Making a Career of It


Joseph Szabo

Journeyman – Carpenters Local Union 279

Age: 36

Recent Employers: WD Installations, Inc.

Recent Projects: Lasdon Park main house, a historic Colonial-style home. Good Samaritan Hospital and Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital.

Positions & Job Titles: Project Manager/General Foreman/Finishing Carpenter

Education, Training, Licenses/Certification: High School, 10-Hour OSHA, 30-Hour OSHA, 8-Hour Drug/Awareness, SST Training, 4-Hour Scaffold, Corian Solid Surface Certified.

Favorite courses or subjects in school? History, gym, power/energy, mechanics.

Why this career choice? I was born with a hammer and nails in my hands. My father owned a wood shop making custom cabinets and trim, serving the tri-state area before retiring after 30 years. After graduating high school, I started working for him full-time for more than 15 years. I joined the Carpenters Union in 2021.

Biggest challenges in your work? Bidding and estimating each job; creating a team of employees to help make the project a success—and everyone successful.

What are the biggest surprises working in the trade? The number of tools and equipment that can be involved for jobs and assignments. You can never stop learning to be a skilled Carpenter.

Most memorable quote:  “Trim, caulk and paint help make me the carpenter I ain’t.” Always be learning and improving skills.

Any words of wisdom for a young person entering the field? Make sure you love what you do every day—it will never feel like you’re always working. With carpentry you can never stop learning. There are always new buildings, new styles of houses, new tools, new materials and new ways of doing things.

Greatest accomplishment you set for yourself? Making it through my first year in business profitably and landing a job solely on my own skills and merits.

Favorite interests or hobbies? All types of sports and spending time with my family and friends.

Family relationship to Carpentry/Building Trades? It all began with my father when he opened a small wood shop in Peekskill, NY 30 years ago. The shop eventually expanded, and when I graduated high school, I already knew I wanted to work for him building and making all sorts of things.

Personal Profile: Married to Stephanie, with two children, ages 7 and 3, and reside in Kingston, NY.

—Researched and written by Alan Kennedy

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