Baylor Engaged: Jackson Boone
This summer I continued my job as a carpenter at a residential construction company. I first began doing carpentry work as a freshman in high school and began working on a contracting crew for over two years. I immensely enjoyed my first year at Baylor but I could not help being excited to once again be working with my hands and seeing the fruits of my labor. It’s hard work in the humid Kentucky sun and most of my mornings begin at 5:30 am but I couldn’t be happier.
Some days, I feel as though I learn just as much on the job site as I do in the classroom. I work with three other carpenters who each have over 30 years of experience. They have many sayings but one I’ve been told over and over again is this: “there are no problems Jackson Boone just solutions.” We are with the homeowner from the second ground is broken to the day they receive keys to their new house. There are plenty of unexpected problems in between these two moments and as a general contractor we are the ones expected to solve it.
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned while working has been the difference between theory and reality. While at Baylor, I study mechanical engineering and have learned conceptual ways of analyzing compression and tension forces, but in the construction field these theories don’t always line up perfectly with reality. An engineer or carpenter who understands both theory and reality is better poised to find workable solutions to problems.
Lately however this job has meant more to me than a severe farmers tan and lifelong axioms. I live in Western Kentucky and a couple years ago we were hit with a devastating tornado that destroyed over 30 homes. News coverage came and went, relief crews did the same and yet many families are still waiting for a place to call home. The last several homes we have built have been for those whose were destroyed. We often read of natural disasters across the nation but the reality of seeing one damage the only place I’ve ever called home was part of my motivation for working another summer on a construction crew. My brief time as a part of the Baylor Engage Fellows strengthened my definition of community and grew my dedication to see my own community flourish.
In the coming months, I’m looking forward to learning, not merely the “how to” behind everything from framing to finish work, but also the management aspect of estimating cost and material as well as negotiating with subcontractors and homeowners. As an engineer planning to work in the construction field, this will be valuable experience for my coming career.