On The Spot: Charlene Getchell of Local 503

Local 503 Member, Training Fund instructor, and U.S. Marines Veteran Charlene Getchell on Transitioning from the Military to the Union

Prior to becoming a professional Carpenter, Local 503 member Charlene Getchell served in the U.S. Marines as a Photographer and Public Affairs Specialist for eight years.

She joined the UBC in 1996, and began her Apprenticeship in Chicago, before transferring midway through to the Portland training facility. She journeyed out and spent time in the field before becoming an instructor with Portland Youth Builders, which, along with her military experience, primed her for her current role as an instructor and as the Multimedia Coordinator for Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute (PNCI). She has been teaching at PNCI since 2014.

When asked about what interested her in a carpentry career, she says that she always had a fascination with building things, which her mother believes stems from witnessing the progress of their family home being built in the town of Carpentersville, IL. She even recalls begging for a girders-and-panel building kit for Christmas. She learned to build things early on and maintains the passion to this day.

When asked about why veterans make great Carpenters, Getchell explained:

“As a veteran, I think you learn a lot about chain of command, about being self-directed and looking ahead at what needs to be done next. And I find that our veterans make excellent Carpenters because they’re self-directed, they’re eager to learn, they’re physically fit and they want to get the job done to the best of their ability.”

We are happy to have Getchell as a Sister, and valued instructor, who knows first-hand how our members and future members who served in the military are just as committed to building our country as they are to defending it.