platform. Shapiro & Duncan partners with over 40 non-profits a year.
They make sure their employees are encouraged and supported in all facets of community and industry outreach.
Joining the construction industry has been financially rewarding, but finding a company whose personal values match my own makes the work more gratifying.