10 Questions for Harold Swink
November is National Veterans and Military Families Month, recognizing the sacrifices and bravery of our Nation’s service members and the resilient families who support them. As a proud employer of veterans across the U.S., Northwest Pipe Company celebrates, with gratitude, their military service and the essential contributions they bring to our organization.
Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing interviews with veterans here at Northwest Pipe, discussing their military and career experiences, and the people and values that have inspired them along the way.
10 Questions for Harold Swink
Harold Swink is an experienced welder and team lead at our Permalok® steel casing pipe manufacturing facility in St. Louis, Missouri. His responsibilities run the gamut from ring fitting and bar cutting to operating the burn table, driving a forklift, and loading and unloading trucks–all in a days work.
1. What is your job title and how long have you been with Northwest Pipe?
I’m a welder at the Permalok plant in St. Louis, and I’ve been with the Company for 12 years.
2. Tell us about your time in the service – what motivated you to enlist and how long did you serve for?
I enlisted because I wanted to receive the G.I. Bill benefits so I could go to school. I served for three years in the U.S. Army at Ft. Hood, with 6 months spent overseas in Kuwait as a 12 Bravo Combat Engineer. I left Ft. Hood as a Specialist.
3. Describe your transition from military to civilian life and how it led you to your current position?
I came home and worked different jobs until I decided to make a career change. I used my G.I. Bill benefits to attend Vatterot College and studied welding.
4. What’s the most exciting or interesting thing about your job?
The most interesting thing about working here is the opportunity to learn different jobs.
5. Name two things that always brighten your day— one at work and one outside of work?
At work, it’s interacting with my coworkers, and at home it would be spending time with my wife and kids.
6. Which of the Northwest Pipe ACT Values (Accountability, Commitment, and Teamwork) resonates most for you in your role and why?
The value that resonates with me most is Teamwork, because I like to help my coworkers whenever possible.
7. How did your military career experience prepare you for your current role?
My time in the military taught me leadership, which I use in my role as a team lead.
8. Name someone who has been a source of inspiration in your life and why?
Someone who has inspired me is my welding instructor. Without him, I wouldn’t have finished school.
9. What advice do you have for other veterans entering your profession?
My advice is to take your welding class as seriously as you took basic training.
10. What has been your biggest career or personal achievement?
My biggest personal achievement is being able to work at Northwest Pipe Company for this long.