The Interview with Richard Matters
Richard has been welding at Imperial Systems for twelve years, and in various other jobs for eighteen years before that. He is a graduate of Jamestown High School. Outside of work he enjoys relaxing with his wife and spending time with his three kids and eight grandkids.
Q: What date did you start working at Imperial Systems?
A: September 17, 2006
You said it was only that first bay?
A: Yeah. It was probably ten or so guys working. The road crew was there.
Q: That would be pretty tight.
A: Yeah it was for everything we build, like us with the big BRFs. You see how much room the fourteen footers take up here. It was tight, but we did it.
Q: How long have you been welding?
A: Oh jeez. Twenty-five or thirty years. I had thirteen years in at Trinity Industries, twelve here, and five at Tri‑County. I was welding dumpsters and stuff, rebuilding them. Then I worked a couple other places. There was a rail division down in New Castle. I didn’t work there very long because it was too far of a drive from my house. It was an hour and a half each way.
Q: Did you go to trade school?
A: No. When Trinity shut down we did get to go to school. You could keep your unemployment because they moved out of the country and went to Mexico. So they put up a school and you could draw your unemployment while you were in school. Even when I started at Trinity they put me through weld school at Mercer Vo-Tech. It wasn’t a long class, thirty days or something like that. It was heavier. Rail cars. It was big.
Q: How many kids do you have?
A: Three. Two girls and a boy. I’ve got eight grandkids. Two are twin boys.
Q: Do you like any sports?
A: I watch a lot of football. I’m a big Steelers fan.
Q: You got that question correct.
A: I’m a little unhappy with them right now.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: We usually sit down back. We built a big pavilion and we usually sit down there, me and the wife, drink beer and listen to the radio, build a fire.
Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: Country. Willie 95. They’ve changed country so much. Its more getting into pop or something.
Q: Do you ever go to concerts?
A: Nah. Once I went up to Crawford County and George Jones was there. It was a pretty good concert. Loretta Lynn was there too that night, but she wasn’t feeling good. She had laryngitis and was having trouble singing.
Q: Do you have any projects at home that you do?
A: All the time. It seems like the wife always has something for me to do!
Q: You ever go to any football games or anything?
A: No, I always wanted to, but usually I say “Why would I want to go watch that live when I could sit at home and watch it with no crowd?” And usually its too cold, too. I don’t want to be out there in the freezing weather. Then, when you drink like I do you can’t afford to go there with the price of their beer, jeez.
Q: You’re just a good country guy, huh?
A: That’s pretty much it. I don’t bother no one, no one bothers me. That’s what I like. We have a lot of parties though. We have a big Fourth of July party every year. We’ve been doing that for about twenty years now. We invite a bunch of people and get fireworks. Seems like it keeps getting bigger every year. More and more people come, and more fireworks we have to buy. But its fun. We have a lot of fun. We’re out in the country enough that no one bothers you either, thats whats nice.
Q: What do you think about being in the magazine?
A: It’s good. It gets it out.
Q: We’re showing off our employees. We’re proud of you guys. We want you to be known for the work you’ve done. It’s because of you guys that this place…
A: It goes! And that’s good. We need it to keep going for a long time, hopefully.
Q: Do you have anything else you want to say?
A: I do appreciate having the opportunity to work here. I appreciate that. And Jeremiah’s real fair about everything, as far as I’m concerned. He’s a good guy, and good to his people too. There ain’t too many places where on holidays you leave early and they pay you for the rest of the day and stuff like that. I’ve never heard of any companies doing that, not that I worked for.