Alyssa Trumbull, Jotul North America
Alyssa Trumbull is a lab technician at Jotul North America.
Alyssa Turnbull’s advice to those starting out in the job market is, the only path you have to follow is your own, don’t be pressured by the world around you. Everyone has this great idea that you should go to high school, go to college, get a good job, buy a house, she says. Your goals are very important, but the order in which you accomplish them shouldn’t be.
Turnbull, a lab technician at Gorham wood and gas stove manufacturer Jotul North America, is a living example of that advice. She specialized in welding at Portland Arts and Technology High School, and interviewed at the company at a teacher’s urging.
She was so nervous, “I thought when I’d left that I’d blown it. I called my dad to tell him that I didn’t think I’d get the job.” While she was on the phone with him, the human resources director called and asked her if she could start the next week.
She started as a temporary part-time, night-shift welder while she finished high school and took a full-time position after she graduated 10 years ago.
“Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. A good job can help you pay for the future you have planned for yourself.”
— Alyssa Trumbull
Lab Technician, Jotul North America
She thought she’d stay a welder, but that didn’t last long. “Once I learned one thing, I wanted more. I didn’t want to stop.” Turnbull moved from welding to press brake and laser operation, worked on the production line whenever she was needed, in her seventh year with the company was promoted to a documentation position in research and development, and from there became a lab tech.
She’s on her way to getting a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. She earned an associate degree in applied science from Southern Maine Community College, and will finish her bachelor of science at the University of Southern Maine. Turnbull is also on the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Dirigo Chapter board.
“I plan to continue going to college and working to grow my career here at Jotul,” she says. She also speaks with high school students about working in manufacturing, including at the PATHs 2017 graduation ceremony.
One thing she tells them: “Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. A good job can help you pay for the future you have planned for yourself. Don’t be discouraged by the speed in which you accomplish your goals.”
At 28, she’s still a little surprised at how things turned out. “I’d never thought of becoming an engineer until I started learning how to problem-solve on the job. I also never thought that this job could support all of my dreams…I bought my first house before I was 25, I paid for my two-year degree out of pocket and graduated with no debt. I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had.
“All because I took a chance on a manufacturing job.” ■