High Hopes: Looking for security and respect

By Debra Smith For The Herald

Christopher Sansbury, 51

City: Monroe

Program: Everett Community College, associate degree in technical arts/welding and fabrication

Q: How did you come to enroll in this program?

A: I was working here in Monroe at a company that worked on a contract basis. The contracts were short and unreliable. My boss came to me and he says, “I have some good news and some bad news.” Well, the bad news was I was laid off. The good was he told me I had learned so much about these processes, I should go to college. And so I did.

A lot of welders are untrained people. It’s a lot of rough outdoor work in environments where you hardly speak to anyone. I’d like to work with Boeing doing integrated work — working with engineers, the people who make the parts and the people who assemble the parts. I’d like to work with people who have a better attitude. I’ve built ships, belt freezers, trailers, food processing equipment, restaurant cooking equipment. I definitely pride myself on my work. I know I could work with people and keep a good attitude.

Q: What would be your ideal first job after you earn a degree?

A: Something with better benefits and better pay. My ideal job would be one that’s reliable and that treats their employees well and respects my knowledge. Boeing has the best equipment and the best facilities, but I’m not sure they use many welding processes other than forming, riveting and assembly. I also wouldn’t mind working for a supplier in a welding position.

Q: What would you like to be doing in 10 years?

A: It would be nice to retire. (He laughs.) I’d like to work in a job I’m happy with and with people who are happy to work with me and my work.

Q: Would you be willing to relocate to get the right job?

A: That’s a tough question for me because I’ve always been a Northwesterner. I’ve got a lot of family here: nine kids and five grandchildren. I’d have to have job security in that field to relocate.

Q: When did you first travel by air, and where did you go?

A: I haven’t traveled since I was three years old. I have a fear of flying. I flew from Ohio to Washington. At the time it was quite the experience.

I remember the airplane was a 707. I remember boarding the airline and stewardesses attending me. They gave me TWA wings. They had on-board food and the food was good. I remember looking out the window and seeing a new land with clouds and trees, coming to the airport and seeing family I’d never met.

Q: What will flying be like in 50 years?

A: Quick space flights. Go up to 38,000 feet and skip across the stratosphere at an accelerated speed and you’re in China in two hours.

Learn more

Everett Community College has a variety of short-term certificates as well as two-year degrees in aerospace manufacturing, composites and computer-assisted design. EvCC also has the aviation maintenance school and vintage aircraft restoration program at Paine Field.

Website: www.everettcc.edu