Eddie Hines was always inspired by his father, a hard-working carpenter. That upbringing instilled in him a desire to be a skilled tradesman and so he decided to become a metal fabricator. Two decades later, and he has never regretted his career choice. “I looked at welding and masonry and all those trades that actually built America, and I wanted to be a part of that. We’re like Santa’s little helpers.” The 39-year-old Georgian worked his way up the ladder and now owns his company, Hines Welding and Fabrication Services, LLC. “It’s something that I always wanted to do.”
What does a typical day as a metal fabricator look like?
I start my day off every morning at 5 o’clock. I commute an hour to work. We’re busy with shipping, receiving and fabrication. I make sure my team leaders have everything in place for them to do their jobs. We’re building custom orders or doing welding repairs. Whatever the customer needs, I’m just here to serve them.
What do you like most about your job?
When the job is done. I had a customer whose great aunt gave him a chair, and it was in pieces. He showed me how it was supposed to look. I was able to bring it back to life. He was happy. It makes me feel real good to actually be able to be there for someone who needs me to put together something that somebody left for them. You’re taking imperfect material and bringing it to perfection.
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
They may think it’s too hot, that something may catch on fire or that the light may make you blind. Those are the biggest misconceptions. But if you use the PPE, you’ll be OK. Safety always comes first.
What personality traits or qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?
You’ve got to have great people skills. You’ve got to be able to talk to everybody, because you’ve got to be able to interpret what a customer likes and bring it to life. If you’re an introvert, this may not be a good job for you.
Is there a time when you felt your job made a real impact on someone’s life?
A lot of times. I was just at Sweetwater Creek State Park and me and my kids were on a nature trail. We had to climb a 50-foot hill, but my company made metal galvanized steps there to make the climb a lot easier. Instead of trying to crawl up that hill, people could enjoy the trail without hurting themselves.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
That’s a real good question. I’d probably be playing pro-basketball.
If you were meeting a kid who’s graduating high school and trying to figure out what career to choose, would you recommend metal fabrication?
If I met a kid, not only would I recommend it, but I could motivate him that this is the best thing for him. I could motivate him from my story alone. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and now I own my own company.
Want to know more about this career?
- Learn more about how to become a metal fabricator, including expected salary range, training requirements and more.
- Explore metal fabricator training programs