Savannah Engelman, named after her grandpa’s favorite fishing spot, is an ambitious, young apprentice rising quickly. Savannah, a Spencer, Ohio native, is a carpentry apprentice at the Richfield Training Center and is only 18 years old. Her parents, in conjunction with the high school and Lorain County JVS, worked with the Richfield Training Center to get her enrolled in the apprenticeship program.
Savannah toured Lorain County JVS as a freshman and felt blown away by all the career choices she had. The tour showed she had many possible career paths. Savannah is an honors student and most people in her life believed she would attend a traditional college after high school.
Some teachers even tried to discourage her from leaving that path to find her own. Thanks to her strong will and supportive parents, Savannah tried four trades for a preliminary period and fell in love with carpentry. Savannah’s mom marched to the school and advocated on her behalf to sign for enrollment in the carpentry program at Lorain County JVS.
Savannah is very organized. Before graduation, her typical week had her fluctuating between high school, JVS, apprenticeship, work, and clubs. She’s also perfecting her cabinet making skills and participated at the state level in the Skills USA competition. Her high school and JVS work together to help Savannah make up hours when she is in the apprenticeship.
“Savannah has completed three classes so far at Richfield and not only has perfect attendance and a 4.0 GPA, but has a great attitude that proves to be contagious in each class she takes. We are looking at an apprentice that is going places,” says Dan Sustin, training coordinator at the Richfield Carpenters Training Center.
Savannah also works two days a week as an intern for RGI where, among other things, she cut all the pieces of the toolbox kits for IKORCC’s event at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. She likes the flexibility of RGI but would eventually like to work outside. With RGI for Safety Week, Savannah helped build a replica of a fire station.
When she graduated high school this May, she was well on her way to finishing her first year of apprenticeship. So far, Savannah has completed Hand and Power Tools, Metal Studs & Drywall, and is about to start Concrete Footers & Wall Forms. She says she loves the Richfield Center.
“He’s encouraging and answers every question with no judgment. He was instrumental in getting me organized with all of my school this year,” Savannah says of Dan Sustin.
A wild Friday night for Savannah includes baking chocolate chip cookies (what she was doing as we talked) and meeting up with her boyfriend to muck horse stalls together. If that doesn’t say romance, I don’t know what does. When she does have free time, Savannah likes to go camping with her family at Wills Creek near Coshocton, Ohio.
Savannah’s ambition will serve not just her, but all of us. She is just one example of the extremely talented apprentices at the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters.