Saje Pernie recently completed a year-long millwright program at PWSC. We interviewed her to find out what she is doing now. We discovered that she currently works for Hess Corporation in North Dakota and earns a whopping $210,000 per year! Before Saje attended the program, she was a middle school teacher in Florida making $20,000 a year.
How did the program help you with your career path?
"It helped me be prepared for real situations in the field. Also, it helped me start to decide specifically what I’d like to do as a career."
How do you use what you learned in the program today?
"I specifically use what I learned in hand tools, safety, blueprint reading, and (most of all) alignment. I was taught how to use dial indicators, which is the basis of what we use to align equipment, but also new school technology (as in laser alignment), which is something I do every day on the job."
If you could give one piece of advice to our current and future millwright students, what would that be?
"I would ask lots of questions. Dennis has so many years of knowledge and experience to share. Also pay attention to every level and section in the program because you really never know what you will be doing and it’s helpful to be able to pull from what you studied. Don’t cut corners or skip classes. You’ll only be hurting yourself."
What was your favorite part about the program?
"My favorite part was that we were taught something and then immediately were able to do hands-on learning, which helps commit the steps and procedures to memory. Being able to actually use the tools so that you are prepared was a huge help. Also, the field trips were super cool!"
What was your favorite part about going to PWSC?
"My favorite things (because I can’t choose just one) would be the staff because they were absolutely amazing, personable, and actually care to know who you are and how to help you succeed. Secondly, I would say the environment, I mean Valdez is probably one of the coolest places I have ever been. From the mountains to the wildlife and everything in between. My experience there changed my life and will forever be one of my most cherished memories. I really hope that more people from the lower 48 can come up and experience PWSC because it was an awesome experience for me."
What is your current job and how did you get into this job?
"I graduated and then worked for Silver Bay. Then during my off season I received a phone call with a job offer as a contractor for the Hess Corporation in North Dakota as a rotating equipment specialist, which means that I align motors and pumps, do mechanical inspections on pumping units, check rotation and belts, and regulate tank strapping for the oil field pads."
How much are you currently earning for pay and what is your work schedule like?
"I make $210,000 a year, that includes per diem pay for housing, food, etc. and then I work 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off, 12 hour days starting at 6:30 a.m. I’m kinda on the higher end than normal. At Silver Bay I was making $23 an hour."
What were you doing before you started the program? That’s amazing, we’re so proud of you!
"Everyone played a special role in helping me get here, so I’m thankful for all of you guys! I am in North Dakota...I was a middle school English teacher and basketball coach BARELY making $20,000 a year. I had to be a server at a restaurant at the same time just to pay the bills."
PWSC: That’s incredible! I think your story is really going to inspire others. Thank you for sharing. In fact, I think all of us are now planning on taking millwright classes next year!Learn more about the millwright program