Workers Around the Region


February 23, 2005|By Stacey Hirsh

Tom Wittig


Age: 36

Job: Lead carpenter, Elegant Builders Inc. in Bel Air

Years in business: 18

Salary: Earns $50,000 a year, working about 45 hours a week.

Industry average: $18.04 an hour in 2003, the most recent year statistics are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How he started: Began pouring concrete for sidewalks and commercial buildings when he graduated from high school. Shifted to carpentry about a year later.

Changes over the years: Rising home prices have pushed more customers to remodel instead of building homes.

Typical day: Could be outside framing a house one day and installing crown molding inside the next. "My average day could be anything," Wittig said.

The good: No office politics. Working outside. Wearing blue-jeans, a sweat shirt and sneakers to work.

The bad: Some days his cell phone never stops ringing. Paperwork can be a drag, too.

Around his house: Working on several renovation projects, including painting and refinishing kitchen cabinets.

Reality home improvement shows: A fan of Monster House, a show on which a crew turns an average home into a theme house with gimmicks such as race car tables and soccer field back yards. Every week he watches Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, on which carpenter/host Ty Pennington and his team overhaul a home. "I tell my kids all the time, I could be that guy Ty."

His philosophy on the job: "Carpentry work itself is very easy. It's very rewarding, and you can make a decent living out of it."

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