The Interview with STEVE HIGBEE

Dec 20, 2017

Steve has been welding for just about 44 years, with ten of those years being here at Imperial Systems. He enjoys hunting and will watch a Steelers game if it’s on, but his medical treatment doesn’t leave much time for other hobbies. He lives in the small town of Stoneboro with his wife and their three dogs, with his daughter living nearby.

Q: You’ve been here ten years. What was it like when you started?
A: It was definitely different. There were only about eight of us at the beginning, and then we just kept getting more people. Pretty soon we were stepping all over each other, till they added the expansion.

Q: So what did you get during hunting season this year?
A: Got a buck during archery and then a doe. You gonna put that in there too?

Q: All right, then… tell me about your dogs.
A: You just want to talk about everything, don’t you. We’ve got three dogs. One’s a collie and the other two are yorkie-poos.

Q: Wait… yorkie-poos?
A: (with a look daring me to say something about it). Yeah. Yorkie-poos. Half yorkie and half poodle.

Q: So tell me how you ended up here.
A: I needed a job. I was working at another company, doing fabrication, and they pissed me off. They wanted me to use inferior material, and I wasn’t going to do it. They told me I didn’t have a choice, so I gave them my two weeks’ notice. Nobody tells me I don’t have a choice.

Q: So what’s kept you here for ten years?
A: They haven’t pissed me off enough to leave yet. No it’s not a bad place to work. Jeremiah is a good guy to work for.

Q: How long have you been doing metalworking?
A: Since I was nineteen years old.

Q: Where did you learn to weld?
A: On the job. Had three weeks of training, and then I was out learning from experience. Working on railroad cars.

Q: Favorite kind of equipment?
A: I’ve used pretty much all of it. Miller, Lincoln, Hobart… I don’t really have a preference.

Q: What’s the one piece of equipment that helps you the most doing your job?
A: It’s gotta be the hoist. The doors, once you’ve got them assembled, they’re so heavy you can’t move them. I couldn’t do my job without that.

Q: What would you tell somebody who was interested in getting into it as a career?
A: I’d tell them to go into healthcare. But if it’s what someone wants to do, I’d tell them to go for it. If it’s what you love, you’ll be happy doing it.

Q: You’ve had some experience with the healthcare thing. I know your daughter is a nurse, because she was yelling at you one day about taking care of yourself.
A: Yeah, she does get on me about that.

Q: Can we talk about the dialysis and being on the donor list for a kidney?
A: Sure. It’s not a secret. Everyone around here knows about it. There have been two people who volunteered to be donors, but they didn’t qualify.

Q: You leave here after work and go straight to dialysis, right?
A: I spend a lot of time there.

Q: I heard you’re pretty popular there.
A: Well, that’s because I don’t walk in there like I’m half dead. First time I went in there it was like walking into a morgue. I bring some life into the place.

Q: You definitely aren’t half dead.
A: (grinning). No, I’m not!