For Michael J. Looney, owner and founder of Michael J. Looney Inc. in Florida, USA, finding qualified electricians for his business has always been a challenging task. Then he discovered the possibility of enhancing his workforce with qualified electricians from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria while educating his local tradespeople at the same time. In this Interview, he shares his experience of partnering with the German Start-Up.
How would you summarize your business relationship with Journeyman in just a few words?
Michael: Great attitude, professionalism and efficiency.
How did your partnership with Journeyman become reality?
Michael: We really have a serious lack of skilled personnel in the United States, especially here in Florida. Nowadays, many people just do not want to get into the trades. That`s why we have a shortage of tradesmen. I personally know a few people from Germany and have seen firsthand that their skill level and work ethic is very good. Just like how the Germans are known for building one hell of a car. Usually I only do business with people I meet face-to-face, because I like being able to look into their eyes and read their facial features and expressions before getting into business with them. But after talking with you guys over the phone, I had a very good feeling. So I thought, why not give it a shot!
What were your main concerns before partnering with Journeyman and how were those concerns alleviated?
Michael: My main concern was that I would be dealing with a company and talent from outside of the country. I also didn’t know anybody who had done anything like this before. I had some bad experiences with local organizations that had made big promises about highly skilled people who were not anywhere close to being trained or skilled. I also had concerns about the effort involved with the visa they come over on. But again, Journeyman really made me feel comfortable and everything went smoothly. Even the fact that the Journeymen speak a different native language has never been a problem. I always felt comfortable that I will be sent someone who’s English skills are sufficient.
From your point of view as a business owner: What are the main advantages of having someone on your team that has gone through the structured German apprenticeship system?
Michael: I think the cultural exchange between the Journeymen and our team is really nice. And I like the fact that our employees get to see what type of training exists outside of the US.
Do our Journeymen have everything they need to have a strong start abroad?
Michael: Yes, they came in pretty much ready to hit the ground running. I mean there were of course some differences with respect to the electrical code and wiring methods between over there and the US, but all-in-all the codes are similar enough between Europe and the US that they were easily able to adapt. I would say they were picking it up within days. They adapted fantastically and we’re very proud of everyone we’ve had here. One of our first Journeyman, Freddie, recently finished his internship and returned to Germany. He was great and I really liked him. I hated to see him go.
It’s nice to see the Journeymen socialize with our local team outside of their traineeship. I am happy they don’t feel alienated or left out. So far, they’ve gotten along really well with our crews. It was neat to see how well they fit in with our teams almost immediately. The trainees you sent all come with a positive attitude.
Do you plan to bring on anymore Journeymen in the future?
Michael: We’re very happy with you Journeymen. I know I can trust you to work with us and we will work together to overcome any obstacles. And that’s one of the main things I like about your company, the trust.
If potential clients of ours were to read this interview and are still uncertain, what would you tell them?
Michael: I would tell them not to be. They have no reason to have any concerns. I would stand behind Journeymen 110%. And anyone considering your services are more than welcome to call me. We’ve been in business for over 30 years. I started this company from the ground up, so I’ve seen it all. I’ve dealt with a lot of unique circumstances over the years and I would tell them that the only thing they’ll regret is you don’t have more people to send. It’s been a true pleasure and we look forward to continuing this relationship for many years.
What is Journeyman all about?
Journeyman is a German based start-up with a mission to build a global online-platform for the trades. Starting out, we’re helping construction companies from around the world find highly skilled and qualified tradespeople from Germany, Austria and Switzerland through our global trade-exchange program. Furthermore, we love sharing our insights with the industry and helping construction companies develop better and more sustainable Human Resource strategies.