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Shifting technology, odd hours, sacrifice: what it takes to be a millwright

Kyle and Bryce at a library
Michigan Radio
Kyle Pepplinski (L) and Bryce Cop (R) often have to answer the question "What exactly does a millwright do?"


Credit Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio

Taking that first step down a career path can be daunting. It's like stepping into a world completely unknown. On the flip side, if you’ve been walking that road a long time, chances are you’ve learned a thing or two. 

Kyle Peplinski is a 29-year-old first-year millwright apprentice. Bryce Cobb is a 32-year veteran millwright from Local 1102. 

They sat down for Stateside's Work in Progressseries about what it's like to be at opposite ends of the same career path. 

If you're not sure what a millwright actually does, you're not alone. It’s a question Cobb encounters often.

“Over the years I've tried to explain [my job] to people, and the only thing that comes to mind is 'Everything that's automated that moves, we put together,'" he said.

That includes helping to build and restore steel and nuclear facilities, glass factories, and, especially in Michigan, auto factories. Tradesman and millwrights build the structures where new technologies are developed.

Listen above to hear about what work is like for millwrights, and how technology is changing the trade.

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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