Mark Chutes was a maintenance worker at Fenton Art Glass for 25 years before losing his job in October following the company's announcement it was ending production of its traditional glass products.
Four years ago, when Fenton was in danger of closing its doors and his job was in jeopardy, Chutes began thinking about what else he might do for work. One idea was working as a heavy equipment operator.
Today, he's following through on that.
Chutes recently completed the new heavy equipment operator course at the Washington County Career Center, and plans to enroll in the new commercial driver's license course when it starts this month.
Q: What led you to take the heavy equipment class?
A: I was interested in it, and thought it would be fun to operate and do a job like that.
Occupation: Unemployed after 25 years as a maintenance worker at Fenton Art Glass; taking courses at the Washington County Career Center.
Q: The career center is planning other classes in the oil and gas field. Do you want to continue with more such classes?
A: I'm not sure right at the moment. I might have to look into it later after I get my CDL.
Q: Did the increased interest in the oil and gas industry lately play a part in your decision to take the heavy equipment class?
A: Oh yeah. ... At my age it's going to be hard for me to find a job, and I figured with all the oil and gas maybe (I'd have a chance) getting a job running a dozer.
Q: Have you struggled with finding work?
A: I looked around. There ain't no jobs out there. I dropped off resumes and stuff, but, heck, everybody I talked to, they aren't hiring, especially in the plants. ... I like to travel and stuff, ain't gonna bother me if I have to do that. And (the oil and gas industry) probably pays pretty good too, I heard.
Q: Are there other areas you feel this training will help you besides the oil and gas industry?
A: Oh yeah. I'd take a job any other place if I could get a job doing that. It doesn't have to be oil and gas. ... I'm going to put my resume in other places doing work.
Q: Did you have any experience with heavy equipment?
A: Nope. Not a bit.
Q: What types of equipment were you learning on?
A: It was three different dozers, ... a little excavator, a backhoe. ... It's like going and playing every day, running big Tonka toys.
Evan Bevins conducted the interview.