Waking up early is one of the hardest transitions for parents of newborns, but not for Derek. As a First Class Mechanic based out of Newport News, Virginia, he’s used to starting work on the ship at 6 am.
What did leave Derek pleasantly surprised was RigUp’s flexibility when his daughter Erin was born on October 30th, 2020. “They’re very understanding with days off and such. When my daughter was being born, it was an emergency and they were good with that. Even right now, I’m on leave to be home with her,” he says.
Derek, originally from Brooklyn, New York, found his way to Virginia with the Navy and decided to stay to start a family. His first job out of the Navy was as a cryotech on the ship, shooting dry ice into the ventilation systems to bring the radiation levels down. After that, he dabbled in a few different jobs—from sheet metal fabrication to landscaping.
When his brother recommended joining RigUp, Derek says he was reluctant because of how he was treated at other staffing agencies in the past. Eventually, he was convinced to give RigUp a chance “because of how they put my brother on such a good path, and it went just as smoothly for me as it did for him,” he says.
Derek went through RigUp’s training, gaining the skills he needed to be able to remove and install a ship’s insulation. “They sent us through training and paid for our tools all within the first month,” he says.
What Derek appreciated most about the training was the opportunity to build upon the mechanic skills he acquired in the Navy. “The instructors were great. They understood how it will help us better to learn by doing it than sitting there reading. We still read, but did it at a great pace and no one fell asleep!” he says. “And for the last five hours of the day we were hands-on upstairs, practicing installing and removing insulation.”
In addition to these new skills, Derek says he’s also learned the importance of patience and follow-through. “It’s important you don’t try to rush through getting things put up or put down—take time to do things right.”
In return for that work ethic, Derek says RigUp takes care of all the necessary paperwork and communication. “They have your back, so you’re not susceptible to some of the negative things from other staffing agencies.”
Now Derek is looking at ways to progress his career further when he returns from parental leave. “I want to do the training to get certified in welding. I was doing welding in the Navy, but I never got certified. It’s a lucrative field,” he says.
Supporting people like Derek to scaffold on their skills and succeed in their career goals is RigUp’s north star. We’re proud to go to work for workers just like him.