Classes at A-B Tech Lead to Rewarding Career Change

After being a plumber for 13 years, Joshua Hollingsworth realized he couldn’t see himself doing it forever. The physical demands were tough and being on call 24/7 kept him away from his family more often than not.

Josh graduated from Enka High and enrolled in a four-year college. He still couldn’t figure out what to do for a career and wasn’t finding his niche at school. His experience has changed the way he talks to his two sons about future plans. “I just want them to have a good idea of all options out there, look at what they are good at and what they are interested in,” he said. “I think I was also taught as a kid that you should do what your passion is, but I don't necessarily agree with that either. A career should be something that you are good at, that pays you the money to pursue your passion.”

Once he left that university, Josh got a position with a plumber on a two-week trial basis. “It was hard work - digging trenches, manual labor and sometimes very nasty. I do feel like that taught me a lot of things and honed my work ethic. Luckily, I was young enough to change course. Although I would say anyone at any age that it’s never too late to go back and change course. It was a liberating and freeing experience.”

His wife, Megan, had just finished her dental hygiene degree at A-B Tech and told Josh it was his turn to go back to school. “I started looking at all the A-B Tech programs. Construction Management was my wheelhouse,” he said. They both ended up on the Dean’s List with their good grades. Josh found a job before he even finished his certificate.

“The instructors are amazing. Daniel Mancuso is someone I still go to for information,” Josh said. He particularly enjoyed his health and safety class and learning about OSHA regulations while at A-B Tech.

Josh started in his new career as a superintendent at a construction company and loved it. “We ended up getting a citation from OSHA right after I started, and since I had the OSHA card from class, I was offered safety coordinator,” he said. The revamped health and safety program under his direction and ended up winning an award from the NC Homebuilders Association.

When a safety position opened at Buchanan Construction, Josh applied with 60 other applicants. “I wanted to get the experience in management and I would be able to do safety all the time,” he said. He started the new position on March 1.

After two weeks in the office, COVID-19 changed the landscape of the work environment. “About 60 percent of my job is site visits and the rest can be done at home and that works out well,” he said.

“There is a lot of demand for this area in construction,” Josh said. “Even with COVID-19 going on we are still considered essential. We are lucky to be in Asheville for sure.”

Photos - Josh on the job site

Josh and Megan with an award from the Homebuilders Association

Open to the public later this year, Buchanan Construction is wrapping up construction of the 2020 Southern Living Idea House in Asheville's exclusive community of The Ramble at Biltmore Forest.

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