SMW 24 Business Agent discussed previous MMA career on AWF Podcast

Josh Williams, Business Agent for Sheet Metal Workers Local 24, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and discussed his previous career as a mixed martial arts fighter and how that career helped him transition to a career in the building trades. 

After being a student-athlete at The Ohio State University, Williams began MMA fighting and was involved in the sport for nearly five years.

“The trades weren’t necessarily my first choice, it was just something I fell into,” Williams said. 

Due to the lack of money the sport provided and the multiple injuries he suffered over the years, his family urged him to find a new career. 

Williams started coaching MMA but soon learned about the Sheet Metal Workers Union through one of the fighters he coached. 

After learning more about the industry, Williams began his apprenticeship and has been a proud Local 24 member for the past 15 years. 

Williams explained to AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc that people would be surprised at how similar a career in mixed martial arts and a career in the sheet metal industry is. 

Transitioning to a career in construction with a background in MMA has been helpful in dealing with different people on jobsites, Williams said.

“Both careers are male-dominated fields where a lot of men can have big egos,” Williams said. “A lot of guys want to challenge you and oddly enough they don’t want to challenge you over your knowledge, they want to challenge your toughness.”

His background in MMA helped him not get “challenged” on the jobsite as much. 

“Some guys get worked up and this has helped me get used to dealing with it and now I’m used to the attitudes and I got used to the attitudes and you get better at dealing with those kinds of people on a day-to-day basis,” he said. 

Williams then changed the subject and talked about Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 and the work opportunities that will keep his Local Union busy for the foreseeable future.

Local 24 is trying to find more qualified workers for all the construction projects in their jurisdiction like Intel, Google, Honda, and more. 

According to Williams, Local 24 went from 800 members a year and a half ago and now membership is in the upper 900s. 

“These tech giants are not in the habit of allowing their stuff to expire or get old,” he said. “Once they build one of these factories they won’t let it go, they will keep retooling and rebuilding it to keep it up to date.”

Williams then explained the outreach work Local 24 does and how they try to recruit more members. 

Central Ohio has a diverse population and they are working to get their workforce to reflect more of the central and southern Ohio population.

Listen to the full interview here: 

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