Why I Work Construction – Marty Fulton

Assistant Shop Foreman, M. Nelson Barnes

For the past five years, Marty Fulton has taught ABC Greater Baltimore’s fourth-year sheet metal class, taking this class through all four years of the sheet metal apprenticeship. Fulton has been working in the sheet metal trade for more than 17 years, nearly 14 of those spent at M. Nelson Barnes.

“Marty is very passionate about sharing his knowledge with the next generation of skilled workers, and is an asset to our training program,” says Chris Hadfield, director of education for ABC Greater Baltimore.

How did you get started in the construction trades?

I was undecided about the construction trades in high school. However, I ended up in a program were I alternated between working two weeks and going to school for two weeks. I asked to be placed in construction but no particular trade. The closest thing they could find was a company that installed windows. So, at my first job, I learned to make and install windows.

I got my start in sheet metal work because I had an uncle that was in the trade. He worked for Allstate Sheet Metal. He knew I was interested so he pulled some strings and got me in. 

What do you like most about your job? 

It’s very challenging and I like to solve problems and I always loved working with my hands.

How has a career in construction impacted your life?  

Like the saying goes, “You give a man a fish you feed him for a day. You teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The construction industry has definitely built up my character, and taught me numerous skills that I apply in my personal life.

Why do you teach the trades?

To give someone the same chance at a worthwhile career that was given to me.

What advice do you have for others interested in the construction trades?

In construction industry you can start as a helper, go the school for your trade, and then work your way up to become a journeyman, foreman, superintendent or a company owner. It’s all on how you apply yourself.