Matt is a fourth-year student, and he’s really crushing it,” says IEC of Kansas Executive Director Keely Turner. “He was Apprentice of the Year for third last year, and he’s been Apprentice of the Month every month this school year.”
That’s quite the accomplishment. But not one that makes Matthew Seymour’s head too big for his Bybee Electric hardhat.
“I strive to do the best I can all the time,” Matt says in typical midwestern fashion. “I’m not super competitive but, yes, I’d like to see how long I can hang on to Apprentice of the Month. It’s pushing me to do better.”
Matt feels the electrical field is perfect for him. He says he enjoys working with his hands and exercising his brain as well. The mix of on-the-job training, classroom work and labs, and earning while learning over four years seems right, and he’s glad he made the decision to make it his career.
Before coming to the IEC Apprenticeship Program, he worked in facilities maintenance at a local college for a few years after high school and helped the college’s electrician at times. That electrician retired, and a new one came in who was a graduate of the IEC. Matt began to look seriously at the trade as an opportunity for his future.
He applied to IEC, Bybee Electric hired him, and off he went.
“I love this program,” Matt says. “It’s absolutely worth my time and focus. I took my journeyman’s test after my second year and there’s no way I would have felt comfortable doing that without the classroom training through IEC of Kansas. A big part of that training is how well our instructors teach the code book (National Electrical Code®). Learning in the classroom and taking it into the field is the right combination.”
Lately he’s been learning a lot about motor controls, as aspect of electrical work he doesn’t do a lot of on the job right now. Walking into the lab and getting the chance to be hands on with those motor starters is fun and a bit of a challenge for him.
“Every time I go to class, I learn something even if it’s not from the books,” Matt says. “If we have downtime on class night, everybody shares stories of what they’ve seen when working with electricity. It’s always nice to hear stories and gain new insight into something that I might not have known before.”
Bybee offers residential and commercial electrical service. To date, his favorite part of field work has been facing and meeting the challenges of service calls, which he says are different every day.
“In the past two days, I’ve been to six or seven calls and each was different,” he notes. “I enjoy the troubleshooting aspect of this work, along with the technical side. I like being able to walk into a home and think through what could be going wrong to cause this issue? Using my hands and using my mind!”
Being able to bring questions to the instructors about situations he sees out in the field is another benefit of the one-two punch of classroom and field work.
Matt plans to take the master electrician’s exam after graduation in the spring and is considering whether to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering where he can utilize the college course credit he earned through the IEC Apprenticeship Program.
Until then, he intends to continue working hard, learning, serving the electrical needs of Wichita-area customers, and enjoying his electrical career.