In celebration of Veterans Day, this week we had a special guest join us on the Future Construct Podcast! For Season 3, Episode 8, our host Amy Peck (@AmyPeckXR) was delighted to welcome Mike Hazard, the UA ITF Training Specialist for the United Association Veterans in Piping (VIP) Training Program, on to the show (26-minute interview). Mike and Amy engaged in a thought-provoking conversation on many insightful topics during the interview, as they covered reintegrating veterans into civilian life, challenges attracting millennials and Generation Z, technology as a recruitment tool, and the evolution of technology.

Click to listen to our interview on AppleSpotify, or Google, or watch on our Facebook or YouTube channels.


About Mike Hazard Mike Hazard is a third-generation member of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters. In 1987, he graduated from Ernest Righetti High School in Santa Maria, California, and joined United Association (UA) Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 114 in Santa Barbara, California, as a pipe tradesman.


In 1988, Mike put his UA career on hold and joined the United States Navy. He proudly served as an Aviation Rescue Swimmer and H-46 Helicopter Mechanic for 11 years before being honorably discharged in 1999 as a Petty Officer First Class. In 1999, Mike traded in his mask and fins for a pair of steel-toed boots and returned to the UA as a Journeyman Pipefitter. As a member of the UA working in the construction field, Mike was promoted to the position of Foreman in 2000, General Foreman in 2001, and in 2002 to the position of General Superintendent.


In 2005, Mike accepted a position with the Southern California Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship & Journeymen Training Trust Fund (A&J Training) as a Training Coordinator. He facilitated plumbing and pipe fitting training for over 10,000 UA members at nine different training centers in Southern California. In 2008, Mike was promoted to the position of Executive Director. In this position, he managed the administrative and financial operations of the trust fund until his departure in September 2012.


During the interview, Mike discussed numerous topics with host Amy Peck (@AmyPeckXR), including:

- Difficulties approaching the job market as a skilled and trained veteran, and when the Veterans in Piping program originated

- Challenges getting the next generation of digital natives to get in and work with their hands in the trades

- How Mike sees technology as a way to train more people and entice more people into the industry

- Some of the other things, whether it's robotics or automation that Mike is seeing being leveraged that poses an exciting evolution in technology


Over the last decade, more than 2 million men and women have served and sacrificed for our nation. Despite being a disciplined and highly-trainable population, military members face an exceedingly high unemployment rate upon leaving the service. To ease the transition back into civilian life, the United Association established the UA Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program to equip military service members preparing to leave the service with sought-after skills that can lead to lifelong careers in the increasingly in-demand pipe trades. Through 18-week accelerated courses - provided free of cost on military bases across the country - VIP participants earn industry-recognized certifications and direct entry into solid private-sector jobs with good pay and benefits.


In October 2012, Mike accepted a position with the United Association as a Training Specialist assigned to the Veterans in Piping (VIP) Training Program. Mike manages the day-to-day operations of nine VIP training sites located on seven military installations throughout the United States and serves as the United Association’s representative for Helmets to Hardhats.


Click to listen to our interview with Mike on AppleSpotify, or Google, or watch on our Facebook or YouTube channels.






4:24 - Amy: "So, from your own personal story, you mentioned that your whole family is in the industry, and you had that support system. Was this program created because, collectively, coming out of the military, you have incredible discipline, training, and skills, yet, the job market can be a challenge? When did this program start?"

9:34 - Amy: "Do you find it very common for family members to be in the trade because it seems like there are some challenges getting this next generation of digital natives to get in and work with your hands? Are you finding that as a challenge as well?"

12:31 - Amy: "We talk a lot about technology, especially in traditional industries. I think on the training side, there's been so much great data to support how training in virtual environments, although they are expensive and cumbersome, they're changing workflows. Do you see technology as a way to train more people and entice more people into the industry?"

23:35 - Amy: "If you could project yourself 20 to 25 years into the future, and you could have any gadget or service that would just make you personally happy or make your life better in some way, what would it be, and what would it do?"

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