Meet the Heat and Frost Insulators

Ron Milich, Training Coordinator(Alberta)

If Ron Milich had been asked at his high school graduation what he thought he'd be doing for a living, he never would have guessed he would work in the field of heat and frost insulation. A Chicago native, Ron spent his first three years after high school studying teaching at Wisconsin State University, and later graduated from Chicago's Roosevelt University with a Bachelor degree in History. But after several years working as a manager for Greyhound Corporation, Ron knew he wanted a change.

With relatives in Canada, Ron moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1980. Knowing that Ron was looking for work, his cousins suggested that he join them on a heat and frost insulation project. Ron was unsure as to whether he would like it, but decided to try it out. "I said, ‘Yeah, I'll do it for a couple of weeks.' Now it's been almost 26 years, so yeah, I liked it," Ron says with a laugh. "I'd been in management for 11 years, sitting behind a desk, and I enjoyed the physical aspect of (heat and frost insulation). And the money, definitely!"

Now 57, Ron is enjoying his work as much as ever. He's even found a way to combine his teaching background with the skills he's learned as a heat and frost insulator. In 2004, Ron took on the role of Training Coordinator. He is now actively involved in recruiting and teaching a new generation of heat and frost insulators. "You know that saying about ‘those who can do, those who can't teach'? I say, those who are no longer able to do have an obligation to teach and pass on these skills to the next generation."

Ron also wants to make sure that young people are aware earlier in their career path of the opportunities available in trades. "I try to convey my sense of interest and excitement in this trade, let them know the options that exist for them. They can enter an apprenticeship at 18, become a full journeyperson at 22 and earn $100,000 a year… They can move into training, safety management, become foremen, general foremen, superintendents, they can start their own business. They never thought about it that way before."

As far as Ron's own experience goes, entering the heat and frost insulation trade was one of the best choices he's ever made. "I've seen a lot more of the world than I would have sitting behind my desk in Chicago, that's for sure."