Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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Northern California Commercial Apprenticeship Program Valedictorian Spotlight: Mark Mendenhall

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Being an electrician is in the blood for 2019 Commercial Apprentice Valedictorian Mark Mendenhall.

Though Mendenhall initially wanted to be a firefighter, he cited his dad [Mendenhall Electric owner Carroll Mendenhall] as his inspiration for giving the electrical industry - and WECA - a chance.

"My dad played a big part in encouraging me to go down the path of becoming an electrician," said Mendenhall. "When I started at WECA, I wasn't 100 percent sure I wanted to be an electrician. But the classes kept me interested and I continued to learn new things that I could then apply out in the field."

Although Mendenhall grew up around the
 electrical industry, his WECA education prepared him for an industry career far more than simply being in the field ever could.

"My WECA education helped me learn a lot of code that you don't get to learn in the field, and WECA didn't just cram a bunch of information into my head to help me pass a test - instead it showed me how it actually applies. More importantly, WECA taught me how to better understand electricity and how it works, which then helps me understand what I'm doing and not just doing something because it says to on the prints. WECA has helped prepare me to hopefully take over the company in the future," said Mendenhall.

Mendenhall continued, "I get to put into practice what I have learned, but I still learn new things almost daily from those who have decades of experience and knowledge as electricians."

Mendenhall also encouraged current and future students to "do what you can to learn something new every day, whether it's from the code book or from one of the textbooks. There are going to be some boring or mundane days, but that can't keep you from choosing to learn and progress not only as an electrician, but also as a person."

And - as is typical for new graduates - Mendenhall found himself not only reflecting upon his educational journey, but also anticipating his future in the 
electrical field.

"I couldn't have done this without the support and encouragement from my beautiful wife, Tosha," said Mendenhall. "And now, I plan to learn more of the business side of things at the company [Mendenhall Electric]. I still have a lot to learn about how the business is run."

From all of us here at WECA - congratulations, Mark! We're excited to see what the future brings to the next generation of Mendenhall Electric.