With a New Career as an Electrician, Bobby Langford Has “Never Been This Happy”
Bobby Langford has a light fixture in one hand, a drill in the other, and a smile on his face. In a northeast Atlanta warehouse, this 47-year-old Atlanta native has discovered a new life’s calling.
“I never thought I’d end up in an electrical company,” says Langford, a prefab assembler with Inglett & Stubbs Electrical Construction. “I’ve learned how to build so many things. I’ve never been this happy.”
The funny thing is, it took a layoff – after working with UPS for 17 years – for Langford to reach this position. He had initially planned to look for work as a truck driver. Then a flier from Westside Works showed up in his mailbox.
As he recalls, “My mother said, ‘You have a family. You don’t need to be riding in and out of town like that’ She and my wife kind of tag-teamed and said, ‘Look, this might be a blessing. Just try it.’”
So Bobby applied and was accepted into Westside Works’ Construction Group 12. He graduated in November 2015 and was immediately hired by Inglett & Stubbs.
“Sometimes, having kind of a low esteem, I would think, ‘I’ll just go drive trucks,’ or, ‘I’ll just go drop cement,’” Bobby recalls. “But I got in there [at Westside Works] and did pretty good. When I was younger, I would build go-carts, tree houses and things like that. I never thought I would get to live those kid moments again. Now I’m trained to build things.”
From building light fixtures, conduit boxes and breaker boxes to learning circuit codes and safety standards, Bobby is getting an on-the-job education every day at the Inglett & Stubbs warehouse. General Foreman Robert Hilderbrand is encouraged by his progress.
“The good thing about Bobby is he’s mature, he’s here every day, he’s on time every day, and he’s concerned about what he does,” Hilderbrand says. “He wants to make a good product. We talk about being a sponge and learning something every day, and that’s what he’s doing.”
Inglett & Stubbs has hired a number of Westside Works graduates since its 2014 launch. Hilderbrand says they’ve acquitted themselves well in the field.
“I’ve sent several guys out to the Falcons [Mercedes-Benz] Stadium,” he says. “The general foreman there has complimented us on those guys. When they get there, they’re trained and they know what to do, they move with a purpose. So the foreman doesn’t have to start teaching them, because they’ve already been taught to get to work on time every day, what tools to have and how to do things.”
Hilderbrand says Bobby is on track to be out on one of those job sites soon. Meanwhile he’ll continue his training in the warehouse – and enjoying every minute of it.
“I know I still have a ways to go,” Bobby says. “Working at this fabrication shop teaches you so much. Even by your mistakes, you learn something. If I had known about Westside Works sooner, I probably would have quit UPS and started this. But I’m on my way now. I’m just so happy. This job is like a dream come true.”