Two weeks into his senior year, James “Jimmy” McGarrigle received a job offer from the company he interned with over the summer. The Texas-headquartered construction firm was eager to hire the Masonry student who performed unusually well during an internship that was entirely online.
It was Williamson that helped Jimmy win this promising job opportunity, setting him on his way to realizing his potential as a leader and professional in the construction industry.
Collaborating with colleagues on a Zoom call was an internship experience he couldn’t have imagined growing up as a kid who tinkered with his dad on home improvement projects and car repairs.
Like his father, a salvage yard owner, Jimmy had a knack for hands-on work and planned to get a job right after high school. He didn’t consider himself “a school guy,” and wasn’t drawn to a traditional four-year college, even though his two older sisters earned scholarships to attend.
Jimmy’s high school English teacher had other ideas for classmates like Jimmy with no college plans. She invited a former student who attended Williamson to speak. Jimmy listened to the alumnus, who now had a good paying job at Boeing. He said that Williamson was “worth the hard work.”
Jimmy’s mother urged him to apply. His high school lacrosse coach was also persuasive. He let him know that Coach Jim DeRose, the foremost lacrosse coach in the county, was now working as the head coach at Williamson.
“It was meant to be,” Jimmy says. He got in touch with Mr. DeRose, toured the campus and applied to the Masonry Program.
“Once I got accepted, I knew I had to change things in order to stay here and become something. I worked my tail off.” He did well on quizzes and tests and watched his G.P.A. go up. “In high school I never broke a 3.0.” This fall it rose to 3.6.
More comfortable with hands-on work than academics, Jimmy excelled in shop and impressed his instructors. “Jimmy’s a real sharp kid,” says Pete Zwolak, Director of Masonry and 2007 Graduate. “He does what needs to be done, whatever’s asked of him.”
“A lot of his peers look up to him,” Mr. Zwolak adds. Jimmy also developed close and respectful relationships on the field.
“From day one he came in as a leader,” says Coach DeRose. “He’s a good, solid person who’s personable and approachable.”
Coach DeRose believes “have your back” is the name of the game in lacrosse, and Jimmy, selected by his teammates as their captain, has been steadfast and loyal.
“Even after an injury sidelined him last year, Jimmy was an inspiration to his teammates,” says Athletic Director Dale Plummer, “rooting them on to win three of their next four games before the season was cancelled because of Covid-19.”
Disappointed that spring sports got cancelled, Jimmy was relieved that his summer internship at CBG was still intact. He first heard about CBG Building Company freshman year from Josh Speakman, a senior at the time and Jimmy’s mentor. Josh interned with CBG and went to work for them full-time after he graduated. The next time Jimmy saw Josh was at the Career Fair, where Josh was representing CBG. Josh told Jimmy that CBG was a great place to work, promoted a family atmosphere, and offered great experience in construction management. Jimmy was sold.
For years, CBG had been recruiting Williamson graduates from Carpentry, Masonry, and Paint & Coatings. In the last several years, the company has hired eight Williamson graduates, including Jimmy and two other seniors from this year’s class.
“Williamson’s core values align well with CBG’s culture,” says Shawn Poore, 2000 graduate and now a vice president at CBG. “The interns and graduates are a perfect fit for our business and we couldn’t be happier with their performance to date.”
“I think he would’ve done great if he was here, but he did well not being here,” says Christina Metzmaier, a project executive for CBG and Jimmy’s supervisor over the summer. He did so well, that right after Jimmy completed his internship, she urged the recruiting team to bring him on as a full-time employee.
In her recommendation letter, she wrote: “He’s very easy to work with, eager to learn, communicates well and was extremely attentive and reliable, even though everything was online.”
Jimmy, too, was impressed with how well he adapted. “At first I felt like I was online,” Jimmy says, “but after a week or two it was like I was right next to them in the office. I felt very involved 8 hours a day – even through a computer!”
Jimmy has signed the contract, scouted the area for apartments, and on June 21, two weeks after graduation, he will be moving to Arlington, Virginia to start his new job.
“Is this actually happening?” he asks rhetorically. “The fact that I’m set for life. It’s like a dream. Something I thought would never happen, but because of Williamson, it’s going to happen.”
“I’m ready to grow up and start my new life.”
Your support makes it possible for students like Jimmy to attend Williamson College of the Trades with a full scholarship that covers tuition, room, and board. You can help to prepare the next generation of Williamson Men to be respected leaders and productive members of society by Making a Gift Today.