Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Behind the Desk with Alfie, the “Tool Guy”

  Posted on: April 11, 2016

pink hard hats

Me: Hi there, can I interview you?

Alfie: Which program are you in?

Me: Women in Trades

Alfie: Sure.

Me: Awesome! Thanks! First off, how long have you been working here at TRU?

A: 26 years

Me: That’s pretty neat!

A: Hmmm

Me: OK! So, as I am the women in trades program coordinator, I will ask some questions related to women in trades.

A: (…)

Me: What have you noticed about the women here at TRU that are in trades?

A: There are more women in trades, especially recently, but even since my start here, there has always been women in trades.

Me: You’re the tools guy, so, how do women treat their tools?

A: As good as anyone. There is no differentiation.

Me: (Hoping he would say they treat them better, but I learned something new). OK… How many interactions do you have a day?

A: It depends on the time of year. I can have anywhere from 500-1500 interactions.

Me: In one day?!

A: Yes.

It was 8:17 AM and I had noted he had already seen six students in the few minutes I was waiting for him to do this mini interview.

Me: I see some pink hard hats there. Did you get those for women in trades?

A: Those are the only hardhats I have. They are for everyone. I ordered them for safety as I noticed one day when it was foggy out, all I could see in the fog were the hot pink hard hats- not the white, yellow or green hard hats. So, I ordered hot pink hard hats. Trades people around the world started to do that a while ago, like in Asia, because of safety. I just happened to order them before the trend occurred.

Me: Neat!
Do you have any thoughts on there being more women in trades?

A: No, but I do think that anyone who wants to enter trades needs to know that it is not an ‘easy’ route. You must apply yourself. You have to take it seriously. You have to work hard. There is a misconception that trades is the thing to do if you don’t want to use your brain. There is a lot of thinking in trades. Once you’re in, though, and you’re working, it feels very rewarding because you will have worked hard to get there.

Me: Last words?

A: Take care of your tools.

If you are a TRU trades students, you have likely had an interaction, or several, with Alfie, the ‘tool guy’. Alfie works in the tool crib closest to the main entry. He is required to provide the TRU trades students and faculty with disbursement of tools, supplies and equipment as needed, and also ensures that the tool room is properly stocked and maintained. This means he must ensure tools are checked out and returned properly, run inventory checks to ensure tools are not missing, and otherwise keep track of the tools. Alfie seems to have gained quite an amicable relationship with the students in his own way. Through this interview, and your own interactions, you now know a little bit more about the man behind the desk at the tool crib.