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'What Does Your Daddy Do?'

What age do you introduce children to the trades and construction? CE interviews a children's book author and electrician to find out.
By Joshua Page
January 23, 2023
Topics
Workforce

What age do you introduce children to the trades and construction? The answer to that question is debated in the industry, but most people agree that it should be “as early as possible.” Joshua Page, owner of Patriot Electrical Contracting and Service, has created a children’s book that serves as a recruiting tool, literally illustrating the trades for young readers.
After he graduated trade school in 2002 specializing in electrical, Page joined a large electrical contractor and worked to obtain his Journeyman Electrician and Master Electrician licenses. Then, in 2007, Page stated his own business, Infrared Hi-Tech Solutions. An entrepreneur at heart, Page also started his own electrical business in 2011, became incorporated in 2013, purchased a second electrician business, Ruel Electric, in 2015, and purchased a third business, Patriot Electrical, in 2017.
A husband and father, Page is now adding “author” to his list of titles with “What Does Your Daddy Do?” His book is gaining traction and Page even interviewed on “Coffee Break,” the podcast hosted by Associated Builders and Contractors Massachusetts in tandem with Gould Construction Institute.
Construction Executive has conducted an exclusive interview with Page to discuss inspiration, impact and motivation.

What inspired the book?

Speaking at career days for a few years but feeling like I wasn't making a big enough impact. So, I decided I wanted to write a children's book because I thought, "high school is too late and daycare is too early." I imagined an age range of third to sixth grade because that's a good age where you start to learn about jobs and think of what you want to be when you grow up. I wanted to plant the seed that the trades is an option and to highlight all the “cool things” in the trades.

Why a children’s book format and not something like a business leadership text?

I believe to change the future and to inspire the next tradespeople, it needs to start with educating kids and teaching the parents that college is not the only option. You can be successful even if you didn’t attend college, and the trades need you. I think the trades get such a bad rap in the movies and in society that I wanted to showcase all the “cool” things that we get to do! A child doesn’t care about health insurance and how many vacation days, they care about how cool it is or the tools they get to use.

Why have you written this book now?

I actually wrote the book in 2020 when we shut down the business for two weeks during COVID-19. I couldn’t sit and do nothing, so I wrote it up. Then I thought, "It sucks that nobody is going to read that or care." So, I saved it to Microsoft Word and forgot about it.

Then, in 2021, I opened it back up because something inside me said this book isn’t about me and it is not for me. This book is for the child that is lost, confused and/or doesn’t know what they want to do. The child that is searching. That is who the book is written for.

What do you hope to accomplish with the book?

To educate the kids and teach the parents about other career opportunities and that college is not the only option. The trades need you!

What was the production process like?

I did all the writing, sent it to an editor and then shopped it around to publishers. One publisher gave me an opportunity. I had full control over the illustrations but, honestly, had no clue about how many decisions I had to make. From hair color to what the kids wear to what the teacher looks like...it was crazy, but such a great experience.

What is your favorite quote from the book?

"Dad reached to squeeze Ashton’s arm. 'I love what I do because I get to work with my hands and my brain. I have to think through problems and then fix them with my hands.'"

Why is it important for children to hear about the trades, especially from an early age?

I don’t think that, growing up, kids know about the trades unless a family member is in them. You know what a doctor, fireman and police officer are because they are in the community. You know what college is because everyone talks about it after high school. Nobody ever talks about this elusive area of successful careers called “the trades.”

How many children do you have? Are they interested in the trades?

I have an eight-year-old son Brody; I have a 13-year-old son Ashton; and my wife and I took guardianship of our 18-year-old niece Hanna in 2020.

Hanna is graduating from high school this year and will be going to college for business and to become an esthetician. Ashton will be starting high school next year and is still undecided if he wants to go to a trade school or typical high school. He also wants to play college soccer. Brody is just living his best life at eight years old.

What got you into the trades?

I didn’t like school, knew I wasn’t going to college and I heard about a school that you only had to go to for two weeks per month with the other two weeks spent in a trade. Sign me up!

What is next for you?

Motivational and keynote speaking. Touring the country inspiring others with my personal story and experiences. A few more children’s books about the trades. A book about purpose and passion. A new business to help small contractors make more money, be profitable and know their numbers using my patented “Contractor Money Blueprint” system.

by Joshua Page

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