Go Build Tennessee October Ambassador: Carrington Fox

The mission of Go Build is to enhance the image of the construction industry and inform young people and their “influencers” about career opportunities in the craft trades. “Go Build Ambassadors” exemplify the spirit of Go Build as the proud, elite group helping to build a better tomorrow. As the future of our country’s construction industry, they understand there’s nothing they can’t accomplish with their own two hands – they don’t just operate tools, they are tools. They are the keys to their livelihood, providers for society’s progress and catalysts for change.

Congrats to our September 2017 Go Build Tennessee Ambassador, Carrington Fox.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 10.11.45 AMName: Carrington Fox

Hobbies: Writing, gardening

Degree pursuing: Certificate in Building Construction Technology

Favorite Training Activity: Working in woodshop and framing structures, especially with complex angled rafters

Current Training Program: Building Construction Technology program at Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville.

There's endless opportunity in Tennessee's construction industry – what inspired you to pursue a career in the skilled trades? I have been a journalist for two decades, writing about food and food security. When I set out to build a chicken coop in my backyard as an experiment in sustainable urban gardening, I was discouraged that I lacked the skills and tools to build a simple commonsense structure for my family. I realized if I could learn to build things with my hands, I could pursue a career I had always dreamed about: Connecting families to healthy food, nature and the outdoors through simple garden architecture.

What are your plans after completing your training? Since enrolling in technical school, I have journaled my experience online at BuildMeUpButtercupBlog, a diary of a middle-aged mom in construction school. The blog has allowed me to meet and write about talented craftspeople, including builders, artists, and entrepreneurs—who are responsible for the recent extraordinary and beautiful growth in my hometown. After graduation, I plan to expand my Build Me Up enterprise to design, build and sell outdoor structures such as chicken coops, greenhouses, Little Free Libraries, playsets and tiny offices.

For young people who might be considering a career in construction, what advice would you share? As an older student, returning to technical college in mid-life, I would remind students that they can always keep learning and developing their career, as long as they take themselves and their work seriously. I have come to construction from business and journalism, but a student who starts out in skilled trades could just as easily develop a career in business. Contrary to stereotypes, construction and skilled trades are not a dead end; they are a strong foundation.

Why are campaigns like Go Build Tennessee important in changing perceptions about the construction industry and telling young people about the many careers in the skilled trades? There are two skills gaps in our country. There is the much-publicized gap between demand and supply of skilled workers required to fuel the nation’s growth. This gap threatens both the U.S. economy and the fundamental safety of our built environment. Meanwhile, there is also a less-discussed gap between the perception and reality of careers in the skilled trades. Arguably, the former gap is a consequence of the latter. Construction—including framing, plumbing and wiring—requires intellect, strength, commonsense, and no shortage of courage. But generalizations persist about the lagging intellect of kids in shop class. Until our country understands the demands of the construction industry and treats its workers with more respect and fewer jokes, we cannot expect either skills gap to improve. By changing perceptions of the construction industry and closing the skills gaps, programs like Go Build Tennessee safeguard our security—both economic and physical.

About the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville Building Construction Technology :

This program is designed to provide basic knowledge and applicable skills necessary for individuals to work in the building construction industry. Instruction provided will assist students in obtaining certifications in various construction trades, i.e. carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and masonry.

To nominate a student, educator or influencer as a “Go Build Ambassador,” send us an email to info@gobuildtennesssee.com for more information.