Myles Gotcher is an incredible apprentice and has a unique vision on life. Due to a hereditary condition, blue cone monochromatism, sight isn’t one of his stronger suits, a fact that hasn’t stopped him from standing out in his millwright apprenticeship in Monroe, Ohio.
Myles grew up in the Dayton area and attended Stebbins High School where he competed on the track team and enrolled in manufacturing at a neighboring career tech school. There he received an award for being the most perseverant student.
Shortly after high school Myles enrolled in welding school and earned top marks. Brian Carson, a Gotcher family acquaintance, and carpenter in the Columbus area, then introduced Myles to the IKORCC. Carson explained the apprenticeship program and that the workforce is in great need of millwrights.
In his first full year as an apprentice, Myles quickly became a favorite among his peers & teachers. His ability to form deep relationships with people has allowed him to create a support network willing to go to great lengths lending to his success. Despite not being able to drive, Myles is able to accept jobs that aren’t close to home and even sometimes out of state. His family and friends take turns driving Myles to and from job sites.
Ishmael Vaudrin, a fellow millwright, has become Myles’ driving buddy when they go out of state. At the time of this interview, Myles was in the car with his grandmother. She drove two hours to Lima, Ohio to get Myles. That’s what the Union is all about. We do for our own what we do for our family.
While Myles’ sight affects his ability to drive, it does not affect his effectiveness as a millwright. Brian Slone, Monroe Instructor, says he’s been impressed with Myles since day one. Slone says one day his class was learning how to read blueprints with very fine detail. Certain apprentices complained that the writing was too small and they couldn’t do it. Myles, however, had a magnifying glass analyzing the prints down to the teeny tiny letter. Slone didn’t hold back, “How are you complaining when this kid has a damn magnifying glass out!?”
Myles has consistently worked for the last year, and grown professionally. On his first scaffolding job, Myles had to go to the top of a 14 deck tower. It was too much for him and he had to retreat. But now, none of that bothers him, “I’ve stopped worrying about the ground.”
Working as a millwright takes incredible precision and Myles is a man of practice. At home, he learned how to paint figurines which allows him to continue to perfect his detail skills. A bad day for Myles is when he knows he hasn’t put in full effort and learned something.
“You gotta be a sponge, and become friends with your journeymen,” Myles said.
For Myles becoming a millwright is his dream and he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. He has a bucket of welding tests that he’s passed. It’s his reminder that he can do this and has those markers to prove it. At just 21 years old, Myles was kind enough to share wise insights he has learned from his apprenticeship:
1: Put yourself to a higher standard. Everything we [millwrights] do requires a higher precision as we should be in life.
2: Nothing comes easy but if you’re willing to learn, you can gain the knowledge by asking questions.
3: Don’t be afraid to get hands-on. It’s how we learn the skill.
We can all take a few pages from Myles’ book. He has, can and continues to persevere. Whatever challenges we come against life can be overcome. If you can do that and do it with a smile, you have a bright future.